Theme: Social peace and local development

Advocating for women’s inclusion in higher education in Jakharra

SPP members in a meeting with Jaber Mayloud, the dean of the Oil and Gas Department at the faculty

Jakharra is a small town in eastern Libya where social and gender norms are rather restrictive towards the role of women in the public sphere. Since its inception in 2017, the Jakharra Social Peace Partnership is committed to expanding women’s inclusion both within the partnership itself and in the wider community, despite the challenging environment in which it operates. Because of its commitment to women’s inclusion, PCi selected the partnership to pilot a Gender and Security workshop in February 2023.

The aim of the Gender and Security workshop is to bridge the gap between men and women’s understandings of security. The workshop has a particular focus on encouraging men to reflect on how they can contribute to enhancing women’s security. A recent assessment, conducted by PCi, provided useful insights on the ways in which women and men’s notions and experiences of ‘security’ differ. The assessment also highlighted that men are often unaware of the range of security challenges faced by women daily.

Gender and Security workshop: understanding challenges around security

The workshop in Jakharra brought together a range of members from the Social Peace Partnership. They included local CSOs, the Municipal Women’s Empowerment Office (WEO) and the local Higher Education College and Faculty of Energy’s student union. Both women and men attended the workshop. First working as separate groups, then together, they exchanged on perceptions, experiences, and the challenges they face around security.

A key finding was that women in Jakharra face significant obstacles in accessing higher education opportunities. Most women in Jakharra do not pursue further studies after their high school degree. The closest university college considered as ‘appropriate’ or ‘suitable’ for women to attend is in the town of Jalu, 40km away. The geographic distance prevents most women from attending because they are not willing, or not allowed, to commute alone due to security risks and prevailing social norms.

SPP members during Security workshop in February 2023
SPP members during Security workshop in February 2023

To date, young women have not been able to enrol in the only higher education institution based in Jakharra, the Faculty of Energy. This is due to a combination of factors, including security risks as well as perceptions and concerns from female students and their families about attending a male-dominated and mixed environment. Also, engineering has not traditionally been a field in which women are encouraged to study or pursue a career.

Finding solutions to encourage women’s inclusion in higher education

Following the workshop, the partnership collaborated with the Faculty of Energy and the Municipality to facilitate a series of meetings to identify steps to take to encourage female enrolment. The SPP also met with department heads at the faculty, most welcomed the idea of women’s inclusion, because having more teachers and supported plans to expand the university. The partnership then proposed an initiative to enrol female students and convinced the dean to move forward with the project. They also engaged with parents of female students in Jakharra to advocate for their daughters’ higher education and address their concerns.

“We learned from the training that finding like-minded allies in the institution is an important step, as well as building a consensus by developing a case for the project that shows how every stakeholder – and how society as a whole – benefits from furthering women’s education.”

– Salheen Awam, Head of the Jakharra Social Peace Partnership

On 13 August 2023, the Faculty of Energy published a joint statement by its president, Abdulmalek Hamed, and the Jakharra Social Peace Partnership Head, Salheen Awam, announcing that female students could start the enrolment process by March 2024. The faculty is currently building and equipping new study halls dedicated to female students.

The importance of integrating gender in community-level peacebuilding

While still in its initial phase, this project makes clear the importance of integrating gender into community-level peacebuilding and of doing so in ways that are sensitive and responsive to the local context. The Jakharra partnership has successfully advocated for social change and for greater women’s inclusion in higher education. Collaborating with both men and women has also proven effective at shifting attitudes and turning the role of men from gatekeepers to allies.

PCi will continue to monitor this project, particularly after the start of the enrolment period in March 2024. We will also capture any learning that can help Social Peace Partnerships across Libya put in place similar initiatives.

SPP members in a meeting with Jaber Mayloud, the dean of the Oil and Gas Department at the faculty
SPP members in a meeting with Jaber Mayloud, the dean of the Oil and Gas Department at the faculty

These activities are part of the project ‘Social Peace and Local Development’, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Integrating gender across all aspects of programming is a core focus of this project. In collaboration with Social Peace Partnerships, we implement a range of gender-focused initiatives. These include providing women with meaningful participation and leadership opportunities within SPP projects and collaborating with men as allies to create a safer environment for women’s inclusion and participation.

