Embassy Local Partner Mobilizes Youth to Counter COVID-19
In an effort to support the Tunisian government’s efforts to fight COVID-19 pandemic, through its Tunisian Accountability and Political Participation (TAPP) project Action Positive organization mobilized volunteers to perform a host of community service projects. Participants conducted large-scale operations to sterilize public spaces in the delegates of Midaa, Sfax, and Kelibia. They also collaborated with different municipalities and delegates to maintain safe social distancing and prevent large gatherings in front of public administrations.

Additionally, on April 6 TAPP volunteers supported the efforts of the Ministry of Social Affairs during the distribution of social assistance by digitalizing and organizing the data of citizens receiving assistance. TAPP volunteers conducted street marketing campaigns to raise awareness about COVID-19 measures.

A MEPI Grantee Launches COVID-19 Awareness Campaign
Within the framework of its MEPI funded NEBNI.TN project, Jasmine Foundation organized a series of one-to-one awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Djerba and Ben Guerdane. Jasmine Foundation reached more than 2000 citizens by distributing brochures and posters with the World Health Organization’s prevention advice. It also posts a blog to monitor and highlight what different municipalities are doing to protect local citizens’ health and safety. Lastly, Jasmine Foundation developed an independent online awareness campaign Ched_Darek (Stay Home) that simplifies important information for the public and tackles topics such as mental health during confinement.

Embassy Local Partner Reaches 22,000 People with Virtual Festival
“Fanni Raghman Anni” organization launched a virtual festival through its social media pages to encourage citizens to respect the COVID-19 confinement measures. The festival provided a rich and varied program of daily art and social activities, created a space for learning, communication, social resilience and mutual understanding for all components of society. The festival was a creative solidarity initiative that aims to strengthen the social fabric and to support artists affected by the crisis. More than 22,000 people follow the virtual festival.

U.S. Embassy repatriated 135 Americans to the United States: Thanks to the help of many volunteers, the U.S. Embassy was able to repatriate 135 Americans to the United States despite an absence of all commercial flights in Tunisia, and also bring home 23 Tunisians who were on US Government-sponsored exchange programs across the United States. We are proud to have made it possible for Americans and Tunisians to be safe at home.

Embassy staff were magnificent! They were pleasant, courteous, responsive and helpful in every way possible. Their impeccable professionalism turned what could have been an ordeal into a truly smooth and painless process.
-Bill Granara, U.S. Citizen

Assistance Unit Project Provides 24/7 Violence Against Women Hotline During COVID-19 Confinement: The Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA) announced on March 23 that the 24-hour/7-day toll-free hotline will be functional during the COVID-19 confinement period to receive and manage complaints from women victims of violence. These services are secured by a multidisciplinary team from the Ministry with the support of the partnering organizations thanks to the Political Section’s Assistance Unit-funded project Safety and Women’s Advancement (SAWA).

This announcement came as a response to the concerns that the implementing partner, the American Bar Association Rule of Law (ABA ROLI), raised concerning the increase of domestic abuse due to recent measures of confinement. On March 29, Minister of Women Affairs Asma Sehiri Laabidi announced during a radio interview that the number of calls received from 23 to 27 March multiplied 3 times, and the number of calls related to physical and verbal violence increased five times compared to the same period last year.

The SAWA project ensures a capacity development for service providers’ staff at violence against women listening centers and shelters, enables the extension of the 1899 hotline’s operational hours from 5PM to 7AM. The project also works on finalizing a cloud-based software platform with gender-based violence data that will provide the hotline operators with the needed information to assist the callers.

American Center Virtual Event: Super Alumni Stepping Up During the Covid19 Crisis
Tunisian alumni of US Government sponsored exchange programs who are taking extraordinary efforts to help their communities in this pandemic.  Sina Haj Amor discussed awareness and recommend good sources of information on preventing the spread of the virus, and Adnan Belhaj Yahia discussed his 3D-printed protective masks initiative. (facebook)

U.S. Embassy Partner Launches a COVID-19 Violations Platform:
Building on its MEPI-funded platform that serves as a tool for whistleblowers to report on corruption cases, I-WATCH is currently using the platform to allow citizens to anonymously report violations of public health measures, such as large gatherings, operating restaurants and coffee shops, and quarantine violations.  I-WATCH publishes the reports online, and informs responsible authorities for actions. More than 280 reports were published and communicated to the authorities in the first five days of the site.