Don’t be an impactless leader nor an extremist activist !

Since the Arab springs started, civil society has boomed, mainly in Tunisia and Egypt, unfortunately for the other countries that weren’t as lucky. In Tunisia, more than 10,000 civil society organizations were founded after 2011, more than the total number of organizations registered from the independence in 1956 until 2010.
2011, I was in my freshman year in Tunis Business School and I couldn’t imagine the opportunities that just opened before my eyes. It felt like the construction work for a new and better Tunisia has just began.
More organizations that want to created a positive impact, more people engaged, mostly youth, and active members of the new Tunisia. With all the ups and downs, police and oppression being present at every turn of events. Youth kept fighting, innovative ideas in every aspect of life were popping up everywhere as actual spring unfolds.
I was there and I miss it very much ! I have seen as well many friends rising and shining and many friends failing, losing hope and fleeing the country for a better future.
Now, from Washington DC, I learned more about international CSOs and changemaking processes and learned more from success and fail stories of people I had the honor to meet during my stay. Here are is my advice to the new generation of change makers around the world:
1- Extremism:
People can do crazy things by their commitment to a cause and take things to the extremes. It’s very noble and important to be committed and devote your time and effort to the cause, but if you devote too much of your life, it is the wrong way to do it, and you will not achieve your desired goals/impacts.
This is a mistake I did, few years ago, it’s like when you love your sports team too much that you join the hooligans putting your life to risk and your future as well. My advice is to have a balance between your personal life, your cause and your occupation. And remember, work is a never-ending task, so just take it easy and don’t use yourself too much. Otherwise, you will burnout*. Trust me it’s terrible. After that you will feel disappointed, exhausted and you will lose your motivation and you will, GOD forbid, opt out and you get a job or for some money…. that is a win for the evil side of the cause.
Solution: Find the equilibrium and keep on fighting !
2- Mercenariness:
If you are reading this, there is a great probability that you are a brilliant member of civil society, a great activist in your community/country. My advice to you is to be aware of the traps of international development organizations. They will offer you a great ”salary”, that you won’t reject, for your brilliant level of expertise, think twice what they are paying for; your expertise or something else?
So you start your new job, happy with the illusion that you can achieve more impact for your cause since you are now in a bigger organization, but that implies that you have less time for your organization/initiative, and slowly you will be faced by a decision to leave your own organization that you built with your bare hands, sweat and blood. Then your organization fades into the darkness of unsolvable social issues.
I want you to think about it, how much did you sell your potential positive impact that you were going to achieve it through your own organization ? … wait, let me rephrase, Think about how much did you sell your dream or mindset to international organizations ?  I am sure that you don’t agree with many things at your new job, but you will stay because you are selfish and became monotonous and boring. If you work on economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, you will see the ”startuppers” (founders of startups), their job is to grow their company and then sell it to a bigger company. Civil society doesn’t work like that my friend. If you sell you organization, you sell your dreams, yourself, and the dreams of other people that you ”empowered”.
I understand that financial stability is key in one’s life, but please don’t lie to people, don’t lie to your community.
3- Impactless Work
 In this world, there are two types of people: activists and civil society workers.
While you can decide to be who ever you want, I really don’t like the civil society professional mindset.
Here is a description of each type:
– Work something he/she likes and is passionate about solving it.
– Loves the social issue and works towards achieving and providing solutions to the cause.
– Will gather a team to do a project even when there is no money, because the whole team believes in the impact of the idea and don’t wait for the donors’ approval
– Will go the extra mile for a better impact
Civil Society Worker:
– Usually an office clerks (project manager or coordinator)
– Cares about pictures to submit to the partners more than the actual project and people affected
– Cares about his/her career
– May or may not be interested in the cause the organization is working on
– Focus on worthless details while forgetting about the bigger picture.
Please don’t get me wrong, you can be an activist and also a project manager and still do field work, it is not impossible and there is no shame in doing field work, it’s what this world is built on.
*Burnout: a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress and/or intellectual work. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

The Fake Activists and Institutionalization of Rape and Extortion

I am writing this blog post with deep anger and confusion following the scandal of OXFAM and other organizations working in the aid industry, because a ”sector” is no longer viable for this type of ”business, where OXFAM employees were found to sexually exploit underage girls in Haiti and Africa and the UN being accused of covering up employees’ extortion of Syrian girls in refugee camps in return of giving aid to these young girls/families.

