The Civil Society Incubator Center (CSIC), was initially launched as part of a six month long pilot program “Leadership in Civil Society” in February 2012. In an evaluation of the program, program participants indicated that the most effective and useful portion of the program was the incubator center activities. The NLF responded with the “Civil Society Incubator Center” launch in July 2013, sponsored by the Libyan International Telecommunications Company. The Incubator has since become a hub for civil society activity by providing civil society organizations (CSOs) a central location to connect with one another and to develop their own capacity.
The “incubator” is a concept borrowed from successful business practices, designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. The application of this concept allows Libya’s nascent civil society access to a variety of support resources and services developed and orchestrated by incubator management. CSIC members have direct access to a facility with individual 5 offices holding 20 individual workspaces, three seminar rooms, a meeting room, computer lab, two kitchens, four restroom and a professional support staff for their project development six days a week.
The incubator also serves as a “base camp” for Libyan civil society. CSOs regularly meet with member organizations and interact with others to share successes, challenges and networks, allowing them to get the most of the resources available toward their causes. This type of broad networking lends itself to civil society activity extending beyond singular causes and communities. Broad coalitions leveraging proactive and engaged citizens for critical and timely causes can work effectively toward shaping government policies and local markets to serve the needs of the people. Visit the Civil Society Incubator Center Facebook Page (in Arabic): https://www.facebook.com/pages/حاضنة-مؤسسات-المجتمع-المدني/172834689550420
- Capacity Building: Engage member civil society organizations in the development and advancement of their organization and members through the implementation of workshops, mentorship, and a facility to conduct their operations.
- Coalition Building: Bring together a community of active, committed and effective organizations and activists to build broad networks for effective community outreach and policy advocacy.
- Media Outreach: Increase CSO media ties and public outreach through media “know how” tools, and improved relationships with media outlets
Any registered civil society organization is eligible for membership. The applicant must be able to demonstrate their organization has a history of implementing successful projects, or that the board members collectively have a capacity to plan, fund and execute successful programs.
In return for benefits provided by a CSIC membership, members give back to the CSIC and fellow CSOs through the sharing of resources and networks. Members are required to attend all incubator capacity building activities; the networking events, workshops, and monthly Quick Impact Projects, and Mentorship/Coaching Sessions.
Members have access to fully equipped office space (one desk per full-time member), including new desks, desk chairs, lock drawers, a filing cabinet, a whiteboard/flipchart, internet excess and printers.
Members have full access to two fully equipped and air-conditioned seminar halls which seat up to 70 participants. In addition to being the site of regular workshops conducted by the incubator management, the hall is available for use by member organizations conducting meetings, workshops, lectures and community based events. The seminar hall also includes a projector, screen, large whiteboard and several flip charts.
The seminar room is the most popular space in the CSIC, with multiple daily bookings, often “booking up” weeks in advance. The popularity of this room is an indication that that CSO members are actively and successfully conducting programs and large-scale outreach with their constituents.
The second floor meeting room seats twenty people, with the capacity to seat another 15 around the parameters. The meeting room also has a more casual seating area with couches for smaller/casual meetings. This room is ideal for one-on-one meetings, focus groups, and concentrated workshops.
The meeting room has been reserved for over 100 events since July 7th, and is a key facility for member CSOs.
Capacity Building Workshops
The Incubator workshops bring-in expertise from around the world to support local Libyan civil society activists and organizations since February 2012. The workshops ensure regular growth and development for incubator members as they continue navigating civil society work in Libya. NLF has partnered with Freedom House, the UNDP, the Human Relief Foundation, the United States Institute for Peace, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, local and international experts, and local organizations to conduct the following workshops and seminars based on the needs of local organizations:
Role of Civil Society in Democratic Transtion, Project Management, Horizontal Leadership, Finance, Proposal Writing, Team-Building, Strategic Media Use, Conflict Resolution, Public Outreach and Advocacy, Media Access and Message Crafting.
The two English courses per week are for members and activists, and are taught by professional English teacher, Ms. Jenni Nur, who volunteers her time at the Center.
Members have access to intermediary computer skills courses which run for a period of 8 weeks, designed to empower activists with document preparation, internet familiarity, and social media skills to leverage toward their causes.
Quick Impact Projects
Participants work as a team to execute a monthly QIP. Examples of some previous NLF QIPs are a public debate forum, planting trees in and cleaning a local park, a radio broadcast or public presentation about a pressing civil society issue. These projects which run from 2-5 hours are intended to:
- Have a quick and positive impact in the community
- Have organizations work together to choose, plan and execute a project as a team.
- Engage with the community in an inclusive, impactful and positive activity.
- Increase the member organization’s confidence in their capacity for project conception, planning and execution.
- Familiarize the community to the member organization and their cause.
Mentorship and Coaching
None of our services have proven to be more necessary or effective than the mentorship and coaching of CSOs. In the past, this duty was taken on by the program manager alone, however, as the CSIC activities increase, and members experience greater need for professional mentorship, The NLF operational staff, including the Executive Director, Programs Manager, Human Resources Manager, Partnership Development/ Proposal Writing team, Finance, and Information Technology team will be available for one-on-one meetings with the member CSOs.
* All CSIC workshops are open to non-member CSOs on a complimentary basis.
* Non-member CSOs and INGOs may book the facilities at the CSIC at a fee of 300LYD per room, per day.