New beginnings

The Counter Trafficking and Vulnerability Reduction Project (CTVR) launched a new focus of project work for ACT. An initial one and a half-year pilot project that will lay a foundation for support and harm reduction for women, girls, and their communities who are at-risk or in positions of vulnerability.

Following a period of preparation – researching, planning, seeking out potential partners, recruiting a project assistant – the CTVR project officially launched in June last year. The project team, Hannah and Nourane, have been hard at work ever since, and now the momentum is in full swing.

So: what is the CTVR project?

“It’s a project set up to help women, mainly in vulnerability, in the Northwest of Tunisia, in partnership with those share a vision to see a reduction in vulnerability” says Nourane. “Our desire is to be able to help women who are vulnerable to human trafficking because of their vulnerable situation.”

The partner

Femme de Tabarka is an association that has worked with women in the Northwest of Tunisia for 20 or so years. They are committed to equipping, supporting and advocating for all women – especially those who, due to their situation, are at particular risk of being exploited.

“They have compassionate hearts for the women of this country,” says Nourane. “They really want to bring about lasting, sustainable change in the lives of women in Tunisia.”

We are grateful to have found such a passionate and dedicated association to walk alongside in delivering this project.

The project activities

The project aims to deliver professional and soft skills trainings for up to 15 women. Once finished, all participants will be eligible for legal certifications and, with them, bank loans for their businesses. These both enable the women to establish an idea of their own, as well as supporting the entrepreneurial partnerships that we hope will come from within the newly formed network.

“The soft skills training is more for their own personal development,” explains Nourane. “Many of these women live in dysfunctional families, so there will be trainings that will better equip them as to what their role is as women, as part of their family. It’s [a form of] self-advocacy, knowing that [a woman’s role] can be fairly misunderstood in this country at times’ more so in rural areas.”

The participants

The women we hope to come alongside through the CTVR project already have an idea of a business venture they could start legitimately given the opportunity. With the support and trainings that will be available to them through the project, a legitimate, sustainable income will be a reality.

We’re excited to meet them!

The impact

ACT is committed to seeking transformation in all it does – the CTVR project models our principles of development in the tasks it will undertake and the goals it aims to achieve.

“Not only does [the project] focus on the women’s situation in society but also on the women in and of themselves. That can hopefully have a positive impact on them personally, emotionally. If they’re in situations of abuse, it will have a benefit for them physically as well.”

“I think these women will benefit from all these trainings – not only for themselves, but hopefully for the benefit of preventing corruption in the future, for them or for family or friends, for circles of influence around them.”

We hope to see a change where these women will go on to help others: help them be enabled to leave situations of vulnerability, set healthy boundaries, say no to all forms of family dysfunctionality whether that be gender-based violence, or just a bad family situation from which they do not benefit.

Vulnerability reduction is “directly intertwined with human trafficking – so when women are not in a situation of socio-economic vulnerability, they are less likely to be trafficked or in any form of human trafficking,” says Nourane. The CTVR project will encourage broad based local ownership – starting with a group of women with a hopeful and greater vision for their futures. ACT is excited to see where it will go from there.