Since its inception, the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future project, part of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programmes flagship UN Youth Volunteering Programme, has worked to empower youth in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen to participate meaningfully in socio-economic development through volunteerism.
Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future places particular emphasis on improving opportunities for the participation of young people in peace and development processes and dialogues. To this end, it held a highly successful Youth Volunteer Leadership Camp in Jordan in 2013. The camp trained youth leaders and provided them with the skills and knowledge to design and carry out successful projects as volunteers. From 08-11 September 2014, the camp, supported by the Tunisian Ministry of Youth and Sports, was replicated in Tunisia. Not only was this an opportunity for young volunteers in Tunisia to gain new knowledge and expertise, but it also helped build strong, sustainable networks of youth volunteers to participate actively in Tunisias socio-economic development.
The Tunisia Youth Volunteer Leadership Camp attracted a diverse group of 30 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 26 years from across the country. Participants diverse backgrounds and levels of experience enriched the groups learning experience, as experienced volunteers who have led volunteer initiatives were able to share their knowledge with motivated young people new to volunteerism. The camp was designed to provide an interactive learning experience where team-building activities and the time shared as a group could build an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. Volunteers shared ideas and experiences throughout the participatory sessions and were encouraged to identify possible synergies for mutual support and future collaboration.
During the camp, participants acquired knowledge ranging from an understanding of legal structures pertaining to volunteerism in Tunisia to the economic considerations necessary to build sustainable volunteering initiatives. In addition, participants developed the analytical skills to understand and map community needs enabling them to design initiatives that are sensitive to the host communitys needs.
Participants also learned how to analyze and address social marginalization in order to better understand how resources and opportunities are distributed in society, and, in light of the unevenness of this, participants learned about how to build inclusive interventions by drawing on communities cultural heritage and other resources. They were also encouraged to consider non-traditional learning techniques to stimulate creative thinking and develop innovative solutions for social problems. In addition, participants enhanced their communication and decision-making skills.
Most importantly, the Youth Volunteer Leadership camp encouraged participants to link their learning during the camp to their experiences as volunteers on the ground. Moreover, the energetic environment of the Youth Volunteer Leadership Camp has developed an enabling network amongst young volunteers and promises to generate innovative volunteering initiatives across Tunisia.
On 11 September, the camp concluded with a graduation ceremony. After an intense and inspiring week of mutual learning, 30 young volunteers departed to their communities across the country.