Together with the Jasmine Foundation in Tunisia, MLR (in the person of Sylvia Bergh) was a co-applicant for this project which was funded by the Knowledge Management Fund (KMF) of the Dutch Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law  (KPSRL) during 2022-2023. The aim of the KMF is to diversify thinking and evidence in the Security & Rule of Law (SRoL) field, particularly in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCAS). This project has tried to reimagine the notion of social contract in the area of security provision in Tunisia through the prism of citizens’ perceptions and experiences of the local state.  

The project aimed to examine two policy areas where there has been significant reform over the last decade in Tunisia -Security Sector Reform (SSR) and decentralization. SSR was launched after 2011 due to demands for citizen-centred security provision. Decentralization was launched in 2014 to address deep territorial inequalities. International donors, driven by the violent extremism agenda, have also focused on the local level as a space to build trust between citizens, state and police (e.g. UNDP’s program on “Community Policing” in partnership with government and local police). 

The researchers held an international workshop on 20 June 2023, with the kind support of the KPSRL/KMF (with live Arabic translation and recording on youtube). We also used this workshop as an opportunity to have our draft report reviewed by two senior scholars in this field (Prof. Ellen Lust and Dr. Markus Loewe) and made a detailed overview of their suggestions.

We implemented these suggestions in the extensive (50 pages) report submitted to the KMF and which we hope to turn into a journal article. 

We also organized a well-attended session at the KPSRL conference on 20 October 2022 on 'Can social accountability initiatives reshape social contracts?'.

In addition, Sylvia Bergh gave a well-attended and -received (recorded) webinar for students and staff at the South Mediterranean University (SMU) in Tunisia on 'How do you write a successful research grant proposal?' on 24 May 2023 to support local capacity for externally-funded research. 

A policy brief and infographic will be posted shortly. 

For more information contact: Sylvia I. Bergh at