Civil Initiatives Libya (CIL) is a project funded by the European Union and implemented by ACTED since 2012. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of emerging civil society organisations (CSOs) and local actors, in the fields of post-conflict rehabilitation, local development planning and community stabilization. We work in over 15 municipalities in the East, West and South of Libya.
In 2012 four Resource Centres were opened across the country in Tripoli-Zawia, Benghazi, Misrata and Sabha to provide Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with facilities and technical assistance. CIL also initiated cooperation with Local Authorities in order to contribute to the establishment of an effective governance. Another key development of CIL is the emergence of a number of CSOs which better understand the system of international cooperation and are now more able to access the available funds. In addition, a few CSOs are now strong enough to lobby the government and get funding from the national budget. Compared to other projects, CIL has established a strong presence in the territories, and in its ability to communicate on a daily basis with local stakeholders. Therefore the orientation towards local economic development is a natural consequence of CIL’s geographic coverage throughout the country.
Approximately 200 CSOs operate in the regions where the Resource Centers (RC) are implanted (Benghazi, Tripoli-Zawia, Misrata and Sabha). CSO’s have been able to use the basic services provided by the centers (IT material and access to internet, office space and training rooms to conduct their own activities, and outreach capacity). Some of these organisations have been directly involved in the management of the RC activities. In addition, funds and training have been available to CSOs through the small grants scheme; these organisations gained experience in project management, learned reporting procedures and gained the necessary skills to apply to international funding, even beyond the lifetime of this project.
Our training centres fostered social diversity through the thematic areas of:
Youth participation: As almost half of the Libyan population is under 25, youth-related issues were addressed under an independent project led by ACTED; this action promoted the participation of youth in the decision-making process, by assisting youth-led organisations, and also through partnerships with institutions concerned with this issue (Universities and student unions). Youth participation was also addressed by developing specific activities and networking in the fields of sports and gender for example for youth members of CSOs.
Environmental issues: Many CSOs are concerned with the protection of the environment, gathering data and information on the current situation, organising actions with their own network of volunteers, and making recommendations to help institutions address public issues. There is strong activity in this field, and in addition to organisational and operational support, specific technical assistance - involving trainings but also foreign exchanges – have been greatly beneficial for these organisations, and provided a second axis of technical cooperation between institutions and the civil society.
Gender equality: remains a cross-cutting issue for CIL and has been addressed through the numerous women’s organisations using CIL facilities and cooperating with CIL. The role of women in Local governance and local socio-economic development has been systematically mentioned in all communication and activities of the project. Specific training and networking activities have been organised for women organisations. In fact CIL took part in administering an art exhibition called "Stop Violence Against Women" to raise awareness on issues surrounding gender-based violence.
CIL centers host Workshops for International partners
Our resource centers proved strategic as they gathered many factions of the community under one roof. Our aim to create a close-knit network among CSO's and international organisation succeeded as CIL's resource centers hosted more than one event, workshop and training. The space cultivated a culture of knowledge-sharing activities and also CSO's working under the CIL network encouraged women and youth empowerment, and worked with international actors. One of our workshops included the British Council Springboard initiative, which aimed to develop capacities of women of all backgrounds and encourage them to define their ideas and maintain a positive vision within their personal and professional lives as individuals or as an organisation. Our resource center in Benghazi hosted the 'Self-Development for Women' workshop where women were awarded certificates after the successful completion of the course.