Tunisia: Engaging Tunisian Youth to Achieve the MDGs


The turmoil that shook Tunisia during the Arab Spring was directly related to the lack of jobs for young Tunisians, especially in marginalized areas of the North West, West and South. A third of young people are jobless, an urgent challenge for the new government as it works toward the Millennium Development Goal target of full and productive employment for all. This Joint Programme supported efforts to develop capacities in migration-prone areas by creating decent jobs and promoting local competencies.

The programme operated in the pilot regions of El-Kef, Gafsa and Tunis and aimed at two target groups -- unemployed university graduates and unemployed unskilled youth. Its goals were:

  1. To enhance national and regional capacities to develop, implement, coordinate and monitor regional employment and migration policies and programs; and
  2. To promote innovative entrepreneurship and job creation schemes, including a circular migration mechanism for the targeted youth of the pilot regions.

Main achievements included:

  • Regional action plans for youth employment were developed in the three targeted governorates. These action plans were the results of a series of public-private dialogues.
  • The programme worked to improve mechanisms for migration, including interventions that address: the reintegration of migrant workers returning to Tunisia; public-private partnerships; temporary labor migration to Belgium; and temporary labor migration to Canada.
  • Training and support were provided to help both university graduates and unskilled youth start their own small businesses in the regions of Kef and Gafsa. Three groups were targeted: ex-prisoners (126) young women (20) and unemployed youth (63).
  • Launched in July 2012, Souk Has Tanmia was an economic development initiative that encouraged innovative projects through an entrepreneurial competition. Preference was given to projects proposed by youth, women and people from disadvantaged groups. Winners received a direct subsidy of 10,000 - 30,000 DNT and technical assistance through all stages of their projects. Of 2,000 applications submitted from across the country, 300 projects were shortlisted, and 71 winners selected.
  • Twenty studies were conducted, including on the weaving and snail-raising sectors. These provided information, analysis and diagnosis of the targeted governorates, especially Gafsa.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programme in Tunisia.



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 07 May 2009 - 22 May 2013
Net funded amount $3,115,000
Participating UN agencies FAO, ILO, IOM, UNDP, UNIDO
National partners Ministry of Employment and Professional Insertion of Youth, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry and technology, Ministry of Secondary education, Government of Kef, Gafsa, and Grand Tunis
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