Can OurGhema grow to be a model for local development?

In a few days I will decamp to Tunisia for a relatively long period of time. This may be my last visit for a while, so I would like to make the most of it. My goal is to try to understand what we can learn from Ourghema in order to build a new Edgeryders “product” a model of community-based local development. This product is, to a first approximation, directed to the World Bank and our other clients in the development space.

@Yosser and her group were able to go from dream to actual space in a very short time. I have no idea how sustainable Ourghema is (and I want to know), but we, at Edgeryders, have been trying to find ways that we can support it. @hugi brought in the hackathon; @anique.yael and I are looking for opportunities to involve it in EU-funded research. What we, as a company, stand to gain from Ourghema’s success is two things:

  1. We gain a tight relationship with a small, but concrete, achievement in improving a local context in a middle income country. This means we can try to replicate it, adapt it to different contexts, scale it etc. together with you.

  2. We gain a potential partner, that can help us bring other Edgeryders products in the region.

With this in mind, I would like to have time to sit down with both you, Yosser, and with @zmorda to discuss how, in practice, we could strengthen Ourghema and increase its local impact. Courses? Hackerspace? @Dorsaf’s biohacking vision (by the way, I would love to sit down with Dorsaf too). Yosser, I would also welcome the opportunity to meet your father and see what he thinks. My French is good enough for this kind of conversation. Zmorda, are you planning to come to Medenine? If not, I can come see you in Tunis – my flight to Turkey is leaving from there anyway. I would also love to meet @Sohayeb.

Additionally, I would like to repeat to Yosser my offer to give a small public event: a lecture, a workshop (on Graphryder and SSNA), something. It would be a small personal contribution to Ourghema’s events program. Ideally, we should plan all these meetings in the next couple of days, before I travel.


Thank you!
I am available to speak more about it, also my father will be pleased to speakto you about the space, the region (he and @matthias spoke before and it was quite an intereseting discussion)

I would love to, I am sorry I was out of the country which is the reason why I didn’t ask for a meeting but if possible we can have a meeting tomorrow maybe to discuss more about it because I’d reaaly love to have a workshop_??

@Sohayeb and @zmorda are probably coming to the hackathon, but I still didn’t have their final confirmation.

No, tomorrow my schedule is full. Day after tomorrow might be possible, what does your calendar look like?

Yup sounds good, at 10:30? Or else you can choose the time that suits you

Update. Today @Yosser, Monsieur Belgith (her father) and I had an informal meeting (in French!) at Ourghema for me to lay out the vision and get some advice.

What I learned:

  • Tunisia is regionalized. All ministries are represented by their local offices, and coordinated by an appointed governor. Additionally, there is a regional assembly, whose chairman is elected. This is an advantage, as we can attempt, through Ourghema, to build a strong working relationship with the Médenine governorate. M. Belgith says the mood is of openness and goodwill, though security is an important concern for Tunisian authorities. He does not see why local authorities would not look with favor to an effort to establish a model for local development in Médenine. He himself is the head of the Economy department in the governorate. Once the relationship is established, we can ask for help for things like visas.
  • Yosser herself is strongly in favor of trying this model of partnership. I, however, did not ask her to make a decision, as it is important that she is not pushed into it. This might be a lot of work, and we absolutely must not break the good stuff already happening at Ourghema.
  • Yosser is incorporated as an independent (personne physique). This was done to qualify for a young entrepreneur loan (update: it was a loan, not a grant), which she got; but it may be a bit lightweight for some of the stuff we want to do. So, we might want to investigate other alternatives (NGO? Company? Social enterprise?).
  • @dorsaf’s biohacking club is kicking off soon (next week?) in the space. Dorsaf herself is in Germany now, not clear if I get to meet her.

What I propose to do, is this: after Yosser has made her decision, we make a little ad-hoc team to work on this idea. In practice, I would like the involvement of:

  • @nadia and @hugi. Goal: pick up the WB relationship and steer the 2019 contract towards a model of local development. @matthias can also help here in terms of big picture thinking and inspiration.
  • @anique.yael and myself, as the RezNet: weave this opportunity into our 2019 H2020 campaign.
  • @noemi, @alex_levene, @bob, @natalia_skoczylas, as the Culture Team: keep an eye out for opportunities. There might be calls where an African/MENA partner is a plus, or a requirement.
  • and naturally @zmorda, as the Edgeryders main person in Tunisia. Here the work would look like something similar to what Anique does for research in Europe: go to events, look for opportunities, put us on the map.

