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news | August 19, 2016 | Libya | Emergency

"We couldn't do a lot. But we realized that we could help others" - Testimonies from ACTED workers in Libya

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on August 19 every year, ACTED shares with you testimonies of field staff from around the world to honor the work of all the women and men who mobilize to support the most vulnerable populations in crisis-affected areas. Read the testimonies of Mohamed and Ahmed, who work at ACTED Libya.

Project officer Mohamed tells about his humanitarian engagement in Libya:

"In the beginning of the Libyan revolution in 2011, it was very difficult to live in my little town, Sabha. We were under pressure and under the total control of armed groups. We couldn’t resist or react to this, therefore we just gave up. We feared death. We were young and we did not have any way to get out of this hell. We couldn’t do a lot. But we realized that we could help others.

We had no power for more than eight months. There was a desperate need for health services, no food, no drinkable water, and the blockade hampered any assistance from getting into the city. Amidst this dark reality, we formed volunteer groups to collect food, aid, and simple medicines from people who were able to help. We redistributed the food and medicines to the most vulnerable people of Sebha. The assistance to meet all the needs was desperately lacking, but we continued, and after some time we realized that we could make the life of those people easier, we saw happiness in their eyes when we offered them help. This is the catalyst that made us provide the maximum of our power to humanity.

I think the best thing in ACTED is its openness to the communities. I feel safe as an employee, and this makes the local communities trust in me. One of the most gratifying moments during my work with ACTED was when I helped civil society organizations to develop and write successful projects serving the local community.

There are a lot of vulnerable groups which we want to support, and one of the biggest challenges we face is the instability of aid and support, as well as many administrative procedures that hinder the implementation of activities on the field."

Ahmed is project officer for Civil Initiatives Libya, ACTED's partner on the field. He takes care of subgrants and helps civil society organizations supported by ACTED to implement the projects. He shares his story as a humanitarian in Libya:

"I as most of Libyans had never heard about NGOs. My dream was always to work as a humanitarian on the field to support people in need who suffer from disasters or crisis worldwide. Back in 2011, during the revolution, I left my hometown, Toruk, to go to Tripoli to work in its biggest hospital as a volunteer, since most of the people affected by the conflict there could not find a doctor who would treat them. There were no nurses, no first aid. Just death everywhere. In and out the hospital. This I why I went to Tripoli: to help by doing what I can do. I stayed in this hospital for 8 months, I lived there. During those months, I broadened my knowledge in a lot of fields, like the work with charities. I really loved to work with organizations as a volunteer. One day, I met the head of the New Libya Foundation. This is where I learnt about charity work, how to set up an organization and how to work with international organizations. I felt that I was in the right place. I decided to create an organization called Medical Aid Organization, and started to implement activities in Southern Libya.

I started my first paid job in and NGO at the beginning of 2013. I liked it, because I enjoyed setting towards reconstruction and capacity building, supporting populations affected by the conflict by providing relief assistance, and broadening my knowledge and experience of NGOs. I worked for several NGOs and international organizations until I got my current job with ACTED. I really love my current position and I would like to stay with ACTED. I have a number of reasons which make me love my job with ACTED – I like ACTED because it is the only organization in Libya which respects the local staff and encourages its employees. I like ACTED because there is no difference between Libyan employees and foreign employees. Our country director for example is Libyan. Also, I like ACTED because it is the only organization implementing useful projects in a successful manner."