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Founded Febraury 25th, 2011 in response to the call for democracy in Libya, the New Libya Foundation serves to nurture democratic foundations through the building of Libyan civil society from the ground up. The most vital element of a new Libya is a society that is able to determine the course of its future, and contribute in setting the priorities of its governing body. No call to democratic governance can be realized until people organize to address their concerns and aspirations.

The Libyan people have taken on the cause of building their nation and empowering citizens. The New Libya Foundation is working to provide the resources and means necessary to build the civic institutions of the new Libya and generations to come.

Our Mission
Nurture the successful development of civil society organizations in Libya through training, education, access to resources and financial assistance. Our vision is broad with our immediate focus on: Civic engagement, inclusiveness, and association.

Research & Development

NLF to launch CSO Incubator in March

Borrowing from the very successful “business incubator” model, the NLF civil society incubator center is an innovative approach toward supporting the healthy and successful development of Libyan civil society through Libya’s democratic transition.

Statistics from the US Small Business Administration reveal that successful completion of a business incubation program increases the likelihood that a startup company will stay in business for the long term: studies found 87% of incubator graduates stayed in business, in contrast to 44% of all firms. Likewise, in civil society, decades of research consistently indicate that the more operational support a new non-profit receives early on, the greater the likelihood that it will survive, prosper, and have a significant impact.

Made possible by generous sponsorship from the people at the Libyan International Telecommunications Company who believed in this fresh idea, the New Libya Foundation will be launching the first civil society incubator in Tripoli, Libya, in March of 2013. The center will provide member organizations with:

Office Space
Wireless internet
Printers and other technology
Regular development workshops
English classes
Networking events
Access to donors
Access to GNC and HNEC representatives
Training and seminar facility
Meeting rooms
Member community based projects
Staff mentorship and support

A Six month membership cost ranges between 100-600LYD for registered Libyan CSOs. Members will be selected based on activity level, the ability to provide value for under-represented constituencies (such as women, youth, the physically disabled, ethnic minorities, and the socially or politically persecuted), and critical advocacy for post-conflict transition and institution building.

For inquiries about the incubator, or to request an application, please message Isam Saidi at with “incubator” as the subject heading.

Look out for another blog entry with incubator launch event details, including opening date.

Research & Development

“Leadership in Civil Society” program expands to Misurata for 2013


The New Libya Foundation is pleased to share that the “Leadership in Civil Society program” (LCS) is expanding to Misurata.

The six month long program, which is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, will be launching in the first quarter of 2013. The NLF is partnering with local civil society associations and unions in Misurata to identify 20 of the most active, committed and professional CSO leaders to participate in the intensive program. Interested individuals are welcome to apply independently as well.

The LCS  program fosters the emergence of a healthy and viable Libyan civil society sector through the cultivation of community leadership capacity and institutional know-how of young Libyans as they launch their self-sustainable and successful civil society organizations (CSOs).

LCS works with 20 young CSO founders/leaders for six months to train, coach and mentor them through the conceptualization, planning, execution and evaluation of a single project launched by their organization in addition to the successful development of their organization’s operation. The LCS program begins with an intensive three week long seminar articulated around three pillars; Horizontal Leadership, the role of civil society in democracy and operations management. During the following 5 ½ months NLF will mentor, coach and support the participant through the successful launch and completion of their project and provide an “incubator” office and meeting space for their activities. This hub will provide regular access to the program staff, technical infrastructure and the place to meet and work on their projects and activities. The program also includes monthly workshops for ongoing group support and monthly “Quick Impact Projects” for hands on community development to foster community involvement and confidence in project execution. Last, but not least, this process will passively and naturally foster socialization and integration of diverse community groups and social segments through the dialogue and partnership among the various CSOs.

The LCS Misurata program seeks to partner with local associations and unions to address CSO needs particular to Misurata’s post-conflict  setting in addition to our regular curriculum.




Closing ceremony for NLF’s first “Leadership in Civil Society” program.

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On July 18, participants, mentors and coaches gathered at the New Libya Foundation incubator to mark the end of the six-month Leadership in Civil Society pilot program . After months of hard work and collaboration, the closing ceremony provided a chance for the entire group to come together one last time and share lessons learned.

Participants spoke informally about how their organizations and projects evolved over the course of the program, and they reflected on the main challenges they faced as civil society leaders trying to manage teams, raise money and execute projects. The all-day event focused in particular on challenges faced and what participants learned from their failures. NLF staff also participated in the evaluation exercises by presenting the main successes, challenges and lessons learned from its first LCS program. Building on these reflections, and in order to encourage better support for civil society development in Libya, NLF has prepared a written evaluation of the LCS program that discusses the main contextual challenges to program implementation.

