A number of female students of the Science faulty of the University El- Manar, venue for the World Social Forum in Tunisia are holding a ‘sit-in’ on their campus to protest against regulations which ban them from wearing the ‘nikab’. The nikab is an Islamic outfit worn by women and it covers every part of their body leaving only their eyes. According to one of the student protestors, Aya Bouchmila, it is their right to choose what to wear but the university authorities think otherwise. Here’s a report from Joyce Anim-Ayeko in Tunis.

Digital Shadows – this is the technical term for how the internet keeps track of activities of users. Experts at Tactical Technology Collective say that pictures and messages shared over the internet and on any social network put personal data as well as that of one’s contacts at risk. Gillo from Tactical Tech explains how to keep such important information safe.

Swazi women are taking up the challenge of shaping democracy in their country. Sebenzile Nxumalo believes that citizens’ rights are paramount in any democracy.

A universal citizenship passport – that’s the goal of the Organisation for Universal Citizenship, a group that aims to promote global freedom of movement and settlement. It is calling on the UN to make this a reality. David Flacher explains how this can and will be done.

Nathalie Marcu is from the news group Rouge et Vert or Red and Green. Her organisation is propagating a new ideology which is a cross between capitalism and socialism. Rouge et Vert is active in Social Forums all over the world and this was evident in Tunis.

A universal citizenship passport – that’s the goal of the Organisation for Universal Citizenship, a group that aims to promote global freedom of movement and settlement. It is calling on the UN to make this a reality. David Flacher explains how this can and will be done.

The extractive industry has been seen as both a blessing and a curse. The challenges that come with the industry are its curses, and activists at the World Social Forum have been discussing ways to tackle them. Some of the challenges are land degradation and the displacement of peasants who work on the land. There are also the related social and economic implications of the extractive industry. Ndabezinhle Nyoni of the African Institute for Agrarian Affairs and The People’s Dialogue in Zimbabwe has Ismaila Ndao from Horizon 3000, an Australian NGO in Senegal, discuss the problems associated with the extractive industry in their countries.

Some African states have been accused of complicity in the problem of land grab by investors. Cecile Leuba of Peuples Solidaire – Action Aid France says this is having a serious effect on the local people who lose their land. She called for assistance in the form of laws to help protect the livelihoods of peasants who bear the brunt of land grab.

Horror stories of the atrocities meted out to African migrants and refugees in Sudan, Egypt and Israel are being told at the World Social Forum. Sister Azezet Kidane of the Comboni Missionaries in Israel talks about how African migrants are lured to the Middle East only to be trafficked and held for huge ransoms.

He says his name is Adams Anaba, from Ghana, but the way he hesitates before calling his name creates some doubts regarding his identity. That notwithstanding, he tells an interesting story of how he came to be a refugee in Tunisia. Adams is however not sure of what he wants. He is in a dilemma as to whether he wants to go back to Ghana, stay in Tunisia or opt for another destination. He has barely three months to make up his mind as the refugee camp where he lives will be cosed down in June.

Tchermo Hamadou Boulama of Alternative, an Organisation in Niger, has been talking about problems associated with movement of people across borders in West Africa. He also makes some suggestions regarding how these issues could be resolved to ensure the free movement of people within the sub region. Another issue which is closely linked to the free circulation within ECOWAS is corruption. Travellers are charged illegal fees at borders thus hindering cross-border movement.

The Rights of the physically challenged in Nigeria are high on the agenda of human rights groups. So far the disability bill has gone through the second reading at the national level. At the lower level the law has been passed by some state Assemblies. Adebesin Abiodun a physically challenged person is at the fore of advocacy for the rights of his colleagues in Nigeria. He talks to Flamme d’Afrique on his work within the Justice Development and Peace Commission.

A Franciscan Sister from Senegal has been giving her impressions of the World Social Forum which is underway in Tunis. For her, what is evident is that people want peace. The forum is also a market place of ideas, but Sister Georgette Ngom is worried that many of these ideas will remain dreams.

No Lager Bremen, a German anti-racist group and Afrique - Europe Interact are involved in the campaign against what they term, the proxy war in Mali. Dorette Fuwer, a German activist and her group are against the French intervention in Mali because it could bring in its wake guerrilla warfare by the Islamists, and a destruction of the local economy.

Cedric Gina, President of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa says the union is sensitizing its members to the issues of gender. He said the men in leadership positions realise that women in the workplace are equal partners. The men do not therefore want to exploit their female colleagues and partners who are also home makers. Mr Gina tells us what forms the sensitization takes. He also talks about paternity leave which has been granted by some unions in South Africa.