Impact report: Social Peace and Local Development programme

This publication showcases the impact and reach of our Social Peace and Local Development programme since 2022. The report highlights key results the programme has achieved, including the total number of project participants supported, our ongoing work on Women, Peace and Security, the impact of regional Social Peace Hubs, and the geographic reach of the project across Libya’s political divides.

The Social Peace and Local Development programme is rooted in community level peacebuilding. Social Peace Partnerships function as community-led local conflict management mechanisms. They bring together municipal authorities with community leaders, civil society representatives and business leaders to establish inclusive, participatory local decision-making processes. These support relationship-building between citizens and the local municipality, helping to build trust and legitimacy, while also strengthening social cohesion. Social Peace Partnerships have demonstrated an impact on conflict prevention and strengthening local governance.

PCi also convenes Social Peace Partnerships to operate as Regional Social Peace Hubs. This enables leaders from different towns in Libya to think and act beyond the narrative of “city states” isolated from a share of the Libyan national identity. Through the Hubs, leaders think regionally and nationally about how to solve problems faced by multiple communities and build much needed networks between towns. The Hubs have demonstrated capacity to solve shared problems through regional approaches that build relationships between towns and between the towns and national authorities.

Since the inception of the programme in 2013, PCi has introduced the Social Peace and Local Development methodology in 45 municipalities out of 143 across Libya. This means our programming has positively impacted on the lives of approximately 3.5 million people who live in these areas. Looking forward, the programme will support developments in the Libyan political dialogue process and advocate for Civil Society expansion through mobilising the existing peacebuilding infrastructure across the country.

Read the impact report now:

Impact report: Social Peace and Local Development (English)

How Social Peace Partnerships responded to the Storm Daniel emergency 

SPP members volunteering for the Red Crescent, unloading aid trucks sent from west Libya.

In the aftermath of Storm Daniel, Social Peace Partnerships across Libya quickly mobilised to respond to the unprecedented emergency in eastern Libya.

Above: SPP members volunteering for the Red Crescent, unloading aid trucks sent from west Libya.

As the world grapples with the impact of the climate breakdown, countries with weak infrastructure, failed governance and limited climate change preparedness such as Libya are particularly vulnerable to its consequences. On September 10 2023, Storm Daniel – a rare tropical Mediterranean storm – hit eastern Libya. Cities across the region witnessed torrential rain and high-speed winds. Due to poor drainage and water management systems, heavy flooding led to substantial damage of infrastructure, particularly the destruction of the poorly maintained dams and irrigation systems.

The city of Derna bore the brunt of the damage and experienced the most disastrous consequences when two dams collapsed, causing devastating flooding downstream and wiping out entire neighbourhoods. At the time of writing this article, about 5,000 people were confirmed to have died, while around 10,000 were still missing and about 30,000 were displaced.     

While the response from both governments was slow, Libyan citizens and civil society organisations across the country immediately mobilised to provide emergency support and aid to communities in the affected areas. The eastern Regional Hub and many Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) across the country responded promptly by collecting donations, sending aid, coordinating psychosocial support initiatives, resettling internally displaced persons (IDPs) within host communities, and reconnecting orphaned children with their extended families. This tragedy was deeply felt by Libyans as a moment of national unity and the spontaneous response from civil society and ordinary citizens provided a positive narrative of solidarity and reconciliation. 

Members of Nalut SPP loading trucks with aid to send to victims of the floods in Derna.
Above: Members of Nalut SPP loading trucks with aid to send to victims of the floods in Derna.

