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Strengthening the role of Tunisian youth in water resources management

Monday, 04 July 2016 Posted in News, BeWater News, Rmel Society, Tunisia

BeWater is continuing its involvement with the Tunisian youth in the Rmel river basin and the Zaghouan region, to strengthen their role in water resources management and climate change adaptation. To achieve maximum added value, BeWater linked up with the Global Water Partnership’s “Youth for Water and Climate”, another initiative wishing to raise the youth’s voice on the international level, organising interventions at UNFCC COP21 and 22, MEDCOP 21 and 22 etc.

Following the recommendations from the national consultation workshop held in July 2015, the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) that runs the BeWater youth initiative developed an action plan for a stronger youth engagement in water resources management. The action plan contains two main activity pillars: i) training activities addressed to youth NGOs to enhance their capacities; and ii) awareness raising activities aimed at civil society, on the youth’s potential to contribute to a more sustainable water resources management.

The action plan’s implementation started with a national capacity building workshop targeting youth NGO stakeholders active in water resources management in November 2015, with the objective to raise their capacity to address the challenge of sustainable water resources management under climate change constraints; in specific, to mobilize them in the planning and implementation of an awareness raising campaign. This effort led to the ÔVI campaign (eau=vie/water=life) during February and March 2016, a national campaign in Tunisian primary schools for awareness raising on water scarcity and the importance of water saving. Apart from guidance provided by GWP-Med and coordination by the NGO “International Lions Club”, the events were organised by the respective NGOs.

Upon finalisation of the ÔVI campaign, which reached more than 800 school children at the national level, GWP-Med organised a workshop on “Water, Youth and Employment” on 19 March 2016, in Hammamet to celebrate the World Water Day. The workshop gathered about 80 participants, from civil society and public administration from the water, employment and youth fields, as well as media. The workshop discussed the role of youth and civil society in improving the sustainable water resources management, the difficulties faced by youth in the job market and the opportunities of promoting youth employment in the water sector.

Finally, an Open Day on "Society, Youth, Water & Climate Change Adaptation" was organised on 22 May 2016 in the historical monument “Le Temple des Eaux” in Zaghouan. GWP-Med and the youth NGO “We Love Zaghouan” organised the event, which brought together representatives of local administration and NGOs, as well as broad public, among which many children. During the event, BeWater was promoted to a wider audience to raise awareness on water and climate change issues. This was done by explaining the added value of BeWater’s contribution at the Rmel watershed in Zaghouan, and inviting the public to react on the water management adaptation options proposed by ranking them on priority order.

Putting more emphasis on the potential of interactive games for awareness raising among school children and youth, BeWater is currently collaborating with the Tunisian Education and Resource Network for the implementation of an interactive game on Integrated Water Resources Management developed by the UNEP-DHI Centre for Water and Environment under the Eco Challenge 2016, as well as training for mentors, to enable then the organization of game sessions on water and climate change for children at different schools in Tunisia.

Photo credits: GWP-Med