Libya Article

Working to build the independence of Libyan civil society

Libya’s post-2011 context and challenges have energized civil society, giving birth to wide range of new organizations and refocusing the efforts of those already active.

To help coordinate the efforts of these organizations, ACTED conducted nationwide discussion sessions in the last months of 2018, with the purpose of gaining a general understanding of the civil society landscape across Libya. Through mapping the locations, areas of work, strengths and weaknesses of existing CSOs, ACTED can better formulate its capacity building response in future.

Building from the ground up

ACTED conducted 20 discussion sessions across western, eastern and southern Libya, covering:Tripoli, Zawiya, Zintan. Jadu, Ghadames, Ghat, Khoms, Tarhuna, Sirte, Shwerif, Jufra, Sebha, Ubari, Benghazi and surrounding area, Ajdabiya, Awjila (Oasis), Tarzirbu, Jalo, Tobruk and Al Bayda (Jabal al Akhdar).

The sessions were highly revealing as to the challenges which Libyan CSOs are facing, most notably that: 1) access to external funds remains a key barrier to smaller CSOs, and, 2) the coordination and communication between local authorities and CSOs require external support. A full report on the findings of these sessions can be downloaded here.

Participating CSOs suggested that they could lead their fundraising efforts independently if they had access to a web platform that featured information on funding opportunities and a database with potential donors.

Based upon the outcomes of this mapping exercise, ACTED, with the support of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE), worked to empower civil society actors to participate in the local economic and social development of across five municipalities. In brief, ACTED realized this goal through providing capacity building trainings and grants to 15 organisations in order to enhance the impact of their work, allowing them to better address the needs of vulnerable people in the local community. ACTED particularly target CSOs who worked to promote employment opportunities and work-skills development given the negative impacts of the conflict on livelihoods.

Laying the foundations for future targeted actions

These nationwide CSO discussion sessions provided a solid foundation for international organizations like ACTED to shape concrete follow-up actions. ACTED, along with a host of other international NGOs active in Libya, already have considerable experience in providing capacity building programs and grants in order to strengthen the organizational structure, professionalism and technical skills of CSOs, including in the crucial fields of: project cycle management, financial management, fundraising and communications.

It is through ACTED’s trainings and grants to CSO’s in smaller municipalities, that countless organisations have already gained financial independence.

Part of the role of consultations (such as this one in Jufra) was to allow the aid community to get a better idea of the scope, coverage and capacity of existing CSOs across Libya