In Tunisia, women who want to fight gender discrimination are participating in our partner Aswat Nissa’s political academy. Here, Nawrez Ellafi and Sihem Ben Ali share what the political academy has meant for them and their struggle to create a more equal society.
In Tunisia, Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisation Aswat Nissa has been organising a political academy for women since 2014. It offers capacity-building to women active in politics, regardless of where they are situated on the political spectrum. The academy’s sessions take up leadership skills, knowledge of social and economic rights, as well as personal development. The focus lies on young women just starting out in politics.
“Taking part in this political academy has changed my life. Before, I was shy and had very little self-confidence. Now, I believe in myself and I don’t hesitate to speak my mind!” beams Nawrez Ellafi.
Nawrez Ellafi is 33 years old and works as a teacher and personal development coach. She is a member of one of Tunisia’s political parties. The political academy allowed her to meet other women in politics, share experiences and discuss the challenges they meet.
Today, Nawrez is much better at communicating and putting her opinions into words. “Those are important skills. Because even though we are equal on paper in politics, it’s only the men who ever get to talk in reality. Meeting other women working for the same cause as me makes me feel stronger.”
Nawrez’ goal is to win the municipal elections. But in the future, she dreams of helping other women. “My dream is to hold lectures for other women and empower them,” Nawrez describes.
Sihem Ben Ali enthusiastically shows us all her books and notes from one of the training days of Aswat Nissa’s political academy. She has collected all her notes and the certificate’s she has received in a single large book.
”I’ve learnt more about leadership, become more self-confident and now find it easier to communicate. All that is thanks to Aswat Nissa’s political academy.”
Sihem is active in civil society; thanks to Aswat Nissa’s support, she decided to run in the municipal elections. ”I feel like it’s a responsibility I need to take. Since Aswat Nissa’s training, I’m much more confident. It’s so amazing that they are working to give women’s a bigger say in politics. We women have an important role to play!”
In the future, Sihem wants to set up an organisation to unite women from different political parties. ”I believe in working together – so we can influence the debate from all sides.”