An Overview of TAWASOL Project

By Meher Bnouni, Ichrak Mars, Samar Baba

Every great project starts in small steps. This year, IEEE SIGHT Tunisia has made its very first steps in the pilot project TAWASOL, shaping what is coming out to be as a milestone and a game changer in Tunisia.

Throughout this year, we have been setting up a solid action plan for the upcoming years with clairvoyance, arranging for a change that goes deep into the very roots of our society. We have devised a hierarchy for our team with an ambassador representing each state. All ambassadors were selected based on a holistic approach after submitting an online application. Following the selection, we organized a kick-off meeting where all ambassadors were invited to assist to an introduction to the TAWASOL project as well as their responsibilities and commitments as ambassadors. We also seized the opportunity to organize team building and leadership activities for the ambassadors to break the ice and get to know each other. During the kick-off meeting, we ran mock workshops, to acclimate ambassadors to the classroom environment and the situations they might encounter.

Each ambassador is responsible for a team made up of boys and girls equally. The team’s job is to organize, deliver the workshops and report to the steering committee. We have put together an ambassador guide to explain the work of the ambassadors and their teams covering workshop, media contents and tips on how to handle children and organize the workshops. Following every workshop, ambassadors deliver a report containing a description of the workshop, number of attendees, pictures, remarks and feedback.

Just after the kick off meeting, the ambassadors have studied the interests of students and divided the curriculum accordingly while aiming to include not only children but also parents and teachers to get to know children and their skills.

The first workshop of our ambassadors was held in Bouhjar, a small city in the state of Monastir. The team spent the morning in school, talking to children, asking them questions and inciting their curiosity to know more about technology. The workshop started in the afternoon, gathering 24 boys and girls aging 12 years old. Along the workshop, the team explained the notion of technology and internet, in laymen’s terms and taught children algorithm and computer science reasoning using games. The workshop was successful and children begged us to come see them again.

Our ambassadors have already ensured that same workshop in several regions ; 7 regions exactly.

The Tawasol team also paid a visit to Laouina primary school in Tunis on Tuesday, Jan 24th. The team delivered a two-hour interactive workshop during which they presented and demonstrated the project, with some interactive activities showing them how does the internet works. Students showed their interest to IT and were truly excited to learn and to know more about Internet and Technology.

Our team has also participated in an event held on the high school of La Marsa in Tunis. That day was dedicated to students who were about to choose their major. The purpose was to encourage them to build their STEAM skills as a means of empowering connection and problem solving. We also introduced the TAWASOL Project to them while insisting on its impact on the education process in the whole country. We had a discussion with a few students after the workshop who were asking us about the best resources for “coding” and about the way to join TAWASOL.

In order for us to be included in the community and ensure full involvement, we teamed up with civil society organizations in Tunisia such as JCI and organized a workshop in collaboration with them. The workshop started with a morning session where students of the 6th form ( aged between 12 and 11 ) were introduced to web development through a series of interactive activities. The second session, which has started just after the lunch break, was dedicated for the “Weebly Plateform”, an online tool to help them create websites and “Videoscribe”, a software to help them create videos and animations, which can be added to their websites once created.

We were also present during the IT Expo in the capital, where we had the opportunity to present TAWASOL and work on a partnership with the ministry of ICT.

A project with a positive impact on the community needs to be replicated, for other nations to follow and thrive. We’ve had the opportunity to present TAWASOL during a workshop by the Mediterranean Network of Engineering Schools and suggest a potential partnership, to expand our work across the Mediterranean.

IEEE SIGHT Tunisia participated at the WSIS prizes contest and was awarded as a WSIS champion for TAWASOL for Category C4: Capacity Building. Our attendance at the WSIS, was a great chance for us to talk about TAWASOL and meet people that might be interested in our work.

As a future plan, we’re increasing the workshops’ frequencies and are organizing a TAWASOL Summer Camp.

Our main goal is to conduct workshops in the other remaining regions of Tunisia, and for that, we will be recruiting other ambassadors during the month of July. Afterward, we will be organizing a meeting with all our TAWASOL team (board, ambassadors and partners) in order to put in action our plans and make our ambassadors on the right path.

We will be organizing a Summer Camp dedicated to different regions of Tunisia, in which we will be organizing several workshops and activities dedicated for kids.

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