By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 3 December 2013:
A workshop on ways to empower Libyan women in politics took place yesterday in Tripoli, organised . . .[restrict]by the Dutch NGO Gender Concerns International in cooperation with the local NGO Libyan Forum of Civil Society and the German Embassy. Around 20 trainers, Libyan men and women from all walks of life, took part. The aim is that they will hold dialogues across the country helping familiarise women with social, cultural and political issues thus enabling them to take full part in the democratic process in Libya.
Zainab Zaidi, a TV programme host, lecturer in psychology and human development at the University of Zawia and human development trainer, led the discussion on “preparing the political landscape for participative and interactive facilitation” by future trainers. A member of Libyan Forum of Civil Society, Zaidi ran as an independent in last year’s GNC elections. She is now a candidate for elections to the Committee of 60 that will draft the new Libyan constitution.
She says she always wanted to bring change in the lives of Libyan women and young people by empowering them. She volunteered for Gender Concerns International to train men and women on acquiring leadership skills.
“When we talk about issues affecting the country, everyone must sit around the table and speak together, in order to break the ice and integrate both sexes,” Zaidi explained to the Libya Herald
Ahmed Al-Majdub, a Tripoli University student and one of the participants in the workshop, explained how people had come to the workshop to develop skills in creating tolerance and enabling the public to respond to the opinions of others in a civilised and democratic way. He said he was very encouraged that there were so many young Libyans at similar events discussing the future of Libya.
Gender Concerns International has been working to empower Libyan women and inform them about political participation since last year’s elections.
It introduced the Libyan Marbouaa, a place for men and women to discuss collective political action. A political café, Libyan Marbouaa was inaugurated on 25 November by leading figures in politics and civil society as well as ordinary Libyan men and women, according to Nygat Siddique, Head of Country Operations of Gender Concerns International (Libya and Tunisia).
The concept of Marbouaa refers to the diwan sitting room where Libyan men usually gather after a meal or on Fridays to discuss the world’s problems.
Siddique worked most of her life empowering women worldwide in legislation, including in her home country of Pakistan.
Gender Concerns International’s work focuses on women’s participation in electoral and democratic processes and how they can reach decision-making levels and be leaders. [/restrict]