In 2014, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) began implementing programmes focusing on border communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Tunisia in order to address the trans-national character of armed violence and crime in the Sahel-Sahara Region. As one of the first initiatives under this umbrella, DDG began a border security and management project in July 2014 in the Tunisian city of Ben Guerdane and later in 2015 in Dehiba, addressing key concerns along the Libyan-Tunisian border.
Communities in southeast Tunisia face numerous security challenges. Persistent crisis in Libya has generated serious cross-border concerns posed by smuggling of illicit goods, poor relations between Libyan and Tunisian border officials, frequent violent protests and youth involvement in violent extremism and dangerous migration. Parallel to this, communities face socio-political marginalization, endemic underdevelopment and high unemployment, which may act as push factors into violent or risky activities such as dangerous migration or violent extremism.
To address the above needs, the DDG, with funding from the European Union and Canada, aims to strengthen community security and resilience in southeast Tunisia along the Libyan border in Ben Guerdane and Dhehiba. The specific objectives are:
- To improve conflict management between communities and authorities on issues of cross-border trade, border safety and smuggling of illicit goods
- To promote the resilience of youth to mitigate their involvement in armed criminality, violent extremism and dangerous migration
DDG Tunisia’s current activities focus on conflict management education and establishing functional and sustainable dialogue forums and a violence prevention task-force in the communities. To promote resilience in local youth, DDG has developed a comprehensive evidence base through extensive qualitative research and actor mapping workshops, placing youth voices at the centre of analysis. The findings offer deep insight into youth perceptions of risk and resilience and will shape upcoming youth led actions plans.