How Tunisia Can Be an Example of Good Governance to the Region—and Beyond
By Bana Sayeh
In December 2010, demonstrations broke out in Tunisia demanding the resignation of one of the most repressive regimes in the region, led by President Ben Ali. The demonstrations were triggered by the widespread corruption, lack of freedoms, and poor living conditions in the country.
A year after the revolution, a constituent assembly was elected to draft a new constitution, which was adopted in early 2014. On October 26, 2014, Tunisians voted to elect their first post-transitional parliament, thus embarking the country on an expected period of state building. Many consider Tunisia to be the first democratic country in the Arab region.
For better than a decade, Amira Yahyaoui was active against Ben Ali's regime as a member of the Tunisian anti-censorship and freedom of speech movement. Following the revolution in early 2011, she founded the Tunisian organization Al-Bawsala, a public policy NGO working to promote human rights, good governance, and accountability in Tunisia.
Through its online platform marsad.tn, it monitors the work of the Tunisian parliament and local city halls across the country using new technologies to make information, such as budget analysis and the performance of officials, accessible to citizens. Al Bawsala also advocates for a better way of governing and citizen inclusion through advocacy and technical assistance to members of parliament and government officials.
Al Bawsala is a grantee of the Open Society Foundations. At Open Society is a video series highlighting the people and ideas that are inspiring our work—and changing the world.
Until January 2015, Bana Sayeh was a communications officer at the Open Society Foundations’ Arab Regional Office.