Social Peace Partnerships quickly responded to eastern Libya’s Storm Daniel emergency

The Derna SPP, located at the epicentre of the disaster, was one of the first SPPs to respond by contributing to efforts to recover bodies of victims, and facilitating access to areas that were inaccessible by clearing roads and access points. The SPP has also been working voluntarily with security forces and local organisations outside the city to coordinate access and facilitate the distribution of aid into Derna to those communities that are most vulnerable. This coordinated response highlights the value and utility of the SPPs, which work as crisis management and coordination mechanisms, providing support to vulnerable communities and mobilising responses in partnership with civil society organisations, relief agencies and government authorities.

The SPP in Sahel, another area impacted by the floods, also intervened in the aftermath of Storm Daniel. Abdulsalam Alsakta, a member of the Sahel SPP, recounted the challenge they faced: 

The municipality of Sahel stretches across 160km with 18 local communities located along the coast, which has made the response efforts particularly difficult. There have been 50 victims in our municipality and this number will rise. 260 families in Bayda have been displaced due to the damage to their homes from the floods, and another 42 homes in Hamama were completely destroyed. From day one, the SPP created an emergency room and have been working across Al-Sahel to address emerging health issues and provide support to the displaced, but the situation is dire and our resources are limited.

The SPPs in cities surrounding Derna also rushed to help, both through the delivery of aid and through the provision of logistical support to displaced families. The initiatives delivered by SPPs across the region, which saw them mobilise their own members and networks to provide relief support to those affected by storm Daniel, highlight the ability and confidence of the SPPs to work beyond their Municipality borders and cooperate regionally with other SPPs and partners.  

Strom Daniel response shows Social Peace Partnerships play a crucial role at community and regional levels

The countrywide response to the flooding due to Storm Daniel is a testament to the crucial role that Social Peace partnerships play, underlining the ability of the SPPs to overcome geographical and political divisions and resource constraints in order to help those most in need. The existing infrastructure of the SPPs, their substantial experience in crisis management, their networks and relationships with governmental and non-government institutions, and their ongoing efforts to create partnerships regionally and nationally have contributed to a lifesaving, coordinated response.

From the interventions implemented by the SPPs, it is important to highlight that the SPPs mobilised support independently of Peaceful Change initiative, which is a testament to their growing confidence and autonomy as critical peacebuilding, crisis management and governance support structures that can sustain and resource their work with limited international input, delivering initiatives that have made tangible contributions to relief efforts. 

SPP members volunteering for the Red Crescent, by the sea in Derna looking for bodies of civilians that were swiped by Storm Daniel.
Above: SPP members volunteering for the Red Crescent, by the sea in Derna looking for bodies of civilians that were swiped.

Integrating climate security analysis into Social Peace Partnership initiatives

In Libya, the impact of climate change is heightened by the absence of a unified government and by fragile state institutions, which translate into a lack of accountability to implement climate adaptation measures; climate pressures also act as an accelerator of conflict, fuelling community tensions and more competition over natural resources. For this reason, we are working to integrate climate security analysis into our programming, with a particular focus on how climate security interacts with gender, peace and conflict dynamics.

We are exploring how SPPs can better integrate climate security analysis into the design of their social peace initiatives across Libya. We believe SPPs can play an instrumental role in sensitising local communities on the risks and threats of climate change, and want to support them to advocate for improving climate change preparedness, including by championing a greater role for women, young people, and marginalised communities in decision making on resource management and climate adaptation.

Integrating Gender into community-level peacebuilding: Lessons from Libya

Since 2013, Peaceful Change initiative has been supporting community-level peacebuilding initiatives in more than 40 Libyan municipalities. This report captures our experience and lessons learned from nearly 10 years of integrating gender into our programme. Key lessons include: 

  • Using a gender lens to analyse conflict was key to increasing community understanding of why women’s agency in local peace and conflict should not be underestimated 
  • Understanding interests and needs of diverse groups of women helped to offer relevant incentives for them to engage in local peacebuilding activities 
  • Working with men on their attitudes and behaviours and identifying ‘male allies’ helped to create a safer space for women to participate 
  • Funding and opportunities for women to strengthen their leadership skills and implement their own initiatives represented an important tool to deepen women’s participation 
  • Safely raising the visibility of women peace leaders helped shift social perceptions towards women and their role in peace and decision making 

Download the full report

Find out more about the Social Peace and Local Development (SPLD) programme

integrating gender into our programmes

Building a more inclusive peace: women’s inclusion and leadership

participants during a dialogue session organised by the Tripoli Centre SPP
Above: participants during a dialogue session organised by the Tripoli Centre SPP

A key part of our work in Libya focuses on ensuring women’s inclusion and leadership in peacebuilding and decision-making. To achieve this goal, we address structural and practical barriers, as well as physical risks, that limit women’s meaningful participation in building and sustaining peace.

