Despite the huge challenges Libya is facing, including the ongoing fighting around Tripoli, DRI’s Libyan partners have shown high levels of determination and resilience in implementing projects in their communities throughout the country. As part of a subgrant programme supervised by DRI, fifteen Libyan Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are currently implementing projects that aim to improve citizens’ participation in the transitional process, democratic practices and local governance in various cities across the country. The process was kickstarted last week, with five of DRI’s Libyan partners holding their first workshops.
The CSO named Why Me for Women’s Rights organised a workshop titled “Your voice makes a difference” to support female candidates in local elections, which was attended by 26 participants. The topics discussed ranged from the role of municipalities, the electoral system, women’s quota in municipal elections and the role of media in supporting women in the local community. Zahiya Ali, Chairwoman of Why Me, highlighted that their engagement will cover the whole electoral period and also targets men, as “their support is essential to ensure the inclusion of women and their adequate representation”.
Enma Org, a Libyan CSO focusing on supporting youth and women, held a workshop on the importance of decentralisation and implementing the Local Governance Law which was passed in 2012 to grant municipalities more say in how their local affairs are managed. Dr. Mohamed Al-Harary, Libya’s former Minister of Local Government who played a leading role in drafting the Local Governance Law, was one of the main trainers of the workshop, which was attended by 35 participants. Recommendations developed during the event stress the importance of conducting public discussions on the transfer of powers to local authorities.
The Tripoli-based organisation Leaders for Community Development conducted a training in the district of Abu-Selim, which has a large working-class population, focusing on ways to increase the participation of youth and women in decision-making positions at the local level. The 40 participants developed several recommendations during the training, including the need to strengthen the role of civil society organisations in Libya.
With view to upcoming municipal elections in the city of Jadu, Nana Marne Charity and the Fasatou Development Organisation organised a workshop on local elections. Sixteen representatives from various youth organisations, activists and community leaders actively participated in the discussions and stressed the importance of an awareness-raising campaign to inform citizens of the importance of elections and how to register for voting. Social media was highlighted as a potential campaign platform.
Further activities planned by DRI’s local partners within the subgrant framework seek to advocate for the rights of indigenous ethnic groups in Libya and to encourage their active participation in political life. A CSO based in the remote town of Wazen will be lobbying for the establishment of a Decision Support Office in two municipalities. If successful, the process will lead to the two municipalities having specialised offices with experts to support councilors in taking informed decisions, leading to better service delivery to the local community.
The project activities implemented by partners will continue until the end of September 2019. Hands-on training on project planning and project management organised by DRI will also be among the benefits of the project.
The determination of Libyan activists is vital in increasing Libya’s chances of becoming a stable, inclusive and prosperous state. DRI has worked in Libya since 2012 and has supported the Constitution Drafting Assembly in drafting a new constitution for Libya and continues to support Libyans in their pursuit of democracy.
The subgrant programme is part of DRI’s project “Strengthening Libyan Civil Society Engagement on the Constitution and Political Transition”, funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.