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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.

Events

Visit to Misuratah

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As the New Libya Foundation aims to support and foster civil society organizations in Libya, it seeks to build bridges beyond Tripoli, where it is based. Although the trip was arranged at short notice, numerous LCS program participants attended in order to embark on the trip towards Misuratah.

The first meeting of the day was with Azer, an association that which aims to support welfare for community members and assist in linking donors to those in need. Examples include supporting creative people and liberating their latent capabilities, as well as improving the status of needy families.

Also visited was the Misurata Local Council, which was elected on February 20th, 2012 through Libya’s largest and most successul public elections to date. The group recieved a warm welcome from the council which the group found to be particularly impressive. The visit assured the participants that given the opportunity to elect public officials, the Libyan people choose based on issues and ability, and not necessarily loyalties.

At the third meeting, vital first links were made between the LCS program participating organizations in Tripoli and U.M.A.C. association organizations in Misuratah. All the CSO representatives openly discussed their organizations and possible opportunities for collaboration in the near future. The group had an open and constructive debate around the issue of the role of civil society in relation to building democratic institutions in Libya. An essential outcome of the debate encompassed the notion that civil society organizations are not necessarily required to hold a single vision: diversity amongst NGO’s often precedes specialization and opens up the opportunity for a wide range of organizations to join platforms such as the New Libya Foundation and U.M.A.C.

The evening ended with dinner and lively conversations at the home of LCS program participant, Abbas Indaisha and his family.

Update: On April 4th, 2012, NLF returned to Misurata to discuss the needs of Misurata civil society and CSOs with U.M.A.C. association, which currently represents 41 CSOs in Misurata.

Events

Campaign Strategies Workshop, Co-Hosted by Freedom House

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On the 23rd of March, The New Libya Foundation and Freedom House co-hosted a workshop on community outreach and campaign development strategies. Founded in 1941, Freedom House has long been a vigorous proponent of the right of all individuals to be free. The NGO supports global freedom through comprehensive analysis, dedicated advocacy, and concrete assistance for democratic activists around the world. The advocacy workshop was given at the NLF’s incubator office with 25 participants representing 18 newly formed Libyan civil society organizations.

The workshop centered around two issues essential for young NGO’s: (1) how to build an advocacy campaign and (2) how to conduct community outreach programs. Fouad Hamdan, who gave the workshop, used examples from previous advocacy campaigns in Lebanon, like a campaign he lead which successfully advocated for the responsible disposal of chemical waste. He emphasized the most critical elements of an effective campaign as well as its interactions with contextual factors.

After identifying and elaborating on the basic steps in creating campaigns, the participants were required to devise their own during a scenario exercise. Directly translating the theory into practice, the participants were divided into five groups and creatively constructed their own advocacy campaigns. Each of the five groups presented their ideas, which gave rise to lively discussions. The New Libya Foundation would like to thank Freedom House, Fouad Hamdan and of course all the participants for making this workshop a great success.

Events

LCS participant holds meeting on Tripoli’s looming trash crises.

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On March 20th, Leadership in Civil Society program participant, Omnia Tayari and 3 other members of “The Cleaning Revolution”, (an environmental awareness and advocacy campaign) met with environmental experts, government officials and advocates at the NLF incubator to find solutions for Tripoli’s looming trash crises.

The group, which was founded in 2011, aims to bring people’s attention to their waste disposal habits. Initially, the campaign launched with weekend, community based cleaning missions where dozens of citizens armed with trash bags, brooms and gloves descended upon parks and public squares to clean-up and ask people not litter. More recently, the campaign’s founders have broadened their sights toward a more pervasive environmental health threat, Libya’s inadequate garbage and sewage disposal infrastructure.

