When our volunteers (delegates) from Libya first entered the Generations For Peace (GFP) headquarters for Amman Camp 2013, they did so with a clear purpose and focused objectives. These carefully selected individuals were keen to address issues stemming from the escalating political crises, which had resulted in various risks ranging from delays to school education, a lack of volunteering opportunities, and an increase in youth joining rival militias.
Following an intensive training on peace-building and conflict transformation methodologies in Amman, our volunteers returned to Tripoli ready to implement the first-ever GFP programme in their country. The aim of the programme? To equip youth with basic life skills to empower them to deal with conflicts through non-violent means.
Despite great efforts to ensure the programme started on time, periodic unrest and safety concerns on the ground prompted several delays to the initial launch of the programme, which eventually commenced in June 2014. However, the deteriorating situation in the country and further armed conflict between competing militias resulted in additional disruptions, bringing the programme to a temporary standstill.
Elaborating on the difficulties faced, GFP volunteer Mahmoud Elhajjaji said: “The security situation hampered the implementation of the activities, but the Libyan volunteers decided to continue the training despite the challenges and worked very hard to do so. Honestly, there was no frustration among volunteers during the difficult times the country went through; our enthusiasm increased and our desire to overcome these challenges was stronger.”
Adding to this, Asma Shagruni, a fellow GFP volunteer, commented: “Despite the challenges, we were determined to continue because we believe this programme holds great importance in a time when our country is suffering from a lot of issues, violence and conflicts that are resulting in more disasters and distress.”
The programme focused on developing communication, leadership and problem solving skills for 30 scout-leaders, strengthening their capacity to become key figures in peace-building and awareness-raising efforts in their local communities. With valuable support from the Libyan Youth Centre (LYC), they were able to resume the programme with carefully facilitated activities via the use of sport and art tools. The indomitable spirit demonstrated by our volunteers during these testing times was truly inspiring.
In efforts to encourage support among the wider community, volunteers conducted a series of campaigns including the “Peace in Libya” and “I am Libya” campaigns.
Expressing the importance of global support during this period, GFP volunteer Nour Elmuna Ben Mansour, stated: “The LYC team launched the Peace For Libya campaign to explain what was actually happening on the ground, as well as advocating for the rights of Libyans to live in peace. Through our page we asked people to hold a paper with the words, Peace For Libya. We received more than we expected, both locally and internationally, including photos in different languages wishing peace for Libya. This support had a good impact on the programme beneficiaries, as they now know that the world is aware of what is happening in Libya.”
The ongoing activities came to a successful conclusion in November 2014, and our dedicated volunteers are now busy preparing for the upcoming Participatory Evaluations!
Well done to everyone involved!
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