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Women For Sustainable Development (Tunisia)

 

 

 


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Femmes pour le Dévelopment Durable (FDD) (Women For Sustainable Development) is a Tunisian social and environmental organization, associated with Le Mouvement Afro-Méditerranéen pour le Développement Durable. The International Bicycle Fund (IBF) is working with FDD, providing technical and material support for its bicycle initiatives. In 1998 we had the opportunity to ask FDD's Chairwoman Zeineb Bechedly a few questions;

IBF: What is the demographic profile of the audience that FDD programs are directed at?

click to enlargeFDD: FDD has a variety of programs. Our programs aim to reach two main groups:
- Rural women, in order to implement its advocacy and income generating projects in the field of sustainable rural development.
- Urban women, in order to implement its pollution prevention and control program which started in 1995 with two main components:

To disseminate, in plain language, information about the benefits and advantages of using the bicycle as transport, and thereby, to raise awareness of and stimulate interest in the topic. This objective has been achieved through games, theater plays, paintings, rallies, awards and prizes, booklets, conferences, seminars and workshops. The media has also played an important role. The target groups were pre-primary and primary school children, secondary school pupils, university students, and different groups making up Tunisian society. In all stages of this component women were highly determinant whether they were scholars, teachers, mothers, officials, or politicians.,

To identify influential women and to involve them in activities addressing the first component, with specific reference to the use of bicycles by women.

During the last 4 years, we have mobilized over 2000 women, mainly students -- 60% of them younger than 25. And we have "converted" around 320 women to become bicycle users.

IBF: While older women are more involved in economic activities and have more needs for transport services, why is the program being directed at a younger population?

FDD: For very obvious reasons: Old age in the Arab Muslim context is synonymous with old living and non-flexible, non-innovative standards and impossibility of riding a bicycle. So, if we want to achieve something, if we want to create room for change for women to advocate for the environment and sustainability, while riding her bicycle, we should start with special young female students, that are ready, available and motivated. Don’t forget our actions are comprehensive and don’t stop or start with making women bike riders. We are using the Tunisian gender-equality-objective to achieve more equality and more opportunity gains for women by showing that THEY ARE addressing the pertinent ISSUES and CALLING for beneficial change for both men and women.

IBF: Much of Tunisia is urbanized and people feel it is dangerous to bicycle. How are you addressing this obstacle?

FDD: Well, we created inside FDD a multi-disciplinary national team, including women urbanists, sociologists, economists, ecologists, lawyers, and epidemiologists.

This team is in the process of implementing all aspects of the program. One major aspect is the urban issues you mention. We live with it, but it will not stop us. It is more important and urgent that we gain publicity and attract more people (not only women, but also fathers.) Then when we have more voices and when it is obvious to every one what is obvious to IBF, then you will get the answer you hope for, being a fervent bicycle user.

Femmes pour le Developpement Durable / Women for Sustainable Development (FDD/WSD)  - Tunisia
B.P. 377, 7 rue Remada, 2000 Le Bardo, Tunisia  
Phone: +216 71 343518, 71 510714
Fax: +216 71 510714
Email: ngowfsd (at) yahoo.com

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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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