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Tunisia: Marwen focuses on school drop-out’s

In a world where success is measured in hard facts and results weighed in KPI’s, a handful of youth in the MENA-region proves these generalizations wrong.

A story to prove our point, is a former attendee at the Cross Cultures Youth Leadership Education from Ethadammen, Tunisia. Marwen, the Cross Cultures Community Organizer has, at the time of writing, finished a work session on the topic of school drop-outs (NEETS) and the mechanism necessary to integrate them into the job-market. The session was facilitated at the headquarters of the local authorities of the Ethadammen Municipality with the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employability as well as representatives of the local civil society and Fédération Tunisienne des Sports Pour Tous (FTSPT). Marwen represented his association (Assotioan Ethadammen du Sport et Loisirs), which is a direct spin-off of the Cross Cultures programme and activities. FTSPT and Marwen proposed a project-formation in collaboration with Cross Cultures, called “Youth House Incubators”. The project remains a continuation of Cross Cultures Youth Leadership Education, however based in local youth houses across the country.

Etthadamen is a rural, poor and precarious area outside of Tunis known as “Africa’s China Town”. It is furthermore the most densely populated city in Africa, with approximately 33.000 children and an area which fostered a great part of the ISIS-foreign fighters (more than 7.000). Marwen, the Community Organizer and volunteer coach in question, established a large network and association in said city as part of his education within Cross Cultures. His story is as much about the person, as it is about the impact of Cross Cultures unintended spin-off results and ongoing activities in Ethadamen.

Marwen moved from unemployed, graduated school teacher (NEET) to Community Organizer through Cross Cultures’ Youth Leader education, then hired as teacher in an elite sport university, specialised in sport-promotion in difficult areas. He then became the president of a local association – before forming his own – managing 25 coaches, and several more volunteers, in many sport activities, dealing with sport federations and international NGO’s. His way of working is a direct result of a professional exchange in Copenhagen with Cross Cultures.

Today, Marwen is supported by Cross Cultures, FTSPT and USAID, with whom he recently finalized a renewed agreement of 100.000 USD. In his association he has around 1.700 children aged 6-18 showing up every day, around 12.000 pr. Week. Still, Marwen is not satisfied, and he has, with the support of Cross Cultures, created programmes targeting radicalized youth (Sport contre le terrorisme), handicapped children, girls and gender equality. For the time being he only has around 30% girls, which is partly due to conservative ways of living, prohibiting women and girls from doing sports among other things. With the help of CCPA he strives to make it from 30% to at least 45% within the coming year.  

Between 2018 and 2020, the Cross Cultures Youth Leadership education has been approaching the Sport Event Management topics from different angles. Thus, as Community Organizers 158 youth have been trained in theory and practice how to use sport and voluntarism as driver for:

  • Level 1 (60 hours/ 15 credits), Youth mobilization and inclusion;
  • Level 2 (120 hours/ 20 credits), Community Engagement and Multiplier Events;
  • Level 3 (120 hours/ 25 credits), Social Entrepreneurship/ Own Project’

Which have led to a 2.084 pax (Tunisia 455, Morocco 1.115, Jordan 514) have been trained on action-learning seminars and workshops of 30 – 300 hours duration in the Cross Cultures Youth Leadership education, and facilitated tangible social sport for change activities on a voluntary basis (action-learning).

  • 158 Community organisers have been educated action learning (Level 1-3 / 300 hours): Tunisia 48 pax, Jordan 40 pax, Morocco 70 pax.
  • To practice their leadership the Community Organizers have mobilized and trained
    • 426 Volunteer coaches, Basic Level 1, (60 hours action-learning): Tunisia 187 pax, Jordan 193 pax, Morocco 0 pax.
    • 1.546 Coach Assistants educated (30 hours action-learning) Tunisia 220 pax, Jordan 281 pax, Morocco 1.045 pax.

From 2018-2021 the volunteer community organisers, coaches and coach assistants have organized:

  • 120 Open Fun Football Schools (5 days duration), across local, ethnic, social and gender divides for 14.826 children aged 6-14. (Morocco 450 pax, Tunisia 7070 pax, Jordan 7306 pax)
  • 114 Multiplier events/ Festivals and Caravans organized for 166.712 pax (Morocco 80.607 pax, Tunisia 78.799 pax, Jordan 7.306 pax).
  • Day-to-day activities for 140.391 children aged 6-14 (Tunisia 62.218 pax, Jordan 78.173 pax, Morocco 0). The day-to-day training has mainly been accommodated by the MOYS Youth houses

Gender balance 42% girls/females at all activities on all levels in the operation (management, community organizers, volunteer coaches, coach assistants and children).