Building on its Fix Kairouan initiative, in 2016 Kairouan Community in cooperation with the Development Policy Foundation launched new project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy,  with the aim of encouraging disadvantaged social groups to collaborate with civil society organizations and participate in local decision-making processes to advocate for improved access to public spaces. Project engages these groups in dialogue in order to tackle social prejudices and taboos, which often reinforce their economic deprivation and political exclusion.

In the frame of the project an eight-member working groups consisting of the representative of disadvantaged groups, civil society organizations, and technical experts such as engineers and architects have been established. Regular meetings of the working groups’ members led to the development of a needs assessment map based on the results of the survey (conducted both online and offline) asking the citizens of Kairouan to identify the public space or service in need of improvement.

Three-day long leadership and advocacy capacity-building workshop, including presentations, lectures, discussions, and group work has been delivered to the working groups’ members. Led by MENA and European experts on empowerment of disadvantaged groups, the workshop addressed key topics concerning the issue of disadvantaged groups’ social and cultural exclusion such as problem analysis, stakeholder identification, integration of disadvantaged groups in decision-making process, creation and design of an inclusive and accessible public space, and advocacy and communication strategies for citizens and local officials. Based on the elaborated Kairouan needs roadmap three public spaces in need of improvement have been selected.  Upon receiving their training working groups’ members launched an awareness campaign through local media outlets and social media platforms, as well as distributed flyers to selected spaces in need of improvement, where community consultation events have been held serving as a laboratory to refine action plans, soliciting the input and participation of citizens, local officials, architects, engineers, and urban planners. Project was a model action for cross-sectoral cooperation for inclusion of people with disabilities into elaborating of municipality development plans.

Find out more about the project at or visit Kairouan Community’s Facebook.