With the announcement of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to grant NIMD’s 2012-2015 multiannual subsidy proposal, in which Tunisia was proposed as new programme country, and based on multiple assessment missions to Tunisia to explore feasibility of a multiparty programme, NIMD has decided to design and implement a programme in Tunisia as early as possible in 2012.
Three months after the start of the revolution in Sidi Bouzid and other towns in Tunisia and in two months after former dictator, NIMD undertook its first exploration mission to Tunis in April 2011, in cooperation with DEMO Finland. A second mission with DEMO Finland followed in August. Initially, it was the Dutch Embassy in Tunis who suggested NIMD to undertake this initiative, which NIMD financed through its New Opportunities contingency budget.
Based on the preliminary assessment, based on meetings with representatives from political parties, local ngo’s and civil society organisations and international democracy assistance providers and donors, amongst stakeholders 'volonté' for dialogue, capacity strengthening was enthusiastically expressed and deemed possible within a fruitful and safe context.
Next to meetings in Tunis, a trip was made to meet grass groots civic education projects and youth dialogue event in the centrally located rural town of Sidi Bouzid, infamous birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts, where the self-immolation of fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi sparked nationwide upset.
A the third mission, joined by the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) will be planned to be present during the first Tunisian democratic elections in the week around 23 October 2011.