Nos Racines – Our Roots

Nos Racines – Our Roots

Niklas Kabel Pedersen

nkp@voluntas.com

Voluntās launches “Nos Racines – Our Roots”: Preventing violent extremism in Tunisia, with a special focus on youth and women.

Supporting the Tunisian population and its institutions in their fight against violent extremism and radicalisation in Tunisia.

In recent years, Tunisia has undergone profound political and social changes and currently faces a severe economic crisis The unemployment rate reached 18.4% in 2021, with 40% of under 25s and 24.8% of women out of work. There are growing disparities in living standards between regions and political participation has declined.

Within this context, radicalisation, and exposure to violent extremism –in part linked to the phenomenon of the return of jihadist fighters (foreign fighters) – is a major challenge in Tunisia, particularly among marginalized youth. This risk is aggravated by the lack of detection mechanisms throughout the country and the absence of continuous dialogue between young people and public authorities, particularly the security sector.

An integrated approach through actions at local, national, and institutional levels targeting a range of actors with complementary roles and responsibilities.

Based on best practices drawn from the final evaluation of the EU-funded IcSP actions carried out by Voluntas between February and June 2021, “Nos Racines” has been designed under a cascading grants funding format. This approach will be implemented through partners, ICCG and FACE Tunisia, with local non-state actors (civil society organisations) operating on different sub-themes. This will ensure the territorial anchorage of the implemented actions, while responding to different local needs in a mosaic approach, thus allowing for a better adaptability of the project toolbox, and a refinement of both territorial and beneficiary targeting.

Some key figures

  • The project was launched on 8 March 2022 for an implementation period of 18 months.
  • EU funding for a total amount of 3 million Euros.

The project is implemented by Voluntas as Lead Partner, and ICCG and FACE as co-partners. The project will also include partnerships with institutional and local actors

Project activities implemented with non-state actors and institutional partners in nine governorates across Tunisia.

Ifrikya Center for Common Ground (ICCG) will empower its local civil society partners to conduct a process of multi-stakeholder community dialogues, thus building trust between key stakeholders (youth, local authorities, security forces, etc.) targeted by the project. ICCG will also build women’s capacity and empowerment to identify and prevent early signs of vulnerability among young people, with the support and collaboration of local women’s organisations and institutions in the target localities (Mothers’ Brigade).

Foundation FACE Tunisia aims to have an impact within communities as part of a local approach, by strengthening the resilience of those most at risk from violent extremism, but also by playing a key role in preventing violence itself. The action will promote the social and professional (re)integration of young Tunisians in vulnerable situations, with a particular focus on women and youth ex detainees.

Voluntās, while leading the overall project, will implement capacity building sessions for 100 preachers and imams selected by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The aim is to provide technical support in modern mediation and communication skills, in order to bring imams/preachers closer to their respective communities, especially youth. This will help limit the exposure of the most vulnerable populations to potentially extremist religious discourse.

Voluntas will also support the institutional and technical development of the National Commission for the Fight against Terrorism (CNLCT), in order to contribute to the strengthening of its capacity as a key actor of preventing violent extremism in Tunisia.

European Union Delegation in Tunisia

The 2011 Revolution marked a turning point in the EU-Tunisia partnership. Since then, the EU has been a key partner supporting Tunisia’s transition towards a modern democracy. Through all its instruments, the EU is supporting democratic and socioeconomic reforms, accompanying electoral processes, promoting human rights, strengthening civil society actors, enhancing economic and trade integration, and improving security. Since 2011, EU assistance to Tunisia has amounted to almost €3 billion with over €2 billion in grants and €1.1 billion in macro-financial assistance (concessional loans).

Impact Statement 2023

Impact Statement 2023

Impact Statement 2023

Niklas Kabel Pedersen

Senior Partner

With a new year starting, we always look back at the one that has just passed.

We do this to practice our self-awareness. We reflect on global developments, the impact we’ve made, the challenges we’ve encountered, and the lessons we have learned. We believe this foster growth and development. And what a year 2023 has been. Globally, we have seen a number of positive developments – such as the growth of solar power towards becoming the world’s main source of energy by 2050, and AI allowing us to expedite the diagnosis of rare diseases. However, what has been catching our primary attention has been challenges related to global and local peace, as well as humanitarian tragedies.

