News Type: Programme updates

Libya: Suq Aljuma Social Peace Partnership supports accessible and inclusive education for children with disabilities

As conflict and displacement continue to affect communities in Libya, further exacerbated by the spread of COVID-19, the most vulnerable groups increasingly struggle to access critical services.

Children with disabilities in Libya are often excluded from education, primarily because of the lack of support and resources available from state institutions, further reinforced by widespread social stigma around disabilities. Caring for children with disabilities at home becomes a heavy burden on families and especially women, who are usually responsible for household and care work.

The Suq Aljuma Social Peace Partnership supported the establishment of the Rashad Centre for Children with Special Needs and worked to collaborate with the Suq Aljuma Municipality, the Educational Control Office and Children’s Rights/Education activists to establish the first public education centre dedicated to children with disabilities.

A Suq Aljuma Social Peace Partnership member explained: “This project was based on an assessment of local needs in the municipality. The Local Education Office found that there were a high percentage of children with disabilities living in the area and they wanted to support these children as well.”

The community and local institutions came together and this cooperation led to the Educational Control Office providing some building space and staff. The Suq Aljuma Social Peace Partnership and the Suq Aljuma Municipality provided grants which led to the renovation of four classrooms and a Montessori learning room, equipped with furniture and other items. A curriculum was designed that included speech and occupational therapy. One of the Social Peace Partnership member’s said: “The parents are very happy. Many of them could not afford the cost of private schools and they are incredibly supportive of the Rashad Centre and the work that is being done here.”

The Head of the Rashad Centre highlighted that the children’s response to the training programme was very positive. The parents had also noticed the learning experience was benefitting their children and there was an improvement in their behaviour.

The Rashad Centre closed temporarily due to COVID-19, like other schools in Libya. However, the management is using this time productively and providing teachers with extra training so they are well prepared for when it reopens.  The Head of the Rashad Centre, explained:  “We cannot take any chances even if other schools reopen, as many of our students are immunocompromised. We have been trying to provide support and encouragement remotely, but some of the activities require the presence of our specialist teachers. Meanwhile, we are working with an expert in autism to help us design educational entertainment exercises that the parents can perform with the children at home. The school has become a lifeline for many families and its closure has really impacted them. We hope that we will be able to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Members of a Social Peace Partnership include senior representatives from the local authority and leaders from civil society, community/elders, business, individuals/groups responsible for providing security, local radio, social media influencers and local residents. One of the functions of a Social Peace Partnership is to engage with different community groups, helping to bolster relationships and strengthen the social fabric of the community. 

For more on Social Peace Partnerships in Libya click here

Libya: Nalut Social Peace Partnership supports migrant workers seeking to return home following COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has impacted the Libyan economy, exacerbating the negative effects of years of conflict and instability; it has also impacted vulnerable groups such as migrant workers, at risk of poverty and less resilient to economic shocks.

The first lockdown led to a number of non-essential businesses temporarily closing in March 2020, leaving migrant workers without a job and wanting to return home.  

A subsequent international travel ban affected the border town of Wazen, situated between Tunisia and Libya, where 70 Algerian and 150 Tunisian migrant workers became stuck. They were mostly daily wage workers and quickly ran out of money.

The migrant workers were living in abandoned buildings and sleeping outside. There was a lack of hygienic facilities and social distancing was challenging, increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. Wazen had limited medical facilities which led security officers at the border and local community networks to highlight their concerns.

Nalut Social Peace Partnership was already implementing a COVID-19 public awareness campaign, focused on encouraging people to stay at home to protect their health. When they heard about the migrant workers at the border, they wanted to work with the community to resolve the situation. They collaborated with the Head of the Displaced Persons Office in Nalut, the Red Crescent and the local branch of the Boy Scouts to source donations. The Nalut Municipality and the Libyan COVID-19 Response Committee also provided funding.

A volunteer explained: “The situation was very bad. We felt it was our responsibility to help because the migrant workers do not have any other form of social support, and with the ongoing pandemic we were worried that the virus would spread among them. We were able to provide humanitarian assistance until they could cross the border into Tunisia and continue their journey home.”

The Nalut Social Peace Partnership provided the migrant workers with masks, hand sanitiser, gloves, food and materials to build shelters. They also worked alongside the local health authority, who sent medical staff to disinfect the shelters and the crossing point facilities. They also provided training to migrant workers and security officers on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

One member of the Nalut Social Peace Partnership said: “Supporting the migrant workers felt like a logical step in our campaign, to protect everyone from COVID-19 by helping the most vulnerable. It was a significant project because of the coordination with both the local authorities and civil society. We also worked with the media office of the border crossing to ensure that information and updates were clearly shared.”

Members of a Social Peace Partnership include senior representatives from the local authority and leaders from civil society, community/elders, business, individuals/groups responsible for providing security, local radio, social media influencers and local residents. One of the functions of a Social Peace Partnership is to engage with different community groups, helping to bolster relationships and strengthen the social fabric of the community. 

For more on Social Peace Partnerships in Libya click here

PCi’s partner People in Need (PiN) announces a small grants scheme for communities in Serbia and Kosovo

PCI’s partner in the project Amplifying local voices for equitable development has announced a small grants scheme to support local-level, community-based initiatives that help deal with the impact of Covid-19 on local communities, whilst cutting across ethnic divisions.

