Tunis, Tunisia – Following the success of the first session of political training for young Beninese people, a group of five participants was selected to attend an exchange visit to Tunisia from 29 April to 2 May. This exchange was organised in the framework of the joint programme between AWEPA and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), which aims to strengthen the capacities of the National Assembly and political parties in Benin.
As part of the exchange, the participants were given the opportunity to visit the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP), at the Palais du Bardo in Tunis, where they met representatives of the Popular Front, a party which holds 15 seats in the Tunisian Parliament. The delegation from Benin then visited the headquarters of the other four main Tunisian political parties, in terms of number of seats in the ARP: Nidaa Tounes, Ennahda, the Free Patriotic Union and Afek Tounes. The discussions focused on the preparation of election campaigns, and the structure and funding of political parties, among other topics.
The Beninese participants also visited the town of Hammamet to attend a session of the Tunisian School of Politics (TSoP). The TSoP is a joint initiative between the Centre for Mediterranean and International Studies (French: Centre des Études Méditerranéennes et Internationales — CEMI), the NIMD, Demo Finland and the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”. It aims to strengthen the capacity of young Tunisian politicians and provide them with the tools they need to influence political decision-making.
The session addressed the topic of decentralisation, and the members of the Beninese delegation were able to exchange views and ideas with participants, organisers and alumni of the Tunisia School of Politics. The main objectives of the exchange were:
- To expose the Beninese participants and organisers to the best and worst practices as experienced by NIMD’s Tunisian partner, the TSoP, in their first years of setting up the school;
- To sensitise the participants, as future active alumni, to different possibilities of supporting the Beninese School after their graduation, based on exposing them to the Tunisian experiences;
- To raise awareness among the organising partners of the Beninese School regarding possible options on how to manage the many organisational, logistic, and political elements which surround the founding, running and financing of a School of Politics.
Following the exchange, a one-day report-back session will be organised to allow the members of the delegation to present their observations to all the other participants in the Benin School of Politics. This will, in turn, be used to develop part of the operational plan for the establishment of a fully-fledged Beninese School of Politics in 2016.