In 2023, we continued to witness the rise of extreme political discourses and an increase in the complexity of conflicts with civilians on the frontline. This has led to uncertainties impacting billions of people as we enter 2024; a decisive Super Election year with polling taking place in 50 countries and more than 2 billion people potentially casting their vote. These developments do not only intensify global tensions but also underscore the importance of putting the lives of human beings back at the center of our priorities. Our focus should be on supporting policies that cater for an increased realization of human potential through both the physical fulfillment of basic needs, as well as the creation of preconditions for mental resilience. As highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the absence of adequate mental health care constitutes a global emergency impacting individuals, communities, organizations, and nations. Continuing our current trajectory as a human species is no longer viable.

Along with our thinking at Voluntās, in 2023 the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, argued that we must revise the way we think and assess human progress. We must move away from “primarily relying on GDP as a metric of progress [… as it…] does not accurately reflect the world as it is – nor the world we want for future generations.[1]

As more people start to wonder how to build a more inclusive measurement of progress and sustainable development, we lean in. Just like we have done for almost 10 years.

We have long been advocating for a paradigm shift; the world needs to move from pure capitalism to a humanistic capitalism.

In 2023, we have remained mobilized across geographies and industries listening to the voices of more than 70.000 people globally while striving to pave the way for a progress where every economic, societal, or technological gain equals greater freedom for humans to pursue their potential.

[1] Guterres, 2023

Acquisitions can be humanized

From our research we know that for most people, 47 percent of all meaning felt is derived from their work. Thus, for our partners across the globe, we have collected the insights from more than 40.000 employees and analyzed their thoughts to measure their organization’s ability to create meaningful work.

We have also developed self-awareness insights for more than 2.000 leaders to support them in their daily attempt to take steps up the ladder of self-respect.

We have delivered results on the cultural fit between a candidate and an organization more than 150 times, ensuring that a misfit in culture and virtues does not become a reason for meaningless relationships.

We have expanded this approach into the world of Mergers & Acquisitions with our Cultural Due Diligence framework™. This has enabled us to show how “acquisitions can be humanized”.

However, our curiosity does not stop here, and in 2024 we will dive deeper into understanding what makes cities and neighborhoods meaningful places to live. Watch this space!

As a global community, we need to stay mobilized in fragile environments

Throughout 2023, we have remained fully engaged in some of the most vulnerable and fragile contexts in the world. In Sudan alone, which is going through a forgotten but bloody civil war that has displaced more than 10 million people, we have worked to bring forward the voices of more than 6.000 individuals. This we have done to ensure they are heard when decisions are taken that impact their livelihoods. We have also scaled up our presence in the Levant, supporting refugees in Jordan and advising on emergency responses across the region. All this, while the devastating conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to deeply impact humans and relations globally.

In 2023, we started working in support of the Ukrainian people as they navigate the challenging times brought about by the full-scale Russian invasion. We are honored to now work with partners like IOM and WHO there to support the crucial assistance they provide to affected civilians. We have also continued to grow our presence in India and advise partners in Libya and Tunisia focusing on governance, youth, and health, as well as climate action across the region. In a commitment to advance our efforts in climate action and gender equality, we have enhanced our research and monitoring frameworks, and published our work for inspiration (Meaningful climate action, Save the children, 2023).

To underpin fact-based organizational decision-making, we have conducted over 38 impact assessments, monitoring, and research studies, spanning across more than 16 countries. During our diverse projects, we had the privilege of collecting the voices and testimonies of more than 10.000 talented human beings whose perspectives would have remained unheard if not for our extensive network of data-collection partners.

Making a global impact

In our commitment to innovation and human-centered solutions, we have directed significant investments into the development of Delphi, our online platform designed to propel us into a new era of scalable efficiency and impact. Delphi will be a one-stop-shop for our digital products and will be launched in 2024. It already looks set to become a cornerstone of our digital offerings where meaningful work and operational excellence go hand in hand.