Those who played a role in the program but were outside of Tripoli found a way to participate in the momentous occasion nonetheless. Two participants and two coaches spoke to the group via Skype, sharing their experiences as civil society activists and their views on the program, respectively. Dr. Iya Khalil, one of the co-founders of NLF, also called in and was able to exchange a few final words  with participants.  Dr. Khalil highlighted some of the challenges participants will face as leaders in their industry and shared her approaches to those she faced launching her own bio-tech start-up 12 years ago.

The participants received certificates of completion of the program as well as personalized awards. NLF congratulates each and every one of them and looks forward to staying in touch and witnessing their success in the years ahead.


Conflict Sensitivity Workshop

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In the aftermath of last year’s revolution, Libya is facing the re-emergence of scores of conflicts that had been silenced during the dictatorship. The resulting temporary weakness of central authorities leaves the burden of conflict management to local communities. In this setting, civil society organizations that strive to improve their community may easily spark controversy and fuel animosity among social groups.

Thus, civil society organizers must be able to analyze and manage conflicts that might emerge through their work. It is for them that the New Libya Foundation hosted a four-day workshop on conflict sensitivity between June 24 and 27, 2012. The Human Relief Foundation, a U.K.-based charity organization, flew to Tripoli to run the workshop, which aimed to encourage participants to apply participatory conflict analysis tools and conflict sensitive approaches to their work.

The moderators introduced a series of tools, frameworks and exercises, such as mapping stakeholders and drawing conflict timelines, to help participants reflect on their own activities and context. Through a mix of lecture, open discussion and group work, participants explored the different stages of conflicts and focused on the importance of understanding the context to manage or solve a conflict.

Fifteen civil society leaders from Tripoli, Sebratah, Tarhuna and Misurata participated in the workshop, enriching it with different perspectives on nation-wide conflicts.


Design, Monitoring and Evaluation

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The aim of the New Libya Foundation is to develop the capacity of the Libyan civil society. This entails coaching civil society activists while they formalize their team and vision into an organization, as well as helping them articulate and implement their projects.

However, establishing an organization and running a project is not a measure of success. CSOs must be able to measure and evaluate their impact according to their goals and overall vision. They must recognize successes and failures in order to build on the former, and learn from the latter.

In short, civil society entrepreneurs must ask themselves questions such as: How much have our programs affected the targeted audience? To what degree did our advocacy campaign change the mindset of people? Is the organization doing more harm than good?

To address this critical aspect of NGO management, the New Libya Foundation conducted a seminar on Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for civil society organizations on June 20, 2012. The three-hour event aimed to introduce participants to core concepts and skills in order to encourage them to begin thinking about processes of evaluation applicable to their own organizations. The seminar, led by Casey and Elia, two graduate students from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy working with NLF over the summer, included discussions about how to build valuable indicators, record appropriate data, and conduct a longer-term evaluation that ensures effectiveness and identifies any unintended consequences.

This workshop introduced the principal activity LCS participants will be focusing on during the last month of the program: evaluation.

Besides LCS program participants, the workshop hosted many other organizations working on a variety of causes, from consumer protection to women empowerment.


Media Workshop

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As Civil society in Libya is beginning to enjoy the freedom of expression and association, it lacks traction to have an impact in responding to community needs. CSOs need public support, funding, volunteers, and expertise, all of which are potentially available within society itself. How can they draw from these resources?

CSOs also lack attention from the authorities and don’t have means to hold them accountable to their words when they succeed in engaging in a discussion. How can they change their standing when discussing with authorities?

These goals can be achieved through a strategic use of media.
In this spirit we held a seminar on Civil Society – media relations at the NLF “incubator” on the 20th of May, 2012. The speakers were Anne Applebaum, an American journalist, Jeremy Timmins, a British television developer, both counting on decades of experience and successes. Two Libyan journalists from radio and television kindly joined us to provide a sense of the context, and explain some of the challenges specific to Libya.

The seminar began with a full conference room, as the event attracted many civil society activists eager to learn how they could utilize the media to run effective campaigns. The hosts addressed several key issues, such as how to convey an informative and captivating message to the audience, how to raise awareness about your issue, how to broaden the public support for your activity.

The hope is for the development of a rich and strong link between the people and the information professionals. If the civil society organizations do not learn how to engage with their constituency and with the authorities through the media they risk to remain small, invisible and sadly…inconsequential.


First ‘T Speak Loud’ event!

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On the 14th of May, the first ever ‘T Speak Loud’ event took place at the University of Tripoli. With an interesting array of speakers, a large poster in front of the auditorium, and a registration table, the event appealed to numerous students as around fifty students attended in total.

The event program consisted of giving young people a platform through which they could express themselves. As such, self-confidence could be built up as the speakers stood in front of an audience and talked about their aspirations, interests or any other topics of choice. Four main speakers were chosen ahead of the event and each were given twenty minutes to outline their point.