Carmen Olifant is from the South African Municipal Workers Union which has a higher proportion of men because of the nature of jobs available in the sector. She challenges more women to take up jobs in water purification and driving because there are more opportunities for promotion.

The regional treasurer of NUMSA, Winnie, says her union is giving more women the chance to be in leadership position.

Political rights, citizenship and social justice are just a few of the areas of focus of the Tunisian organisation, Bus Citoyen. In this interview, Ghada Kouki and Rabeb ben Khalifa tell Flamme d’Afrique that particular attention is being paid to educating women in the local regions of Tunisia on these rights.

A women and human rights advocate from Mozambique, has been touting the successes chalked-up by her organisation, the Women’s Forum. According to Zeera, these include mainstreaming gender into governance, the passage of a family law and a domestic violence law. She also tells Flamme d’Afrique that she joined the opening march of the World Social Forum in solidarity with the women of Tunisia.

Political rights, citizenship and social justice are just a few of the areas of focus of the Tunisian organisation, Bus Citoyen. In this interview, Ghada Kouki and Rabeb ben Khalifa tell Flamme d’Afrique that particular attention is being paid to educating women in the local regions of Tunisia on these rights.

A group of female Tunisian student’s is calling for transitional rights from the government to assuage the atrocities suffered under the Ben Ali regime. Carrying placards calling for a voice for the voiceless, the group is asking the government to carry out investigations into the many cases of people who disappeared in the last regime. Hiba spoke for the group during the march which formed part of the opening of the World Social Forum.

In South Sudan, the women have taken up the mantle to bridge the religious divide in order to ensure peace. It is also working to educate women on their rights as you’ll hear in this Account by Harriet Baka of Voice of Women for Peace and Faith.

The prayer of nations all over the world, especially the least developed ones, is to discover some economically important natural resource which will propel their development. One such resource is oil, the black gold. Some groups however are against the exploitation of fossil fuels. Oilwatch is one of the campaigners against the mining of coal and the drilling of oil wells because .Nnimmo Bassey is the co-ordinator for Oilwatch International and he says in the case of Nigeria oil has been a destructive factor.

A Southern African women’s group, Rural women’s Assembly, is advocating the involvement of rural women farmers in policy making regarding the continent’s mineral wealth. They were among marchers at the opening of the World Social Forum in Tunisia. A member of the Assembly, Dolorosa Movobea of Zimbabwe is urging women in rural communities to be pro-active because as she put it, the success of Africa is in their hands.

The prayer of nations all over the world, especially the least developed ones, is to discover some economically important natural resource which will propel their development. One such resource is oil, the black gold. Some groups however are against the exploitation of fossil fuels. Oilwatch is one of the campaigners against the mining of coal and the drilling of oil wells because .Nnimmo Bassey is the co-ordinator for Oilwatch International and he says in the case of Nigeria oil has been a destructive factor.

Nicole Blouin is a lecturer in communications in Quebec Canada. She says all her life she has fought for the rights of women in her country. As a unionist she has fought for the rights of women to go on maternity leave. As a communicator, Nicole notes the importance of radio and recognises the difficulties facing people who want to set up free radio.

Austin Airwaves, a US based community media advocacy group has been involved in strengthening the capacities of community based radio stations throughout the world. Jim Ellinger of Austin Airwaves says as a member of AMARC, the umbrella body for community radios worldwide, his organisation believes in empowering the stations. He talks of some of the benefits of community radio.

Many people from all walks of life and diverse groups took part in the march to mark the opening of the World Social Forum in Tunisia. An Ivorian, living in Morocco, who simply calls himself Bach, wore a T-shirt calling for the building of bridges not war. He explains that this is a call for the rights of immigrants.

The Health Services Workers Union of Ghana, is supporting its members to have a decent life after they stop working. The union has set up a fund which workers contribute to during their working life and at retirement they are given a lump sum which is generally more than their cumulative contributions. Reynolds Ofosu Tenkorang is the Deputy General Secretary of the Union. He explains further in this report for Flamme d'Afrique.

Action Aid - Zambia has been involved in empowering women and other vulnerable local groups. They have also been involved at the national level, where their focus has been on urging the government to close tax loopholes that multi-national companies can exploit. Let's listen to Wilma Munyandi of Action aid in this interview.

Women are said to have played a big role in the Tunisian revolution. As part of the World Social Forum which begins in Tunis today, women from all over the world are joining their Tunisian counterparts in a peaceful march. Ahead of the solidarity march, Monia Rihane, a Tunisian Journalist, says though women have been relatively free in her country, she sees the march as a way of sustaining the rights already being enjoyed. It is also an expression of the desire for equality with their male counterparts.

