Caricature by Tawfiq Omrane about education before and after the Tunisian revolution, (IADH, September 2017)

The unlikely encounter allowed participants to put their heads together to design cartooning workshops for students of citizenship clubs in 11 different governorates, as well as for detainees of the Mornaguia and Mornag prisons and the Mghira reeducation center for juvenile delinquents. According to the project’s artists and organizers, the clubs and prison establishments represented in the September training were only the beginning. The idea is that participants of the first exchange will train others in the coming months. Tapping into its network of contacts in the 23 citizenship clubs spread throughout the country, the IADH summoned educators of different regions to the meeting in Tunis, as explained Programs Director Maya Ben Khaled. Walking us through the illustrations that will accompany the workshops to come, she says that encouraging students to discuss complex or controversial issues through cartoons encourages them to discuss « topics that are more or less taboo, which aren’t necessarily addressed in school programs, like the death penalty or sexual and reproductive rights ».

For its part, the OMCT provided the link to prison establishments. Referring to the organization’s work with Tunisia’s Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation (DGPR), OMCT Project Coordinator Emtyez Bellali indicated that prison directors’ willingness to sign onto the cartooning project is in line with efforts over the past few years to provide cultural and artistic outlets for detainees. Recent events like the participation of Borj Erroumi prisoners in the International Festival of Bizerte in August, is proof. « It’s strange because we’re in Tunisia, but we work well with the DGPR… It’s been years. » As for the project underway, it is an « important collaboration », says Bellali, based on « a great deal of trust. »