While women in Libya play a fundamental role in building and maintaining social peace and cohesion, this role is often performed in informal settings. For example, through lobbying male family members, accessing neighbourhoods that are considered off-limits for men, or using their community management role to help dialogue between families or different communities. For instance, the decision of a woman not to seek revenge for the killing of her husband by members of another community group prevented a violent escalation that would have likely led to more killings and further conflict. 

But despite the diverse perspectives and unique contributions they can bring, women continue to face systemic exclusion from taking part in and leading efforts to improve social cohesion, inclusion, and security in their communities. When women’s voices are missing from peace efforts, their specific needs are often neglected, and we miss out on the perspectives and networks that they can bring to peace efforts. We are working alongside Social Peace Partnerships across Libya to change this.

Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) bring together a diverse group of local people, with a shared vision of Libya becoming a safe and inclusive country. Members include representatives from the local authority, civil society leaders, elders, community leaders, business owners and anyone who is interested in peacebuilding. PCi builds the skills of the SPP members through various trainings so they can solve community issues and develop an ongoing response mechanism to community conflict. PCi also helps to build positive relationships between the community and the local authorities. 

Since 2013, Peaceful Change initiative has been supporting community-level peacebuilding initiatives, through our Social Peace and Local Development programme, in over 40 Libyan municipalities. A core element of this work has been supporting women’s inclusion in peacebuilding efforts, ensuring women’s perspectives and needs are better reflected in decision-making, and understanding how different gendered experiences of conflict impact peacebuilding.  

Working with Social Peace Partnerships to advance women’s inclusion and leadership in peace efforts 

Since the start of this programme, Social Peace Partnerships have made great strides in advancing women’s representation, participation, leadership and visibility in peace efforts. Women are now represented in all Social Peace Partnerships, where they make up 39% of members on average, and women now play an active role in the regular planning and implementation of activities. In some Social Peace Partnerships, women were also elected to leadership roles such as Chairperson positions. 

Social Peace Partnerships across Libya have created an environment which fosters women’s leadership skills, from peacebuilding to crisis management, local development, and governance. Women have successfully conceptualised, designed, and implemented initiatives funded by Peaceful Change initiative which address women’s perspectives and needs.  

Women’s leadership and contributions to projects implemented by Social Peace Partnerships have been crucial in gaining wider acceptance among male peers of the need for greater women’s participation. Within many Social Peace Partnerships, women’s leadership in the design and implementation of projects is now considered key to making initiatives more effective and sustainable. For example, some women-led initiatives have been endorsed by local authorities through long-term funding. The success of these initiatives has played a significant role in positively shifting views on women’s participation. 

Similarly, many male members recognise that projects implemented with active female members are often delivered more efficiently and on time. Some of these projects have become self-sustainable through income generation and have gone on to support other initiatives run by women for women.

Above: awareness-raising seminars around peaceful co-existence and citizenship rights in Tobruk

Shifting perceptions around women’s role in peacebuilding and decision-making 

To shift social views around the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making, Social Peace Partnerships work to amplify the voices and stories of women leaders in peace and social initiatives. This is key to ensuring that a diverse range of women can be models in their own communities and inspire younger and less active women to imagine a different role for themselves.  

For example, Khadija attended a peacebuilding training for women in Ubari which gave her the drive and confidence to set up the Noor Al-Alam Centre, which among other activities delivers psychological support to children affected by conflict. “Attending a workshop on peacebuilding and seeing all those women [from different communities] working together despite our differences motivated me to establish a centre that brings people from the different groups together for trainings and other social initiatives.”  

