ALAC’s approach to COVID-19
The main objective of this project is to provide legal assistance to citizens as well as work with other civil society organisations and the government to enhance Tunisia’s COVID-19 response in order to improve the country’s social accountability mechanisms.
Tunisia’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) is dedicated to providing legal assistance to all citizens and works in partnership with the Transparency International Chapter in Tunisia, IWatch. In 2020, IWatch and the ALAC cooperated with the local government and other civil society organisations in order to enhance the country’s COVID-19 response. Their efforts have been mostly centred around developing (i) a whistleblowing platform to track violations of the lockdown regulations; (ii) a tracking platform to monitor people with COVID-19 symptoms quarantining; and (iii) and a monitoring platform to ensure funds and medical equipment are distributed to the hospitals.
The government has taken a proactive approach towards preventing the spread of COVID-19. On 22nd March, the Tunisian government enforced a curfew and a general lockdown despite relatively low infection rates. On 8th June, Tunisian President Kais Saied ordered the lifting of the nationwide curfew after a consistent drop in infections.
The government of Tunisia has also received financial aid to help with its COVID-19 response: The World Bank has made US$35 million available to support Tunisia’s Ministry of Health with essential equipment and medical supplies whilst the IMF Executive Board approved a US$745 million emergency assistance loan and the European Union granted Tunisia EUR 250 million in aid. Further, Tunisia set up a coronavirus solidarity 1818 fund where individuals and companies can contribute. It has collected 200 million TND so far.
At the time the outbreak started, Tunisia was facing serious macroeconomic imbalances. In addition, Tunisia has limited health infrastructure. The country has about 250 intensive care beds for a population of 11.5 million inhabitants.
- Whistleblowing platform: The ALAC partnered with local municipalities to develop a citizen-led whistleblowing platform to better monitor citizens and businesses’ abuses of lockdown regulations Monitoring & evaluation
- Tracking platform: IWatch and the ALAC partnered with the Ministry of Health to develop a tracking platform that enables an easy identification of COVID-19 cases and that keeps track of the number of people with symptoms who are staying at home Monitoring & evaluation
- Monitoring platform: IWatch and the ALAC also developed a monitoring platform to track where donations and medical equipment go in order to ensure transparency in the process and guarantee that hospitals with little equipment receive the help they need. ALAC has also collaborated with Tunisia’s medical association to collect data on hospitals’ needs and donations. Monitoring & evaluation
- The ALAC helped the local authorities track and detect violations of the lockdown regulations
- Monitoring and tracking of donations
- Tracking of the National Covid-19 Fund
- Ensured the provision of medical equipment to hospitals in every region