Atelier des Jeunes Citoyens et Citoyennes de la Méditerranée

Agir pour faire bouger les choses, représenter pour faire entendre sa voix

The Tunisian has been a scout for more than 30 years. It is through this movement that he defends and propagates his values of patriotism and respect for the environment.

He fell into scouting when he was a child. It was in 1987, Nidhal Ben Amor was 5 years old. 33 years later, he is the local commissioner (sort of president) of the el-Habib city group in Sfax. With a single objective: to prepare the citizens of tomorrow.

It was by chance that Nidhal Ben Amor became a scout. Two teachers from his kindergarten created a troop and encouraged him to join it. « I have few memories of that time. I remember my first summer camp in 1988. We spent 21 days in Kelibia (coastal town of Cap Bon, 112 km east of Tunis, Ed.). At that time there were no telephones, we sent letters to our parents. I immediately liked it, I really appreciated this spirit of organisation, this hierarchy », he explains from his house in Sfax (260 km south of Tunis) where he is confined. He never left the movement, choosing, at the age of 17, to become a scout leader and follow the training for that. Even during his three years in Germany, to complete his doctorate in electronics, Nidhal Ben Amor used to return to Tunisia for summer camps.

Today, he leads a group of 180 children from 7 to 17 years old from the suburb city El habib in Sfax, one of the biggest in the country. « Our objective is to prepare responsible citizens.  We rank 4th after family, school and the street. We try to minimise the time spent on the street. We strengthen their capacities in different areas: sport, patriotism, the environment…», explains this father of two young girls. The protection of the environment affects him all the more since he grew up in Sfax, a coastal region affected by pollution linked to chemical industries (particularly to phosphate transformation) and since his family is originally from Kerkennah. This archipelago just in front of Sfax is one of the most threatened regions by global warming in Tunisia, with the sea gradually gaining ground on the land.

Nidhal Ben Amor joined the AJCM network (Ateliers des Jeunes Citoyens de la Méditerranée) in 2018, on the occasion of a beach clean-up action. « I mobilised our troops on the beach of Taparura, in the centre of Sfax. According to my parents, this place used to be Tahiti. Industry (in the chemical sector, Ed.) destroyed everything from the 1970s onwards. These factories ransacked it and then left. We can see the sea from our houses in Sfax, but we have to walk 25 km to go swimming », regrets the university teacher.

Since joining the AJCM, Nidhal Ben Amor has not had the opportunity to participate in concrete projects. But he notes: « The important thing is to feel the AJCM idea. The Mediterranean dimension, these discussions between a dozen countries, this is the great contribution. We find ourselves with the same codes. And the same sea. Because if a young person throws a bottle into the sea in Sfax, another can find it in Marseille ».

 

Maryline Dumas, Tunis