2023 was also a crucial year for Voluntās’ academic and global partnerships. With the continued support of the ALV Foundationand UNICEF Denmark, we have collected data from more than 12.000 children in Denmark, India, and Norway to identify what drives meaning in their lives. Our goal is to change the way decision-makers and institutions develop child policies. With the Youth Meaningfulness Index, we are providing an avenue for children to share what brings meaning to their lives and contribute to their well-being. On a global scale, we have also conducted the largest study on Meaningfulness in Life ever carried out with more than 18.000 respondents across 20 countries (Global Meaningfulness Index 2023).

We are proud of our partnerships as they contribute to our impact and global reach. And we know that staying honest and close is crucial. This has led us to expand our geographical footprint and open offices in Kyiv, Munich, and Nairobi.

With these expansions, Voluntās now proudly maintains a permanent physical presence in ten countries, supported by a diverse team of over 85 colleagues representing 23 nationalities.

Impact Statement 2022

Impact Statement 2022

Impact Statement 2022

Niklas Kabel Pedersen

Senior Partner

What we achieved in 2022 towards making more lives more meaningful

Despite signs of recovery from the initial downturns caused by COVID-19, tension, conflict, and insecurity continued to be prevalent in 2022. Globally, according to the United Nations, the number of forcibly displaced people surpassed 100 million for the first time. Furthermore, Europe suffered the resurgence of war with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted food and energy supply chains and impacted the standard of living for hundreds of millions. Drought and extreme weather conditions were observed on all continents, and rates of already-common conditions such as depression and anxiety went up by more than 25 percent (World Health Organization), while the sense of meaningfulness at work continued to decrease according to our research. Addressing these challenges requires a contextual understanding of the current state of the world as well as the various factors at play.

At Voluntas, we believe that every human being has the potential to grow, innovate, and create a positive impact on their workplace, community, country, and the world they live in. Voluntas’ mission is to facilitate and support the realization of this potential of millions of women, men, non-binary individuals, boys, and girls. We aim to catalyse personal and collective growth and meaningful change.

To do so, in 2022, we inspired tens of thousands, worked directly with almost 1.000 leaders, and supported more than 50 organizations in increasing the sense of belonging, purpose, leadership, and personal growth of their constituents, effectively enhancing their performance and impact. As part of this, we have listened to more than 40.000 employees to understand what drives their meaning at work and in life. With fact-based decision-making being at the core of our approach, we conducted 30+ impact studies covering 35+ countries supporting partners to tailor their programming and policies to the actual needs and dynamics of communities. Furthermore, we have had the privilege of collecting and sharing the voices and opinions of almost 100.000 persons that would otherwise go unheard. We have done all this by being present with partners in organizations and communities – even under challenging circumstances and in fragile contexts.

Together with our partners, we have supported migrants living in some of the world’s most unstable environments; we have listened to the stories of survivors of violence and used their experiences to inform our efforts. We have engaged with youth to understand their perspectives on the world and have gathered valuable insights into how different members of society experience and define meaningfulness. These insights have allowed our partners to adapt their internal structures, programming, and policies to maximize their impact.

Beyond projects, 2022 has also been a year of academic ventures and research collaborations. As such, we supported the publication of the first business case with Harvard Business School focusing on how to drive meaningful cultural change in organizations and embarked on the ambitious task of developing a global Youth Meaningfulness index together with the ALV Foundation with the goal of informing public policies and foster well-being for generations to come. We also started a collaboration with Saint Joseph University in Lebanon, allowing us to share our experiences from working in the field with future generations of practitioners through teaching and mentoring, as well as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India focused on exploring ESG metrics and linkages with meaningfulness and social impact.

In 2022, we expanded our global footprint to new geographies, including Beirut, Mumbai, Oslo, and San Francisco. We consolidated our work in Libya and Sudan and increased our efforts to prevent violent extremism in Tunisia. We also conducted workshops in Australia, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden on meaningfulness in the workplace and beyond. Our team has nearly doubled in size as a result, going from 40 to 70+ talented individuals boasting different academic and cultural backgrounds and nationalities.

In 2022, our founder and CEO Morten Albaek released a book focusing on dissecting the anatomy of meaningfulness and human potential called ‘False Truths in Life.’ This work continues to shape our culture and external ventures in Denmark and across the world.