Full details of the grants scheme can be found at the following links:

People in Need Kosovo website
People in Need Serbia website
People in Need Kosovo Facebook page
People in Need Serbia Facebook page

The final deadline for applications is 31 January 2021.

Georgia: Young Armenian and Georgian leaders benefit from conflict transformation and peacebuilding training

From 11-15 July 2018 in the Georgian city of Kobuleti, PCi’s Programme Adviser Artak Ayunts conducted a training for young leaders from across the South Caucasus titled ‘Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding’. The training was part of a larger project, ‘Youth for Peace in the South Caucasus’, which aims to build trust among young activists from different parts of the region, who will work at peace camps in Armenia and Georgia for teenagers with mixed nationalities. The training was organised with the support of the international non-governmental organisation HEKS-EPER and several NGOs from across the South Caucasus region: Syunik Development NGO; Regional Network of Peace and Reintegration; Lazarus Charity Foundation of the Patriarchate of Georgia; and The Union of Azerbaijani Women of Georgia.

Ukraine: PCi invited to speak at Kyiv roundtable event

PCi participated at a Kyiv roundtable event co-organised with the parliamentary Human Rights committee and hosted at the Ombudsman’s office on 23 October 2018. The roundtable focused on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and sought to promote ways to engage across divided communities and promote dialogue in the interests of achieving practical changes for vulnerable people in conflict-affected areas. As part of the Panel input, participants also shared experience from PCi practice on institutionalising dialogue at a local level in Ukraine. The panel speakers (in the PCi session) included Jonathan Cohen, Executive Director of Conciliation Resources; Natalia Mirimanova, a conflict resolution practitioner; and two Senior Advisers at Peaceful Change initiative, Craig Oliphant and Anthony Foreman.

Lebanon: PCi supports the Syria Peace Process Support Initiative (SPPSI) in Beirut

PCi’s Senior Peacebuilding Adviser Raj Bhari, with a colleague from International Alert, facilitated a working group on peacebuilding at the Syria Peace Process Support Partner Event on 20 June 2019 in Beirut, Lebanon. The European Union and Germany set up the Syria Peace Process Support Initiative to contribute to peacebuilding in Syria, based on the implementation of UNSCR 2254. The workshop session facilitated forward-thinking discussions on what the track-three peacebuilding agenda in Syria needs to encompass and the possibilities and entry points for track-three peacebuilding in the current Syrian context.

Lebanon: Global Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub annual meeting in Beirut

Tim Molesworth, PCi’s Senior Adviser, Conflict Sensitivity and Peace Technology, participated in the annual meeting of the global Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub in Beirut, Lebanon, from 17-19 July 2019. The Hub brings together international and local organisations to promote and develop the concept and practice of conflict sensitivity.

The 2019 Hub meeting provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience and tools relating to conflict sensitivity between participating organisations. Tim presented PCi’s experience facilitating the Libya Conflict Sensitive Assistance Forum since 2013, sharing some of the lessons learned and discussing how the experience could be relevant in other contexts. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the Hub to connect with the recently established Local Conflict Sensitivity Forum in Beirut facilitated by House of Peace, and to share perspectives.

PCi takes over coordination of Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub

Peaceful Change initiative is the newly appointed Secretariat of the Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub (CSC-Hub). The CSC-Hub is a global network of organisations and individuals working on conflict-sensitive approaches in their fields to promote conflict sensitivity at the policy, organisational and programmatic level.

As the Hub coordinator for the 2019/20 period, PCi facilitates the collaboration, knowledge exchange and implementation of activities among member organisations.

The Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub is now on Twitter – for the latest news on Conflict Sensitivity related content, follow @CSC_Hub.

Armenia: PCi supports youth training in conflict transformation and peacebuilding

Within the Alternotion project – which aims to create an online platform of cross-border storytelling on the cultural similarities of Armenians and Azerbaijanis – PCi’s Programme Adviser Artak Ayunts conducted training for young bloggers and vloggers from Armenia on conflict transformation and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (3 February 2019). The training was part of an EU-funded PeaCE project (Peacebuilding through Capacity Enhancement and Civic Engagement), implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation, aiming to encourage young Armenians and Azerbaijanis from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh to develop a shared vision for peace in the region through learning conflict transformation and peacebuilding methodologies.

Libya: ‘Peacemakers Network – Libya’ hosts ‘Peacemakers Awards’ in Benghazi

PCi’s partner, the Libyan Peacebuilders Network, organised and hosted the ‘Peacemakers Awards’ in Benghazi on 8 February 2019. The event was planned to bring attention to the work being done by Libyans throughout the country to manage conflict in their communities and promote peace for Libya. The event recognised the work of a number of groups and individuals including the elders from the Tebu and Zawiya tribes in Kufra, elders of the western Mountain tribes, the Social Council of the Werfalla tribe and the elders of Cyrenaica. A special award was presented to Aisha Aizadma from Harawa for her role in addressing the conflict between the Al-Gedaddfa and Awlad Sulaiman tribes in Sebha.