Decent Rural Employment

Rehabilitation of young Tunisian prisoners through agricultural skills


The Government of Tunisia prior to the revolution was aware of the seriousness of the youth unemployment issue; although it attempted to make some reforms, these measures were insufficient to close the growing economic disparities between the tourist-dominated coastal areas and the impoverished interior regions. In addition, the financial crisis in the country has exasperated youth unemployment rates. Consequently, the correlation between lower employment opportunities, poverty and a growing informal economy has been a driving force of labour migration among the youth. In Tunisia, moreover, youth unemployment and high prevalence of vulnerable population, especially in West end Central regions, has been identified as the major cause of the revolution.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly with four other UN agencies (ILO, IOM, UNIDO, and UNDP), and national partners has been implementing a joint programme for youth employment and migration since May 2009.


Within the umbrella of the mentioned joint programme, FAO has piloted a parallel though complementary activity to enhance the employment opportunities in the agriculture sector of youth prisoners presently serving detention time in the prisons of Gafsa and kef (Sers and Eddir).


Jointly with the Tunisian Directorate General of Prisons and Reeducation and the NGOs‘INSAF-El-Kef’ and ‘Jeunes et Développement’, FAO, has initiated at the beginning of December 2012 a training programme in agricultural skills, primarily livestock and crops production, to enable young prisoners to start up either a self employment business in agriculture or find a waged job in the agro sector once released. The comprehensive trainings include both theory and practice in the field and facilitate the youth knowledge on preparing business plans for future access to credit to microcredit institutions.


Further to the FAO pilot activities, the prison of Eddir (in kef governorate) has acquired 400 ovine, while the prisons of Gafsa and Sers have renovated premises, rehabilitated agricultural land to dedicate to agricultural skills and bought new inputs, tools, equipments and materials.

Up to now, 61 young Tunisians in the prisons of Eddir and Sers and 9 young women and 41 young men in the mixed Gafsa prison have completed the trainings. Presently 2 new groups have been formed for further training (41 youth in Eddir and 27 in Essers).


Mid-term appraisals undertaken on the activities have assessed that all the youth enhanced their knowledge in agriculture and also showed a renovated positive attitude with a more optimistic vision for their future once released.

Contacts in FAO Tunisia:

Ahmed Bougacha: [email protected]

Noureddine Nasr: [email protected]

Nejla Ghachem: [email protected]

Contacts in FAO HQ:

Francesca Dalla Valle: [email protected]

Elisenda Estruch: [email protected]

Ileana Grandelis: [email protected]