In a festive and friendly atmosphere, the city of Ben Guerdane hosted, on November 16 and 17, 2018, the first edition of the cultural festival “Our fraternity unites us” organized by the Coalition of Civil Society of Ben Guerdane and Zolton Libyan Youth Union with the support of the International Development Center for Innovative Local Governance.
“This festival is an activity that embodies a long process of joint collaboration between Tunisian municipalities and Libyan municipalities on borders, where women have played an important role. Indeed, during this two day event, many women from Ben Guerdane and Zolton attended, not only to display their traditional dishes and clothes but also to exchange their different experiences, “said Hana Al Atrach, a member of the Coalition of Civil Society of Ben Guerdane.
About 65 guests from Zolton and other Libyan cities and hundreds of participants from Ben Guerdane took part in the festival’s activities. On the first day, an exchange session between the associations of the two cities was held at the Youth House where associations set up stands and distributed documents outlining their past activities.
“After the inaugural session, a traditional culinary competition was organized, as well as a traditional clothes parade and a football match between former players of Ben Guerdane and Zolton football teams. In the evening, it was time for poetry with poets from both countries in a tent brought from Zolton especially for this event. The attendance was massive and representative for all age groups,” said Said Chandoul, coordinator of CILG-VNG International in Ben Guerdane.
On Saturday morning, Libyan participants planted trees in various locations in Ben Guerdane. “This green campaign was led by the youth of Zolton. Tthe joy of Ben Guerdane residents was great and they promised to go to Zolton to do the same,” said Said. “The second part of the festival will take place, indeed, in Zolton in a few days when Tunisians from Ben Guerdane will be our guests …” adds Riadh Al Masloub, coordinator of the Libyan Youth Association in Zolton.
In closing, three partnership agreements were signed by Tunisian and Libyan associations. “We are pleased that cooperation between Tunisians and Libyans on the border area now exceeds private and personal initiatives to become more anchored in the institutional sector. It is time to build strong and lasting foundations of cooperation between municipalities and civil society, “concludes Said.
Ridha Al Masloub, coordinator of the Libyan Youth Union in Zolton pointed out that the support of CILG-VNG International is more than important to continue to carry out such projects. He concluded saying: “With limited resources, we successfully managed the event but we must remember that more support is needed to maintain this cultural cooperation”