By Maha Ellawati.
Benghazi, October 23:
Almost a thousand Libyans have so far attended courses designed to help them better understand the working of civil society in a democracy.
So far, 26 courses and workshops have been run in Tripoli, Benghazi, Al Beida, Derna and Misrata by UK-based charity Common Purpose. Project Manager, Spanish-born Nacho Galvez, told Libya Herald that the European Union (EU) founded the project “to respond to early Libyan requests for support with training on leadership and managerial skills.”
The objective of Common Purpose in Libya said Galvez: “Is to build up the management and leadership capacities of leaders and managers within the emerging interim institutions and civil society in Libya, so that they are able to meet the challenges of a society in transition”.
Some workshops were specifically designed for young people between the ages of 20 and 35 who wanted to become effective leaders in their communities. In the run-up to the elections, courses for ‘Young Leaders’ focussed on raising younger people’s awareness of the electoral process. Galvez said participants, worked on campaigns to ensure that Libya’s younger generation were well-informed and engaged with the elections.
“They produced ideas and action plans to ensure maximum participation. As a result of the course, many participants have been developing projects to help their communities,” Galvez said. He added: “Some participants set up ‘Bokra,’ a youth engagement charity, while others organised a radio campaign to encourage people to vote.”
Other training programmes have been aimed at women, such as a ‘Women Leaders’ course in Misrata in June this year, which attracted 27 attendees. Galvez said that the course explored ways women could be effective leaders, as well as offering an opportunity for confidence-building and peer-networking.
“Participants came with ideas and projects and the course gave them the opportunity to explore and identify ways in which to move these forward,” he added. Examples included developing plans to create a women’s club, an entrepreneurial hub, as well as looking at the regeneration of Misrata. Galvez explained: “Through this course, the participants developed a peer support group and felt better-equipped to contribute positively to Misrata’s future.”
Since Common Purpose in Libya was established, it has worked with people from numerous organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, AGOCO, the Libyan Red Crescent and the Voice of Libyan Women. Galvaz added that Common Purpose is also working closely with key actors in the emerging civil society and public service in Libya.
Since the start of the project in July 2011, 968 Libyans have attended courses and workshops and Galvez said that participants all agreed that the course or workshop they had attended was “good value for their time.”
Common Purpose is a UK-based Charity, established in 1989, which runs leadership development programmes. It delivers its leadership programmes in 46 cities across 18 countries.