In areas where social norms are less accepting of women’s presence in the public sphere, Social Peace Partnerships have been able to build trust with key local actors and secure a higher acceptance of women’s role in peacebuilding and decision-making processes. This is reflected by an increased willingness by many male members to be women’s inclusion advocates and allies. In some cases, Social Peace Partnerships have concretely supported women leaders in their communities, for example through backing their candidacy in local elections. 

Through their continued efforts, Social Peace Partnerships are making an important contribution to shifting the role of women in peacebuilding and sustaining peace in Libya. To learn more about this work, you can read our report which captures our experience and lessons learned from 10 years of integrating gender into our peacebuilding programme in Libya.  

COVID-19 and Gender in Libya Assessment

Peaceful Change initiative has released the COVID-19 and Gender in Libya Assessment to support their gender-focused activities to be initiated within the Social Peace and Local Development Libya programme. The Assessment is focused on six communities, Ajdabiya, Bani Walid, Sabha, Tobruq, Ubari and Zliten and research was carried out in the following four areas:

  • Socio-economic impact
  • Gender roles and women’s leadership
  • Gender based violence
  • Conflict, peace and security

To view the Assessment and recommendations click here.

Increasing the visibility of Libyan women in politics

poster from the social media campaign organized by Bani Walid SPP to promote women's participation

We are working with Social Peace Partnerships across Libya to increase the meaningful participation of women in local politics.

Um Saad speaking to local media about her election campaign
Um Saad speaking to local media about her election campaign

Libya’s political process requires the participation of all its people, including women, youth and minorities. The active participation of women in politics has the potential to improve the daily lives of all Libyans and shape a future Libya for all its citizens. Yet, set back by years of civil war and political instability, Libya’s progress towards democracy and women’s participation in politics has been slow.

Since the Libyan revolution, women face significant barriers to participating in Libyan political life. In 2011, a law replaced the Gadhafi-era ‘Shaabiyat’ system, which were subject to the authority of appointment rather than election, with a new municipality structure. An elected council of nine representatives presides over each municipality, by law only one has to be a woman.

The current municipality quota system is a key challenge to women’s meaningful participation in Libya’s political process. This is particularly true in smaller towns where the seat reserved for women is often a tokenistic gesture to follow the law. In reality, the role of elected representative offers little opportunity for women to influence municipality activities and decision-making.

In spite of these challenges, Libyan woman are pushing back. They are demanding greater representation and opportunity to support their local communities through political inclusion and action. We are working with local Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) across the country to increase the visibility of women in local elections and politics.

Social Peace Partnerships bring together a diverse group of local people, with a shared vision of Libya becoming a safe and inclusive country. Members include representatives from the local authority, civil society leaders, elders, community leaders, business owners and anyone who is interested in peacebuilding. PCi builds the skills and capacity of the SPP members through various trainings so they can solve community issues and develop an ongoing response mechanism to community conflict. PCi also helps to build positive relationships between the community and the local authorities. 

Focus on three Social Peace Partnerships supporting women’s active participation in politics

In Nalut, a town in Western Libya, women’s political participation is historically centred around their work with civil society. Um Saad is a teacher and activist – she started a civil society organisation called ‘Twenza’ in 2017. The organisation supports women facing hardship and economic exclusion.

Taking part in an organisational development workshop delivered by the Nalut SPP, encouraged Um Saad to run for local elections. She describes her journey into local politics:

“The support and guidance I received from the SPP allowed me to propose the idea of a women’s sewing factory through Twenza, and we were able to secure 30,000 Libyan Dollars from ACTED to implement the project. This success motivated me to continue supporting women’s economic empowerment in my town, which is why in 2020 I decided to run for the woman’s seat in the Nalut municipal elections. I didn’t care whether I won or lost, what was important for me was to try. The experience motivated me to continue to help other women establish their role in our society, not just on a family level but also in a public-facing role.”