We are grateful to all our partners for the meaningful collaboration we experienced in 2022. We do not only care about the work we do, but also about how we do it and only by working together with like-minded partners can we achieve the positive impact on people’s lives we aim for. We appreciate your willingness to join us on this journey and your openness to our approach.

As we embark on 2023, we are excited to continue our work for more meaningful organizations, brands, societies, and planet.

Creating Meaningful Societies with IBTCI in Tunisia and Libya

Creating Meaningful Societies with IBTCI in Tunisia and Libya

Creating Meaningful Societies with IBTCI in Tunisia and Libya

Rebecca John

rjo@voluntas.com
Meet Lisa Gilliam, Chief of Party at International Business & Technical Consultants Inc. (IBTCI), USAID – US Agency for International Development Monitoring and Evaluation in Tunisia and Libya.
 
Voluntās has worked with IBTCI in Tunisia and Libya for several years and is one of our most valued clients in the region. We have collaborated together on several projects, including donor mapping, context monitoring in Libya, and a series of policy papers in Tunisia.

Situation

Lisa Gilliam, the Chief of Party at International Business & Technical Consultants Inc. (IBTCI), oversees USAID’s Monitoring and Evaluation projects in Tunisia and Libya. IBTCI has been deeply involved in efforts to enhance governance and policy frameworks in these regions, which are crucial for stabilizing and rebuilding societies undergoing significant political transitions.

Challenge

In both Tunisia and Libya, the political landscapes are complex and volatile, making effective monitoring and evaluation challenging. The need for accurate donor mapping and context monitoring is critical to ensure that international aid is directed and utilized effectively. In Tunisia, there was also a need to develop comprehensive policy papers that could guide sustainable development and governance reforms.

Solution

Voluntās partnered with IBTCI to address these challenges through a multi-faceted approach. In Libya, they conducted thorough context monitoring to provide real-time insights into the evolving political and social landscape, aiding stakeholders in making informed decisions. In Tunisia, Voluntās collaborated with IBTCI to produce a series of policy papers. These documents provided well-researched, actionable strategies for governance and economic development, tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the region.

This collaboration leveraged Voluntās’s expertise in creating meaningful societal change through strategic advisory services, enhancing the effectiveness of USAID’s initiatives and contributing to the broader goal of building resilient, democratic societies in Tunisia and Libya.

Meaningful Climate Action

Meaningful Climate Action

Meaningful Climate Action

Save the Children Regional Office in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe – in partnership with the Regional Youth Committee and Voluntas research consultancy – collaborated with children and youth across the MENA region to produce this participatory research study, aiming to map child and youth inclusion in the climate policy landscape in the region, and to identify concrete entry points to make young people’s participation in climate action more meaningful.

Niklas Kabel Pedersen

nkp@voluntas.com

Elisabeth Jones

ejo@voluntas.com

Aya Barouni

aba@voluntas.com

Situation

Climate change poses a significant threat to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, affecting its environmental, economic, and social structures. Recognizing the urgency to address these challenges, there was a critical need to engage and empower the youth, who are pivotal in driving long-term climate action and sustainability.

Challenge

The main challenge was to effectively mobilize young people in the MENA region, a demographic that has historically been underrepresented in policymaking and environmental activism. The goal was to enable them to have a meaningful impact on climate policies and practices within their communities. There was also a need to bridge the gap between young activists and decision-makers, ensuring that the voices of the youth are heard and integrated into tangible climate actions.

Solution

In response, a collaborative project was launched to develop and implement strategies that empower young people as changemakers in the field of climate action. This initiative involved creating platforms for dialogue, capacity building, and advocacy, where young people could learn, share ideas, and influence policy. The project facilitated workshops and forums that brought together youth, policymakers, and environmental experts to co-create sustainable solutions for the region’s pressing climate issues.

The collaboration focused on providing the tools and knowledge necessary for young people to lead impactful climate initiatives, ensuring their active participation in shaping a resilient future for the MENA region. By equipping them with the skills to advocate for environmental justice and sustainability, the project aimed to foster a new generation of environmental leaders.

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