What does everyone think?


I am unsure as to which 2019 contract you are referring, none such exists afaik? I wouldn’t count on WB at all so it’s better that you move forward assuming little if no involvement from them.

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Noted. Let’s think in terms of a generic local development project that we can then pitch to any donor present in the region.

Thank you @Alberto for this report from the field :)!
I am now recycling the RebelVillage for the next Creative Europe call and Ourghemma could be a fantastic partner but there cannot be any individual as a partner - we need organizations to join us. I guess this won’t be possible by the 11th of December, when we have the first deadline, but if @zmorda considers getting another legal form, then I’d love to discuss one of our existing cultural project ideas (and her plans for the next year or two) for the early application cycle in the next round or other local funds.

Ourghema is @Yosser. Zmorda is “our agent in Tunisia”.

My fingers are often faster than my brain :slight_smile:

@Yosser & co, sending a lot of encouragement and well done @alberto for never giving up opportunity costs :stuck_out_tongue:
What we’ve discovered as we look for funding sources - and I’m not sure it’s the best way to increase our chances! - but we are looking for places to park our idea that is recurring often by now: we want to offer edgeryders community members the opportunity to embed themselves into a place. That;s at the core of all the projects we dream: creating learning and mentorship opportunities where people spend time together in a place (even if it’s residencies in big rented apartments!) and work towards a common goal. The longer the better.

That means that any collaboration should involve edgeryders camping in Medenine and working out of Ourghema for a sustained period - maybe online before but then in a site marathon + event.


Thank you Alberto! I do strongly believe that we should sign a partnership for that it really eases the movement I make for Edgeryders events in Medenine, as I will be your legal partner.
and I strongly agree with @Noemi in terms of having different events like we had (Social Innovation Camp, Hackathon,… this sort of collaboration are a huge support to the space :slight_smile:
However I would to like to see how it goes for this [quote=“natalia_skoczylas, post:8, topic:9167”]
discuss one of our existing cultural project ideas (and her plans for the next year or two) for the early application cycle in the next round or other local funds.

So I am open to anything

Ok. I would suggest a call around this. @Yosser, @zmorda, @natalia_skoczylas, @noemi, @anique.yael and @hugi if they have the time. I also saw this by @amiridina, so she maybe also wants to participate?

Tentative agenda:

  • General features of an Edgeryders-Ourghema partnership. Explore the possible synergies and positive externalities from working together.

  • Due diligence on Natalia’s proposal. It probably won’t work, because of the time required for Yosser to set up an org, but it makes sense to gauge what it would take, because this allows us to get a feel of what kind of money we need to make it all worthwhile.


Great to see this moving! Happy to join a call when it’s scheduled pending other meetings/ timezones etc.

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@noemi, is it too much to ask you to lead this? Maybe as a first shot one of the old guard should convene.

I’m pretty far away but I fully support this emerging plan of working in closer partnership with Ourghema. If there is anywhere I would be of use, please advise…

@zmorda @Yosser @anique.yael @alberto @hugi @amiridina @natalia_skoczylas can you please pick dates that suit you for a first meeting to discuss our options?

4 dates are offered: 27 Nov, 28 Nov, 3 Dec, 4 Dec
DOODLE is available HERE.


Hi Everyone i hope you all had a great time in Medenine :slight_smile:
It’s unfortunate how I missed the whole hackathon. @alberto i really wanted to speak to you but as you probably know, I am in Berlin now and I ll be back in Médenine this weekend. so I would like to ask you if I can still meet with you there?

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Hello Dorsaf, I also would love to meet you. I am going back to Médenine today, Friday, for a small workshop at Ourghema, but I will leave again after it. Our last chance is Friday afternoon/evening!

@alberto again it is really unfortunate but hopefully we ll meet in another occasion.