Volunteers Hayfa Sdiri and Mohamed Guediri utilized creativity and innovation to drive human development in communities in their country, Tunisia. Their contributions showcase how volunteering creates an enabling environment for learning and translating ideas into action.
Hayfa and Mohamed were both among the finalists of the UNV50 Tunisia Volunteer Award for their "innovation to inspire new forms of volunteering". Applications received for this category exhibited the different forms of creativity that volunteers used as pathways to drive inclusion and growth.
But these two names stood out. Not only due to the creativity and innovative problem-solving their work demonstrated, but also their remarkable ability to engage other volunteers.
Hayfa, a former UN Volunteer, began her civic work at the age of 16, advocating for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality and youth civic engagement.
Hayfa received the Volunteer Award 2021 for her promotion of innovation throughout her volunteer experience and training of youth on leadership, public speaking, gender advocacy, design thinking and business planning. She was also recognized for mentoring emergent entrepreneurs on start-up building.
As a volunteer and president of the SDG Camps Tunisia, Hayfa trained 500 youth on innovation and the SDGs and took part in the incubation of 45 entrepreneurial projects. Having served as a UN Volunteer Youth and Innovation Analyst with UNDP Tunisia, Hayfa contributed to building an inclusive incubation programme for young entrepreneurs and community leaders. She created a network of 10,000 Tunisian youth in the 24 governorates of Tunisia.
Mohamed is the founder of a civil society organization in Tunisia called Cité'Ness for Cultural and Artistic Development. He was a finalist in the same category of the award as Hayfa. His volunteering experience stood out for engaging in youth economic inclusion and facilitating the participation of refugee children.
"I really wanted to reach underprivileged people," affirms Mohamed, as he explains the motivation behind his activism for the rights of children at risk and children in conflict with the law.
In the framework of Cité'Ness’s project Cinema in their Eyes, he resorted to cinema to promote culture among marginalized and vulnerable groups in remote areas. The project aimed to give a voice to children and adolescents, namely those residing at the Defense and Social Integration Centres managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and offer them a source of artistic inspiration, as well as a means of reconciliation with society.
Mohamed’s work with children and adolescents entailed creating film scenarios that they would produce themselves. So far, he has facilitated the production of eight films in seven governorates, with more than 50 participants.
"Since the production of the first round of films three years ago, one of the beneficiaries became a YouTuber, another is producing podcasts and a third is organizing theatre shows," explains Mohamed.
It is fulfilling to see how you can transform children’s lives, teach them a skill and watch them use it to transform their path and future. -- Mohamed Guediri, volunteer and founder of Cité'Ness, Tunisia
World Creativity and Innovation Day is an opportunity to shed light on the unconventional ways through which volunteers are transforming the lives of others and are contributing to a better future for all.