A report launched today explores how Islamic Relief has been saving and changing lives in Tunisia for over a decade.
Many communities in Tunisia face deep poverty and difficulties fuelled by the effects of climate change, weak education and healthcare systems and a lack of clean water. Islamic Relief has been working in Tunisia since 2011 to provide lifesaving aid as well as delivering longer-term development programmes.
So far we have supported nearly 1.5 million people, including refugees from neighbouring countries, which our new report, ‘Islamic Relief in Tunisia’ shows.
Our priorities in Tunisia are improving water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools, and delivering much-needed women’s empowerment projects and orphan sponsorship. We also provide emergency relief, improve food security and livelihoods and run seasonal food distributions.
Since 2011, we have delivered 44 projects.
Unlocking women’s potential
Many women in Tunisia struggle with daily life – particularly in rural areas where communities are typically male-dominated, many women are also unaware of their rights and lack access to healthcare and education.
Islamic Relief is providing vocational training and business management training, and raising awareness of women’s health and social rights, to help combat this.
“Women’s economic empowerment enables them to provide for their families and improve their incomes, which will have a very positive impact on children’s health and education. It is one of our most important goals. Islamic Relief’s project is a whole series of valuable activities”, says Monia Bouzzi, who is training women in entrepreneurship as part of our project in Jendouba.
The project has helped women like Suniya to provide for her children and inspire her daughters.
“This project is giving women a sense that they are equal to men and they can earn as much by working hard. Women are also now able to provide money for their children’s education so that they can succeed too”, she says.
Supporting communities to become self-reliant
Islamic Relief helps families to build reliable livelihoods, despite the challenges of the changing climate. We are working with rural communities in Kebilli to help protect farmers’ livelihoods amid these challenges, and to support them to create new, sustainable livelihoods.
“The farmers here are very frustrated. We need to treat the diseases that attack our farms and trees. Sometimes we treat them incorrectly, which causes plants to die”, says Saleh from Kebili who was given pesticides, plastic covers to protect his plants and financial assistance as part of Islamic Relief’s project.
“The farmers have been very happy with this support. Their situation has greatly improved. For example, when you provide financial assistance to a farmer, he can save some money and use it to buy goats, from which he can make a living.
“I am now a person who gains his profits by his own efforts. I sleep comfortably, and I do not have any debts, thank God,” he says.
Supporting vulnerable children
A report by the Ministry of Education in 2016 showed that more than 1,000 Tunisian schools in rural areas do not have access to clean water or hygiene facilities.
In response to this worrying issue, Islamic Relief is working with schools to help them run sessions to promote good hygiene practices, as well as equipping them with the hygiene facilities they desperately need, which will benefit 75,000 students in rural schools.
Hajar, a sixth-grade student, took part in an Islamic Relief health club at the school which taught students the importance of personal hygiene and hand-washing, with a particular focus on measures to help combat the spread of Covid-19.
As well as improving washing facilities and improving attitudes towards hygiene in schools, we help build the capacity of schools to deliver good-quality education. In Medenine, we helped improve fourteen schools and libraries.
“The Ministry of Education extends its deepest thanks and appreciation to Islamic Relief Worldwide – Tunisia office. This is for its continuous support and fruitful cooperation in the field of rehabilitating school infrastructure and health education in the school environment,” says Fethi Sallaouti, Tunisia’s Minister of Education.
We have also sponsored 590 orphaned children in Tunisia, giving their families a regular stipend toward their basic needs and schooling.
Islamic Relief’s work in Tunisia also includes working with the Ministry of Health to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in the country, providing lifesaving support to Libyan refugees, providing food packages to vulnerable families during Ramadan and Eid and helping families to cope during harsh winters.