Climate change is one of the issues that will receive attention at the world Social Forum in Tunisia. Dr Helmut Selinger has been giving an insight into some of the issues that will come up for discussion. He is particularly concerned with Global Climate Justice, especially with the allocation of quotas for the production of green house gases as well as the safe forms of energy production.

Grassroots club of Justice Alliance is a US based organisation at the World Social Forum currently taking place in Tunisia. The group is campaigning for the rights of women and other marginalised groups. In this interview Helena Wong, tells us the focus of her organisation at the World Social Forum.

The Tunisian Students union is joining groups at the World Social Forum to demand their right to better education and educational facilities as well as for the right of women to wear the Islamic 'nikab' or (niqab) to school. Gharbi Jihad, a member of the Tunisian Students Union becomes emotional as she talks of the right to education for women who wear the nikab, an outfit which covers all parts of the female body except the eyes. Gharbi does not wear the nikab herself but believes those who want to wear it should be free to do so. She also speaks of the treatment being meted out to protesting students by authorities at the Science faculty of the University El Manar, the venue for the World Social Forum.

A number of female students of the Science faulty of the University El- Manar, venue for the World Social Forum in Tunisia are holding a 'sit-in' on their campus to protest against regulations which ban them from wearing the 'nikab'. The nikab is an Islamic outfit worn by women and it covers every part of their body leaving only their eyes. According to one of the student protestors, Aya Bouchmila, the consider it a right to choose what to wear but the university authorities think otherwise.

The cost of equipment is one factor inhibiting the setting up of community based radio stations. One organisation, Babel Box, a US based organisation, is teaching people how to build their own radio stations. Tama Sharabi talks to Flamme d'Afrique on the work of Babel Box and debunks the assertion that the organisation is helping people to break the law by setting up 'pirate' radio stations.

For people who cannot afford the huge capital outlay needed to buy a transmitter and other equipment needed to operate a radio station, there is an alternative. For less than one thousand US dollars, one can build a radio station. This was one of the skills taught at a workshop during the World Free Media Forum in Tunisia. Mohsen Kamal of Radio Horytha in Egypt was a participant in the workshop. He talks of the possibility of building and operating such a radio station in Egypt.

Bahrain is planning to put its first community based radio station on air. But like the beginning of anything, it requires careful planning. Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, is at the fore front of this venture. He acknowledges that there may be risks and some impediments to the smooth operations of the station which will be air-borne in May, but says he is ready for the challenge.

Austin Airwaves, a US based community media advocacy group has been involved in strengthening the capacities of community based radio stations throughout the world. Jim Ellinger of Austin Airwaves says as a member of AMARC, the umbrella body for community radios worldwide, his organisation believes in empowering the stations. He talks of some of the benefits of community radio.

Internet radio is one method that many groups are using to beat laws in countries where access to radio frequency is restricted. Norman Stockwell of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and W O R T Radio in the US says traditional radio remains the best form of radio. The internet however provides an expanded reach for radio, but cannot take the place of traditional radio. According to him the ideal thing is for internet radio and traditional radio to operate side by side so that the advantages of both can be harnessed.

For people who would have wished to participate in the World Social Forum and the third World Free Medias Forum in Tunis but have been unable to do so, opportunities are being offered for them to follow events taking place (t)here. The world Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is working with community radio journalists in Tunisia to put together reports from the two fora. Norman Stockwell, a member of AMARC tells us about what exactly his organisation is doing in Tunis.

Reseau Tunis Profondeur, a Tunisian non governmental association, is spearheading the fight for a thirty percent representation of the people in the local government system in Tunisia. A member of the group, Sabrine Wafi, staged a novelle protest during the World Free Medias Forum in Tunis. She had many balloons of different colours with her organisation's name, RTP and 30% written on it. She explains that the representation of the local people in the local governance system will give the masses an opportunity to determine what they want from their leaders.

At the third World free media forum taking place in Tunis ahead of the World Social Forum, people from the more liberalised West are learning key lessons from their friends in countries were expression is limited. To Philip and Yannick both from Canada, some of the issues of free speech being discussed at the forum are instructive. In another vein they say they stand to gain a lot from some of the workshops taking place as part of the world free media forum. Some of these are lessons on using free web software and a hackers’ forum.

An Egyptian Journalist and Director of the first internet based radio in Egypt talks about the only means through which people can freely express themselves. He also elaborates on what civil society is doing to get the authorities to liberalise the airwaves.

The Director of Community Media Initiatives, at Care International, Steve Buckley, has been talking about how Tunisia has attained a level of freedom of expression since the revolution of 2011. He says this is seen in the increasing number of street protests throughout the country. He also advocates other means of achieving free expression.