Promoting access to the job market for people living with disabilities in Tunisia

The Tunisian revolution has provided a unique opportunity for citizens to claim their rights and for civil society to have its voice heard. This is also true for both individuals and organizations of people with disabilities.

Even though the participation and representation of people with disabilities in political and public bodies remain weak or non-existent in Tunisia, there is an emergence of organizations of disabled people progressively building a constituency with hope of representing all people with disabilities in their diversity. Progress is slow but constant.

It is within this emerging context that a group of youth leaders in Tunisia directed their citizen engagement action to the issue of persons with disabilities’ right to access the job market. Through their action, entitled “Economic inclusion of people living with a disability”, they hoped to sensitize the public about the right of people living disabilities to have equal opportunities to work. The youth leaders focused their attention on raising awareness with people with disabilities about a provision in the Tunisian law that stipulates the obligation for private and public businesses and corporations to have a workforce made up of at least 2% of persons living with disabilities (called the 2% quota law).

As part of the advocacy action, the youth leaders involved in the initiative organized the following activities: A two-day training with people living with disabilities to build their knowledge of the national and international legal framework on the rights of persons living with disabilities and to develop recommendations to effectively implement the 2% quota law; A round-table discussion with persons living with disabilities, decision-makers, youth leaders, and CSO representatives to discuss the implementation of the recommendations resulting from the training; and the production and dissemination of a video used as a public advocacy tool.

This citizen action produced the following results: 10 young leaders, including 6 women, were directly involved in the development and implementation of this action. Among these young people, two were elected president and vice-president of Junior Chamber International (JCI) of Tunisia; 25 young people, including 10 women, took part in the various activities; a group of 24 young people with disabilities, including 10 women, received training on the legal framework and the protection of their rights, as well as on techniques for collaborative communication; 80 other citizens, including 50 women, were reached and sensitized by the activities; The recommendations formulated during the training were shared with representatives from the Ministry of Labour; a dialogue has been initiated by local CSOs with decision-makers to reflect and identify mechanisms to ensure the effective implementation of the 2% employment provision for people with disabilities; Facebook and Twitter have been widely used to share information and to raise awareness on this issue. The video on Facebook has been viewed by more than 34 000 people and shared 93 times since March 2017.