Voluntary Cooperation Programme: Protection of Children, Women and other Vulnerable Populations (PRODEF) – Tunisia

No one claims to be able to change the world. But some people have dared to imagine it, to wish for it and to project themselves into a more equitable and fairer society. This battle is far from over, but it is a noble one, because it comes from a people who speak for the people, from organisations dedicated to asserting the rights of these people, with a single objective: to live better alone in order to live better together.
Dorra Bannouri, former volunteer with the Amal Association for the Family and the Child

Project duration : 2015 - 2020

For several decades now, the Government of Canada has helped hundreds of volunteering young Canadian professionals use their expertise to assist organisations in developing countries through its Volunteer Cooperation Programme (VCP). In 2014, Global Affairs Canada issued a call for proposals to expand the VCP to other Canadian organisations. It is in this context that the IBCR partnered with Lawyers Without Borders Canada to implement a five-year plan aimed at strengthening the justice system in the countries in question.

Our objectives 

PRODEF was the first project of its kind carried out by the IBCR and aimed to improve the protection of the rights of children, women and communities in situations of poverty or marginalisation. It also aimed to strengthen democracy and improve access to justice in the countries concerned. The project sought to address important challenges, such as insufficient protection of children's rights, impunity, unequal enjoyment of rights and discriminatory practices, limited access to justice, corruption, etc.

To this end, Canadians were deployed to provide specialised technical skills and methodologies (in law, communication, social work or organisational management) to partner organisations to support the prevention, promotion, protection and defence of human rights in the countries concerned. During their stay, which can last from two weeks to several months, volunteers contribute their knowledge and skills to the work of the partner organisations.

This programme allows Canadians to gain a unique experience and subsequently contribute to raising public awareness of international cooperation and issues related to the rights of women, children and vulnerable communities.

Between 2015 and 2020, more than 70 volunteers have been deployed by the CBSA-IBCR consortium within partner organisations in 9 countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Morocco, Peru, Tunisia). They have improved the situation of thousands of women, children and young people from marginalised communities by strengthening their rights and their access to justice.

26 development workers were deployed by the IBCR, for a total of 36 mandates.


During the 5 years of the project, the Office and its consortium partner were able to achieve the following results:

  • Increased protection of the rights of 24,906 people, including 4,128 women and 17,221 children, through the support of volunteers
  • 9,207 people made aware of their rights, including 5,194 women and girls
  • Improved legal representation for more than 4,186 victims of human rights violations, including 2,126 women and girls
  • More than 300 cases dealt with before international bodies in relation to serious human rights violations (enforced disappearances, human trafficking, genocide and sexual violence...)
  • More than 31 legislative proposals drawn up in favour of the rights of children, young people and women;
  • Approximately 1,808 people, including 858 women, trained within partner organisations

Examples of the contribution of development workers in Tunisia

Our partner in Tunisia: ADO+ Association, Tunisian Forum for Youth Empowerment, Amal for the Family and the Child

  • Strengthening of the partner following an organisational diagnosis. Development of an employee manual, implementation of organisational tools and training in communication strategy.
  • Development of a code of good practice for interaction with children and adolescents, with the participation of 22 children.
  • Development of new child protection tools for better accompaniment, including an ethical guide on the protection of children's rights.
  • Increase in the organisation's activities and its capacity to implement projects aimed at improving child protection.
  • Contributing to the strengthening of the child protection system and the fight against economic exploitation of children through the reinforcement of their knowledge, with the organisation of a three-day workshop to raise awareness among children of their fundamental rights and the protection mechanisms available in the country.

"During civic education, we are not taught that citizenship begins at birth. Today I am aware of my right to participate and I am an active citizen! " Linda, 16 years old, active member of the ADO + association

This project was carried out with the financial support of :

Affaires mondiales Canada

  • Intervention locations : 9 countries taking part in the project: Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Morocco, Peru and Tunisia
  • Project duration: 2015 à 2020
  • Partners :
    • Global Affairs Canada, Lawyers Without Borders Canada, Amal pour la Famille et l’Enfant (Tunisia), Association Bayti (Morocco), Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (Peru), Association des Femmes Juristes de Côte d’Ivoire, Bufete de Derechos Humanos (Guatemala), Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (Honduras), Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (Guatemala), CHS Alternativo (Peru), Collectif contre l’impunité (Haiti), Office de la Protection du Citoyen (Haiti), Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, Corporación Humanas (Colombia) Paniamor Foundation (Costa Rica), Instituto Promoviendo Desarrollo Social (Peru), Kay Fanm – with MOUFHED and SOFA (Haiti).
  • Highlights:
    • 110 voluntary cooperation mandates, including 41 IBCR mandates
    • 9 beneficiary countries
    • 28 partners
    • A dedicated website: http://www.cooperationvolontaireasfcibcr.com/
    • Better protection of the rights of 24,906 people, including 4,128 women and 17,221 children, as a result of volunteer support
    • 9,207 people made aware of their rights, including 5,194 women and girls
    • Improved legal representation for over 4,186 victims of human rights violations, including 2,126 women or girls
    • More than 300 cases dealt with before the legal authorities in relation to serious human rights violations (disappearances, trafficking in persons, genocide, sexual violence, etc.)
    • 31 legislative proposals developed for the rights of children, adolescents and women
    • More than 350 workshops organised
    • Over 1,800 people, including 858 women, trained in partner organisations
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Capacity building
    • Advocacy and institutional support
    • Tools, reference manuals and standards
    • Training leadership
    • Children in emergency situations
    • Child sexual exploitation
    • Violence against children
    • Child protection systems
    • Children and the justice system

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