Topics discussed included the necessity for young people to innovate, participate, and drive change in their communities in the context of building a new Libya. Great stories were told about overcoming personal challenges, taking the initiative in changing the political landscape around you, and what will happen if we fail to participate in the upcoming elections. Finally, the audience was given the opportunity to ‘speak loud’ and elaborate on anything of their interest. This resulted in a lively discussion between speakers and the audience which centered mostly around the issue of building a new Libyan state and sociopolitical scene.

For the founder of the ‘T Speak Loud’ program, Wassn Elaghel, it was ‘like a dream come true’, as she and her colleagues have worked hard in the past months to realize such an event. The combination of their efforts, that of the speakers and an enthusiastic audience, resulted in a highly successful first event. Potential speakers are therefore encouraged to sign up and participate in this exciting possibility to talk to an audience and listen to what your peers have to say.


English class and research workshop

In the past two months, the New Libya Foundation offered two foreign interns the
opportunity to come to Libya in order to participate in their activities and to learn more
about Civil Society in contemporary Libya. Amongst others, their prescribed activities
included the teaching of English and providing the participants of the NLF program with
seminars and practical support concerning their own survey projects.

English was taught three times a week with each class lasting one hour. Any participant of
the NLF could join these classes where a diversity of different topics were discussed and
explained. Some of these encompassed conversational English, formal writing, grammar and
pronunciation. In general, attendance was excellent and as the class sizes were relatively
small, it allowed the teachers to tailor the classes to the specific needs of the students.
Overall, the students were highly motivated and greatly contributed to the class, for
example by introducing new material on a regular basis.

In addition, the interns gave a half-day seminar on research methodology for all who
were interested. The seminar included practical examples as well as a basic theoretical
overview of the core aspects of doing research. In doing so, the interns hope to increase the
participant’s knowledge of this issue that is essential for fledgling Civil Society Organizations.

Research & Development

Election Workshop

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On June 19th Libyans will be called to vote in the first general elections in sixty years. Their vote will determine the members of the 200-strong National Assembly that will appoint the Constitution-drafting committee.

The state authorities are striving to organize the elections, write the laws and regulations to hold them, and last but not least mobilize the citizens to register and cast their vote on Election Day. These are momentous tasks, state capacity is limited and the time is very little. This is why civil society can and should play a very important role in reaching out to the population to explain the electoral process, to make sure voters register, and to observe elections.

In this light Wednesday May 2nd the New Libya Foundation and the Libyan Youth Union organized a workshop for civil society organizations that intend to run awareness campaigns on voter registration and on the electoral process. The training was provided by the Libyan Higher National Electoral Commission (HNEC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who kindly teamed up on a short notice. The aim of the afternoon was to provided civic education, explain the electoral process, and to focus on voter registration in particular.

The 20 participants, each of which was a civil society organiser in his/her own rights, engaged in passionate discussions and had many questions for the trainers, thus making the event was a great success. Now they will each train and lead their group to organise an awareness campaign for the elections.

Given their further interest and questions, the participants asked to get together again for another workshop in order to explain and explore the electoral process more in detail (design of the electoral districts, party candidates versus individual candidates etc…)

NLF and the UNDP have taken on this request to prepare another workshop.

Research & Development

Visit to Tarhuna

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On the 14th of April, staff and LCS program participants of the New Libya Foundation traveled to Tarhuna, a city located in the Northwest of Libya, surrounded by Mslata, Bani Walid and Gharian. For a long period, the city was one of the largest producers of wheat, barley, esparto, olives, grapes, and various nuts in Western Libya. The visit was arranged by friends of the Shr-Sharah Group, an NGO that focuses on sustainable development by developing the tourism and recreational infrastructure while preserving and protecting the natural resources and the ecosystem in the region . The organization strives to encourage domestic and international tourism to the Shr-Sharah region.

After a guided tour of the scenic nature reserve and the Roman ruins, including a furnace and a large Roman house, numerous civil society organizations from Tripoli and Tarhuna conversed on issues ranging from democracy to the role of the Italians in the development of the tarhuna area. The groups then spent time getting to know each other’s work over a delicious traditional Libyan lunch, of lamb, couscous, and salad.

We would like to thank Shr-Sharah group for their fantastic hospitality in showing us one of the most beautiful areas of Libya and their commitment to inter-regional dialogue. The Shr-Sharah group is vitally important in the fight against environmental decay and in the preservation of sites of archaeological interest. As a platform that seeks to nurture infant civil society organizations CSOs, the NLF wishes the Shr-Shara group all the best in these future endeavours and hopes to continue this fruitful partnership long into the future. Finally, as the above pictures demonstrate the beauty of the area, the NLF team looks forward to another visit on Saturday, April 21st to discuss collaboration between NLF LCS program CSOs and CSOs in Tarhuna.