Recently, Tripoli’s major waste dump sites were shut down when armed locals refused to let waste trucks dump anymore trash complaining that the waste site is leaking contaminants into the soil, water and air.  The emergency meeting, which was attended by Libya’s Minister of  Housing and Infrastructure, served to lay out the current challenges and possible solutions to Tripoli’s waste disposal dilemma. Outcomes of the meeting included the unveiling of a plan by the National Transitional Council which requires the agreement and cooperation of the waste site neighborhoods. Please follow “Clean Up Tripoli: The Cleaning Revolution” progress at https://www.facebook.com/CleaningUpTripoli

Research & Development

Libya’s ‘Economic Development Board’ hosts NLF Seminar on Role of Civil Society and Economic Sector in a Democracy

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March 20th,Tripoli, Libya- The New Libya Foundation staff was invited to the Economic Development Board (EDB) to speak on the role of the economic sector and civil society in a young democracy. The EDB launched as a pre-revolution initiative which was born from the need to nurture Libya’s economic institutions and invest in its human capital.

The event took place at the EDB’s conference hall, which hosts speakers offering awareness and development seminars on a weekly basis. The NLF seminar was presented by Program Manager Jean-Louis Romanet Perroux and the content focused primarily on the foundations of democracy and its components. The summary also conveyed the critical role and independent functions of civil society, the economic sector, government and the state as central factors in the rule of law.

Events

“Leadership In Civil Society” Tripoli, program launches!

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The  NLF “Leadership In Civil Society” program has begun with a successful launch on February 19th 2012. The Tripoli based program mentors, trains and coaches 13 civil society leaders over a period of 6 months. These young civil society activists have launched or will launch an impactful civil society organization advocating for issues critical to Libya’s democratic transition and foundation. Areas of advocacy include environmental awareness, accountability and transparency, women’s rights, education, innovation and technology, youth empowerment, healthcare advancement , housing and more.

The program began with a three week long seminar articulated around three pillars, “horizontal leadership”, “the role of civil society in democracy” and “organizational development”. The program which is run from the “New Libya Foundation” incubator in Hay Al Andulus, Tripoli. Seminar speakers also included guest speaker Samar Kund, a lawyer who covered the NGO registration process with participants, and Boris Varnitsky, current consultant and director to 1Libya who discussed the current challenges Libyan CSO’s are facing.

Part of the process is working with the young LCS program leaders as they explore their role in civil society. Participants visited a local prison to understand the needs and experiences of the incarcerated in the community. Also visited was the Tawarghan Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Janzur where they spoke with community representatives on the Tawarghan condition and the role of civil society in solving internal, large social conflicts. Participants also planned and launched a “Quick Impact Project” (QIP) designed to have an immediate positive impact in the community. Participants chose to conduct a public debate in Martyrs Square on two topics. The main objective of the QIP was to bring the public’s attention to the need for a healthy, public dialogue on any issue. Television stations covered the event which brought dozens of bystanders who both engaged in the dialogue and listened to speakers.

The LCS seminar will wrap up March 8th with each participants presentation of their civil society organization. The LCS program staff will spend the next 5 months supporting each participant in the launch of their impactful CSO.

Announcements

Happy 1 Year Anniversary, Free Libya

On Feb. 17th, 2011, 467 men were killed as they peacefully protested for political change at Martyrs Square, Tripoli. On Feb. 17th, 2012, Libyans came together in what was probably the most celebrated holiday in Libyan history, the first anniversary of the February 17th revolution which ousted Libyan dictator Moamar Qaddafi. The lantern pictured above is one of tens of thousands which were purchased since Oct. 2011. Symbolizing the flight of the Libyan struggle for freedom, these lanterns  have become a popular way to celebrate. Perhaps replacing the once popular and deadly practice of celebratory gunfire, their descent into the night’s sky is accompanied by a symphony of automobile horns beeping to the beat of a popular new slogan “lift your head up high, you’re a Free Libyan”.

 

 

Announcements

Wrapping up the “Leadership In Civil Society” Tripoli Recruitment

Recruitment for the Tripoli, LCS program was completed this week. Selection was highly competitive, and many applicants conveyed an impressive commitment toward civil society development. Only the most promising candidates have been selected, those that have the passion and the will to develop the projects their community needs and they believe in.

The NLF will carefully work with and support these young and promising activists over a period of six months as they launch their own civil society organization. LCS Tripoli participants are tackling  issues such as human rights, education, transparency and accountability, housing, labor rights, environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, student unions and the rights of the disabled.

