In this webinar, PCi’s Senior Advisers Lesley McCulloch and Anthony Foreman shared the key findings of a new PCi report on the challenges and opportunities of, and lessons learned from, mainstreaming conflict sensitivity in remote programming contexts. They discussed the evolution of the remote programming model employed in Syria and Libya, where PCi works to support and build the capacity of local leaders to manage conflict.
PCi and Chatham House co-hosted the webinar: ‘Societal Impact of the Conflict Economy in Libya’ on 29 March 2022.
The webinar launched PCi’s new report, ‘Unpacking the Impact of Conflict Economy Dynamics on Six Libyan Municipalities’ that fills an important gap in our understanding of conflict dynamics in Libya, arguing that political elites and armed groups cannot be assessed in a vacuum, without exploration of the socio-economic context of the communities that they claim to represent. The research takes a localised approach, exploring factors that influence local conflict economy dynamics, which vary from area to area. It is also a human centred approach, viewing Libyans as participants in the local conflict economy – both willing and unwilling – rather than only as passive victims of the conflict-affected environment in which they live.
The report concludes that reducing the societal impact of Libya’s conflict economy cannot rely solely on high level elite bargains – and a top-down approach to security sector reform. National level conflict dynamics and local instability are linked and this must be tackled via a twin track approach whereby local interventions are supported by the implementation of national-level reforms that address structural issues. In addition, in support of local social cohesion, the paper recommends the establishment of economic-social peace partnerships that promote pro-peace business activities across conflict divides. It also recommends conflict sensitive livelihood and peacebuilding interventions that minimise the risk of assistance worsening conflict dynamics, and that maximise opportunities to contribute to sustainable peace.
- Emad Badi, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Advisor at DCAF and Senior Analyst at Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime
- Virginie Collombier, Part-time Professor, Scientific Coordinator chez Middle East Directions Programme, European University Institute
- Tim Eaton, Senior Research Fellow in the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and XCEPT Research Lead for the Libya, East and West Africa Case Study
- Fleur Auzimour Just, Chief Executive Officer of the Peaceful Change initiative
To view the webinar, click here
PCi supports women’s inclusion and empowerment in Libya through, leadership, participation, representation and visibility. We have captured the lessons we have learned from nearly 10 years of this work in our new report: “Integrating Gender into the Social Peace and Local Development Programme in Libya.” Key insights include:
- Safely raising the visibility of women in peace leadership supports a shift in social perceptions towards women and their role
- Inclusivity audits increase understanding of the quality of women’s participation, whilst working on male attitudes and behaviours has helped us to create a safer space for women to participate effectively
- Pragmatic, culturally-relevant and context-specific arguments are essential in persuading men of the need for women’s involvement in community initiatives
In 2015, PCi supported the establishment of a conflict-sensitive mechanism known as the Social Peace Partnership in Ubari, following successful delivery of a Social Peace and Local Development programme in 2014. The Ubari Social Peace Partnership has played a role in reducing tensions and preventing the outbreak of violent conflict.
After years of protracted war across the country, Libya’s economic recovery requires significant support and intervention at the national, regional, and local level.
Supporting Community Resilience Through Livelihood Opportunities for Libya’s Women and Youth outlines the impact of the Peaceful Change initiative Livelihood Project, launched in November 2021, targeting six cities in the East, West and South of the country: Tobruq, Ajdabiya, Bani Walid, Obari, Zliten and Sebha, with a focus on:
- Livelihood training courses to support vocational and professional skills
- Job fairs bringing together local businesses, employers, trainees, and other relevant authorities
- Targeted grants to support local entrepreneurs willing to develop or expand their business ideas
The background to the project was a Peaceful Change initiative Assessment, carried out in late 2020, that explored the impact of conflict, displacement and the pandemic – and found that economic recovery and specifically livelihoods, have been increasingly threatened due to economic and political instability. The Assessment highlighted that young men are more incentivised to join a militia and/or radicalisation, as well as get involved in illicit activities, such as trafficking and smuggling, with limited livelihood opportunities. In addition, that conflict and the pandemic had increased the risk of women becoming marginalised – and increased some women’s exposure to higher levels of gender-based violence.
Peaceful Change initiative also conducted a Research Project in 2021, to better understand the impact of the conflict economy, highlighting that while local communities cannot fully insulate themselves from national dynamics, the impact of the local conflict economy can be mitigated through strengthening local cohesion and stability and developing local economic opportunities.
PCi developed a communication pack to support trainer mentors in Libya in designing and implementing actions aimed to promote PCi’s Social Peace and Local Development (SPLD) methodology in key locations across the country. Download the communication pack flyer in English or Arabic here
PCi delivered a presentation on “Conflict Sensitivity Considerations, Relating to Local Governance Assistance in Libya”, at the EU Implementer’s forum (Libya) in Tunis in September 2019, minimising the ways such assistance could contribute to conflict while maximising opportunities to contribute to peace. The considerations represent issues faced practically by implementers and were identified through consultations and PCi’s broader peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity work in Libya. A brief report was produced and is intended to inform practical policy, programme design and implementation.