How Tshirts are made

Few months ago, the environmental working group at my host organization, PYXERA Global organized the annual ”Clothing Swap”, an event to raise awareness about the SDGs in general as well as to highlights the impacts of the textile industry.

Here is the summary of my presentation about the Travels of Tshirts in the global socio-economic market.



Place: USA, China, India
The best cotton is grown in the USA.

What’s Happening in Tunisia !

Tunisia has entered a phase of social turbulence since two weeks ago and protests surged in several cities and in certain districts of the capital, Tunis. Indeed, clashes were between protesters and police for many days. A man was killed Monday in Tebourba, on the sidelines of a rally against the increasing cost of living, while growing a general grumbling against the austerity budget adopted in late 2017. The demonstrations, enameled in some cases of shop looting occur in a degraded social context, where the rebound in inflation (6.4% year-on-year) adds to the deleterious effects of an unemployment rate of 15% (30% for graduates of higher education).

The Power Of Partnerships


Although I have a general understanding of partnerships from previous positions leading several organizations in Tunisia, until now I never had the chance to witness how partnerships can be particularly effective in multi-sector environments. Before deciding to launch my own nonprofit in Tunisia, I wasn’t able to conceptualize how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would be achieved amidst the pandemonium in which we live—from social unrest to environmental disasters—until I found several reports on the progress and results. I was amazed that we could decrease world poverty from 36 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2015. Michael Green, from the Social Progress Imperative, illustrates this achievement well. This accomplishment was due, in large part, to the great partnerships and individual people coming together around a common set of goals.

7th anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution and the Arab Spring

Image associée

Seven years after the beginning of the revolution that overthrew the dictatorship of Ben Ali, Tunisians still suffer from the poor economic health of their country. And the change in the administrations is extremely slow.

On December 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old fruit vendor, set himself on fire in Tunisia to protest the confiscation of his merchandise by police officers. His act of desperation triggered a protest movement across several countries known as the “Arab Spring”. With escalating events, this has lead to the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali January 14, 2011. By overthrowing their dictator, Tunisians probably hoped for a better tomorrow, but today, the country is still boiling.

A Poem For All Aspiring Leaders Out There !

We write on the walls the names of those we love
Wisdom for the days to come
We write on the walls with the ink of our veins
We draw everything we would like to say.

Everywhere, around us
There are signs of hope in the eyes
Let’s keep them written, because in the night
Everything fades, even their tracks
We write on the walls the strength of our dreams
Our hopes, in the form of graffitis
We write on the walls so that love rises
One day, over the sleeping world

Words, only engraved
To remember to change everything
Let’s mix tomorrow, in a chorus

Thanksgiving Experience – Fully Immersive

Last week was Thanksgiving, mine felt like it has been going for a month, during which I had the honor to be at a couple of ”friendsgiving parties” , then an amazing office Thanksgiving feast at my host organization ”PYXERA Global” and then a thanksgiving lunch and a thanksgiving dinner with my friend’s family in Pennsylvania ! Yes, you an say that I gained weight, but most importantly I gained a huge spiritual weight and filled my heart with the holiday joy and happiness and interesting people.

It was a great holiday ! Few days of relaxation and good food and loving humans !

‘’PERFECT’’ does NOT exist … she’s gone

Just when I thought I finally settled well in DC and had my life together, lovely friends, almost good food (fruits and vegetables are still trying to impress me, but they fail every time) and Mongia (the bike), respected in my host organization, calling family everyday. I was fooling myself it was a perfect life, or at least ‘’La Belle Vie de Washington’’ until Mongia was kidnapped (bike stolen). It was bad, still is, but now that I am over it, I can talk about it.

My life without a bike is like fish without water… maybe.