Halima Yousef is another municipal council candidate. She is from the town of Gharifa in the Ubari municipality, in southwestern Libya. She served as a social worker for women and youth affairs in the political directorate for over 20 years. Halima has been passionate about volunteering for humanitarian work since she was a child.

She joined the Ubari Social Peace Partnership in 2019 after taking part in peacebuilding training sessions. Later, she became the SPP Public Relations and Partnership Director. Halima shares her story of political engagement:

“At the SPP, I learned so much about benefitting our society and widening the focus of my work. I’ve seen how women in Libya generally and in the South specifically have emerged as leaders in response to the changes and problems we were seeing in the country. Women are continuing to excel in all fields and pushing back against a conservative society who see women’s role as limited. But I also still see the suffering that women go through to provide for themselves and their families, and for this reason I decided to nominate myself for the elections. I see that my role as a woman in politics is to support those who are most vulnerable. I aspire to work not just in my city but to reach national ministries and even to rise globally.”

In Ubari, Halima’s goal is to provide human development training in 300 schools in the region, to support women displaced by conflict. She also plans to contribute to the continuity of a radio station that she helped set up through the Social Peace Partnership.

A dialogue session organized by Bani Walid SPP on challenges and obstacles faced by women and youth i
A dialogue session organized by Bani Walid SPP on challenges and obstacles faced by women and youth

One of the most difficult contexts within which to work on women’s political participation is in the town of Bani Walid. It is a conservative city where women’s roles are often limited to their social responsibilities within their families. The Bani Walid Social Peace Partnership did not have any women members when it started.

We worked with the SPP members and the city’s local government to build women’s participation. Acting as allies, male members of the SPP also helped advocate for women taking on leadership roles in the community. Today, of the 34 members of the SPP, 12 are women – this is a considerable achievement for Bani Walid. The inclusion of women is contributing to challenging the norms around women’s roles.

Recently, the Bani Walid SPP has taken the challenge to increase community participation in local elections. A key message of their campaign was to highlight the challenges women and youth face in participating in the political process. A representative of the Bani Walid SPP discussed the results of the project:

“The project was a huge success, with many women taking part in the dialogue sessions, especially women with political ambition. They discussed the importance of women’s meaningful participation in local politics to combat the symbolic position that women are often placed in, without any real role. As a result, four women nominated themselves in the elections, and the SPP is planning to support them to prepare their campaign plans. We will continue to make women’s role in our society more influential in the political process through our projects to support women in journalism, livelihoods training, and political participation.”

The future for Libyan women in politics

These three stories from Nalut, Ubari and Bani Walid are a few examples of the work SPPs are doing to support women’s meaningful political participation. Halima highlights that if women are to be meaningfully represented there is still much work to do: “we are still marginalized as women, and my hope is that my community will take my work more seriously and support it. Women in the South are maturing and enforcing their presence”. Um Saad shares her perspective: “women’s political participation is a form of true active citizenship, and a key part of the political transition. In the future, I expect Libyan women to be present in all forms of public life”.

No Stability Without Peace: an initiative for peace in Libya

Serein Sharda, grant officer for Peaceful Change initiative in Libya, writes about her experience of working on the No Stability Without Peace initiative.

Serein is pictured on the left with members of the PCi team at the closing forum on 12th March 2023
Serein is pictured on the left with members of the PCi team at the closing forum on 12th March 2023

Peaceful Change Initiative (PCi) works to promote social cohesion and peace in Libya, since it began operating in the country in 2013. My name is Serein Sharda, and I have been working as a Grant officer with PCi since 2021. My work as a peacebuilder is different every day; some days I help people write, develop, and propose initiatives and some days my role requires brainstorming with grant recipients on how resolve conflict and improve the quality of life in their area. I am always providing people with skills, support, and advice. One of the recent grants I was responsible for is called No Stability Without Peace.

How It Started  

In September 2022, nine of the forty-two Social Peace Partnerships (SPP) which run across Libya met together for the first time. These SPPs were chosen because they now run independently and are sustainable in delivering peace in their area after years of training and development with PCi’s support. This gave them an opportunity to connect, network, and learn from each other’s experiences. Working together also gives the SPPs the ability to have influence on a national level.

