How 18-year-old Rima is using her business and digital media skills to help Tunisian youth to shun ‘time-wasting’ online content

Tunisian youth uses digital literacy skills to combat the spread of misinformation on social media platforms.

Digital Innovations for Peace (DIP) is our media innovation and entrepreneurship project in MENA. It brings together entrepreneurs, media professionals and ICT experts to tackle fake news and boost digital literacy across the MENA region.

Barely five months into 2023, we have already seen some notable success stories that have arisen out of the initiative. We’ve seen the launch of:

  • A new podcast aimed at helping children to spot fake news.
  • An online fact-checking platform aimed at combatting hate speech.
  • A chatbot that follows the procedures of The International Fact-Checking Network (ICFN) in partnership with WhatsApp to verify news in Lebanon.
  • And more.

One of our latest successes is a Tunisian start-up called ‘Logos’. It’s a new content creation business that aims to lure young people away from time-wasting content that draws in so many when online.

Bold visions and business plans

‘Logos’ was named one of the winners of a recent DIP hackathon, impressing the judges because of its bold vision, a brilliantly put-together business plan – and the fact that it is headed up by a rising star who is just 18 years old.

Her name is Rima Abbes, and this young Tunisian already has a resumé that most adults would be proud of. A math student at the Pioneer High School of Sidibozid, Rima is also a UI/UX designer at the Tunisian Space Association, TUNSA, where, she says, “I help to create captivating digital experiences that connect people with the wonders of space.”

Alongside this, she serves as the Secretary-General of Treasury and Financial Affairs at TIMUN, a platform that simulates the UN to enable young people to learn diplomatic skills. She is also President of the Tunisian Programming Lovers Club – said to be the largest community of programmers in Tunisia.

This isn’t even her first start-up: Rima has worked with several local business founders, including the people behind ed tech company International Highway. “I have a reputation as a problem-solver,” she says.

Solutions to a lingering problem

‘Logos’ offers an innovative solution to a lingering problem. According to the fledgling company’s research, there are more than eight million social media users in Tunisia, with just over half of them aged between 13 and 34.

“This age group is most susceptible to falling prey to frivolous content, leading to a lack of productivity and interest in important issues,” says Rima. “Our solution directly addresses this problem by creating content designed to sensitize people, teach them digital literacy skills and combat the spread of misinformation on social media platforms.”

What gives the young company a fighting chance of success is the fact that it is tailoring content exclusively for the Tunisian market. By launching with such a clear and narrow focus, Rima and her colleagues are hoping to attract ethically-minded advertisers, as well as brands looking for sponsored content.

An additional bonus is that Rima and her co-founders are the same demographic as the people they are writing for – meaning, as Rima says: “We communicate with them in their very language, making it easy for them to understand complex concepts related to digital literacy.”

An ambitious but achievable plan?

Alongside content creation such as social media posts, podcasts and blogs, ‘Logos’ has plans to use workshops and other real-life events to engage with their audience and make their content more accessible.

Local experts and educators are also being consulted to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the Logos content, while clubs, associations and ambassadors are being lined up to help the company reach its target market.

While the business plans of start-ups can be famously optimistic, Logos’ young entrepreneurs make a compelling case for $75,000 of revenues in their first year, a number which they aim to grow to $1.5m within five years.

“By utilising the various strategies we have developed, we believe we can effectively reach and engage our target audience and expand our customer base in a sustainable manner,” says Rima.

DIP is an EU-funded initiative that is being implemented by Leaders International, DW Akademie and Elbiro Media Foundation. Its long-term goal is to promote social cohesion and media safety in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as support the values of free, unbiased media in the region.