Civil Society and Local Government Work to Address Citizen Concerns in Central Tunisia

“Due to their expertise in good governance, the International Republican Institute [IRI] helped bridge the communication gap between civil society and our municipal council,” said Jalal Nafti, Deputy Mayor of Sbeitla.

To strengthen communication between local government officials and citizens, Nafti, along with representatives of the Sbeitla municipal council and the civil society group Thakafa wa Tanmia (Culture and Development) hosted Governance Day, which invited local citizens to participate in government planning and decision making.  The day provided citizens the opportunity to express their concerns over challenges to security, infrastructure and the environment that hinder economic growth and provided council members the chance to discuss proposals they have to fund and promote economic development.

The idea for Governance Day was born out of the Let’s Develop Sbeitla! advocacy campaign, launched by Thakafa wa Tanmia, with IRI support.  The campaign, focused on encouraging a dialogue between citizens and the local government on economic development issues – which an overwhelming majority of Tunisians believe should be government’s top priority – included videos of local citizens sharing their ideas on how to promote economic development in the community and posters hung throughout the city to build awareness of the campaign.  Its success, led government officials to agree to hold a community meeting. 

Governance Day events concluded with the municipal council assuring citizens that they would hold additional public meetings to continue the dialogue and promote economic development in the town.  In a first-ever move, and in effort to expand transparency and accountability, the council also committed to publishing its annual budget.

The project in Sbeitla is a part of the Institute’s democratic governance work, which is focused on make governments more: accessible, accountable, effective, efficient, equitable, inclusive, responsive and transparent.

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