At the meeting, four SPPs in the western region: Sooq Al-Jomma, Tripoli center, Sabratha and Bani Walid, agreed to hold dialog sessions in each municipality about national reconciliation and what is needed to achieve peace and social cohesion in Libya. They also wanted to involve their communities involved in achieving stability and peace.

Social Peace Partnerships bring together a diverse group of local people, with a shared vision of Libya becoming a safe and inclusive country. Members include representatives from the local authority, civil society leaders, elders, community leaders, business owners and anyone who is interested in peacebuilding. PCi builds the skills and capacity of the SPP members through various trainings so they can solve community issues and develop an ongoing response mechanism to community conflict. PCi also helps to build positive relationships between the community and the local authorities. 

Preparation leading to the forum  

The initiative, funded by PCi, was called No Stability Without Peace to emphasize that peace is the perquisite to all that we wish for in Libya.

The SPPs then implemented dialogue sessions with 20-40 participants in the four municipalities. They discussed what is needed to achieve stability: the role of citizens, and the role of municipalities. The sessions were attended by municipal representatives, influential leaders, and government officials. There was a focus on the importance of spreading peace and tolerance, and opportunities for national reconciliation. I was personally surprised to hear discussions on the current situation and how we each have a role to play in achieving peace.

Next, SPP members from the four municipalities gathered in Tripoli and presented a summary with ten recommendations. The recommendations included: supporting efforts toward national reconciliation, providing opportunities for women and youth to engage in politics and assume leadership positions, support for civil society organisations, and supporting young business owners.

To spread awareness of the importance of national reconciliation and social cohesion, we initiated an online campaign through Facebook sharing updates on the No Stability Without Peace initiative. I was astonished at the feedback we received. Many people wanted to volunteer and be part of the peacebuilding campaign.

Closing forum

On 12th of March 2023, the initiative’s closing forum was in Tripoli. We were pleased to see many persons of influence join the forum. Participants included Ibrahim Al-Madni, national reconciliation Advisor in the Presidential Council. Osama Al-Ahmar, Head of the peacebuilding and reconciliation pillar in the Presidential Council. Saliba Charles the Maltese ambassador. Patrick Merienne Head of Peace and Security at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and number of mayors, municipal; members and activists from the four municipalities.

There was an official speech from the presidential council thanking the team for their efforts and looking forward to working together on the recommendations. There were also artistic presentations on peace and reconciliation by people from all over Libya and a short video showing the alternative of peace, which is war. I could tell from the facial expressions of the participants, that regardless of what might divide them, they all agree they do not want to return to war.

Speach from Presidential Council member

The presentation of the ten recommendations on promoting peace and social cohesion was followed by a dialog session with the Presidential Council members and others to discuss mechanisms to implement them. I was pleased that both Al Jazeera Mubasher and Libya Al Ahrar TV covered the forum.

Although the results of the initiative were encouraging, efforts from other Libyan stake holders are needed to continue building stability and peace. I am honoured and pleased to be a part of this work

Supporting community peace resources in Syria

PCi is providing support to community peace resources – those individuals and organisations involved in local initiatives to prevent, manage and resolve conflict. The first task of this work was to map such peace resources; this was done in March 2014. PCi captured learning from this research and outlined an agenda for supporting the development and strengthening of community-level resources for peace in Syria.

Download the report in English

Download the report in Arabic

Libya: Social Peace and Local Development handbook

A cross-government working group on Social Peace and Local Development, hosted by the Ministry of Local Government, has been working since May 2013 to identify how local government and community leaders can promote social peace, in terms of both ‘how’ they work together, and ‘what’ services and development projects they should support. The result is a handbook intended as a guide for local government bodies and community leaders on working in partnership to promote social peace and development in Libya. It does this by outlining a six-step process, with practical tools for each step.

Download the handbook in English

Download the handbook in Arabic