We encourage  all applicants to continue their civil society building efforts, and we look forward to supporting all applicants in their initiatives with one of our stand-alone workshops, internships and community building initiatives. Please keep us posted with your own civil society building developments and do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time for assistance.

On behalf of the LCS program participants and staff, we would like to express our gratitude to the National Endowment for Democracy for their financial support and for being one of the first to support the NLF in its mission to invest in Libya’s people. The NED has been  a grantor, a support system, and mentor. Thank you Amira Maaty, Laith Kubba, Hamida Shadi, Renee Rosser and Henry Huttinger for the work that you do.

Announcements

Thank You, Donors and Volunteers.

We’d like to thank all of our NLF donors and volunteers whom generously contributed to our projects in 2011. It is your silent efforts, mostly behind the scenes, including this website, that drive our work. We were able to operate our programs through relatively  few fundraising initiatives and volunteer recruitments because you sought the opportunity to contribute and gave generously of your time, money and wisdom.

As we look ahead to 2012, many challenges for the Libyan people lie ahead. We’re looking to continue working with you as we face these challenges together with relevant, timely and effective  programs and services that build Libyan civil society  for and through Libya’s democratic transition.

Thank you for supporting us, and more importantly for investing in the Libyan people.

Research & Development

Completion Of Our First Civil Society Research Mission

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The New Libya Foundation completed it’s first Research and Development initiative Dec. 8th, 2011. In the anticipation of the “Leadership In Civil Society” program launch, the NLF conducted over 50 one on one interviews with Libyan citizens through  random selection in Tripoli, Libya during a period of 10 days. Partially funded by Tufts University and private NLF donors, the mission was lead by NLF Program Manager and Researcher Jean Louis Romanet Perroux, Co-Founder Rihab Elhaj and researchers Nathalie Bekdeche and  Nadine Bekdeche with the assistance of Walid Ragei. The team conducted interviews in various neighborhoods in Tripoli, including Ben Ashur, Souk Al juma, Tajoura, Hadba Shargia, Hay Al Andulus, Zaweet Dahmani, Abou Mishmasha, Busleem, Al Madina, and Maydan Al Shuhada with interviewees hailing from 16 Libyan cities. Interviews were conducted in cafe’s, hospitals, universities, public benches, homes, shops, building sites, while interviewing women and men & young and old alike, from various socio economic backgrounds. The findings of the research mission will be published in a report early January.

Some initial observations were of how deeply religious the Libyan people are. Often times, standard religiosity questions needed to be re-visted multiple times to explore the nuances among the almost standard strict adherence of religious practices. Another observation was of how Education and public awareness were consistently the #1 priority for future development in the opinions of interviewees.  Interviewees were able to take for granted many concerns their neighboring revolutionary nations Tunisia and Egypt share, such as economic opportunity and the role of religion. Many participants also noted that they would have never shared such in-depth personal opinions and insights previous to the revolution.

Members of the research team whom were visiting Libya for the first time noted the humility and hospitality of the Libyan people. Libyan researchers noticed the marked change in social energy, as Libyans were more open to discussion with strangers and more trustful of strangers than before the revolution.

This pre-liminary assessment revealed the sui generis nature of the Libyan situation and the outcomes to follow.

Events

NLF Concludes Ramadan Program at the Hana Naas Center for Women and Children

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This week NLF volunteers wrapped up a month-long program of activities to celebrate the month of Ramadan with Libyan refugees at the Hana Naas Center for Women and Children in Tataouine.  After breaking their fast, people came together at the center for various health and wellness activities including exercise classes, group therapy discussions, and arts & crafts.  The program concluded this week with a talent show, cooking competition, art exhibit, and soccer tournament. Many families are returning home as the Libyan-Tunisian border becomes secure, and peace returns to western cities and towns in Libya. The New Libya Foundation is exploring plans to move the Hana Naas Center to Libya once the country is stabilized, to continue to provide psycho-social support to women and children through the coming recovery period.