Download the report here
Sumaya Abushagour, a civil society activist and founding member of the Tripoli Centre Social Peace Partnership (established in 2017) became passionate about working with marginalised groups (such as women, youth and people living with disability), when employed by the Ministry of Education and the Tripoli Centre Municipality, Social Affairs Unit. As a member of the Tripoli Centre Social Peace Partnership, Sumaya further developed her valuable network of contacts – and benefitted from the mentoring and skills training provided in Social Peace and Local Development (with support from PCi) that added to her experience and encouraged her to continue to support women, youth and people living with disability in the community. She was recently appointed to the position of Mukhtar al Mahalla (Head of Locality) in the Omar al-Mukhtar neighbourhood within Tripoli Centre; she is the first woman in Libya to be appointed to this position.
Through the Tripoli Centre Social Peace Partnership, Sumaya works to raise awareness in the community, to shift social perceptions about women’s abilities and contributions in society. In Libya, social norms and perceptions around gender roles are a key barrier to women’s empowerment and women are often excluded from livelihood and economic regeneration projects. Specifically, Sumaya arranged vocational trainings in sewing, cooking, and nursing for over sixty women across Tripoli; she also mentored young women who aspire to leadership positions in the community. An inspirational role model, Sumaya said: “Through the Social Peace Partnership, I have spoken to many young women in Tripoli who expressed their dream of being appointed to a leadership position – but they don’t know how to go about this and are often very afraid of how society will perceive them.”
Abdul Salam Ben Saoud, is the Tripoli Social Peace Partnership coordinator, working closely with the Municipal Council. He says that Sumaya has the vision and skills to be appointed Mukhtar al Mahalla (Head of Locality), noting her track record in delivering vocational training to women – and the production of a plan to repair and revive one of Tripoli’s busiest commercial streets damaged by the conflict.
Sumaya is currently working to deliver vocational trainings for women and youth, involving a collaboration between the Tripoli Centre Social Peace Partnership and the Omar al-Mukhtar neighbourhood. Sumaya said: “Youth unemployment and the financial dependence of women on men are two main challenges faced by our community. It is important that we give youth and women the space to find their talents and be able to earn an income, use their time wisely, and be good role models for future generations, as we work on breaking stereotypes and building a peaceful and prosperous Libya with equal chances for all! We are also working on activities for people with disabilities, as they too have a crucial role in our society and deserve to be represented.”
Sumaya is also working with the local Municipality to identify community priorities. There is an urgent need to repair the power station that provides electricity to her neighbourhood, recently damaged by heavy rain and flooding. She has sent her report to the Ministry of Electricity and the Tripoli Municipal Council, with whom she has good working relationships. The Mayor of Tripoli Centre, Ibrahim Al-Khalifi (interviewed by Alhadath TV1), recently commented on Sumaya’s appointment to Head of Locality: “Sumaya is hardworking, competent and an educated woman who meets the requirements for Head of Locality; she also obtained one of the highest grades in the relevant exam.”
For more on the Libya Social Peace and Local Development (SPLD) programme, click here.
In Libya, PCi supports women’s inclusion through four pillars:
- Provide space and opportunities for women to strengthen and practice leadership skills
- Fund and support women-led initiatives
- Facilitate knowledge sharing, peer support and mentoring of young women
- Ensure women feel confident and safe to speak freely and participate meaningfully
- Work with men to behave as allies and advocate for women’s inclusion
- Ensure women’s interests and needs are considered in decision making
- Ensure at least 30 per cent female membership in Social Peace Partnerships and gender-balanced participation across programme activities
- Include representatives of women’s diverse social groups
- Support female representatives through training and coaching
- Support communication strategies and media campaigns that amplify the voices of women leaders
- Facilitate networking among women leaders in different regions and sectors
- Support role models with diverse social backgrounds
PCi produced a brief note on potential conflict sensitivity considerations relating to the COVID-19 response in Libya, developed as part of the Conflict Sensitive Assistance (CSA) in Libya forum. The note is intended as a resource to support assistance planners and project staff in taking conflict sensitivity implications into account when preparing to respond to COVID-19.
The Peacemakers Network, a group of individuals from Libyan civil society, local government, media and academia, who work to find solutions to promote sustainable peace (supported by PCi) worked on a video campaign at the end of 2021, to improve public awareness of electoral process in Libya. Elections were scheduled for the 24 December 2021 but have been postponed.
The Peacemakers Network distributed four videos across a broad range of Libyan media and social media and a fifth video will be released shortly focusing on the process of candidate selection. Click on the links below to view the videos:
For more on the Peacemakers Network, click here.