VNG International: Gender-Sensitive Local Governance and Women’s Empowerment in Libya

For the special gender edition of the DeLoG Newsletter on the occasion of International Women's Day, partner organisations of the network shared their experiences working on DLG with a gender perspective. In this article, VNG International present their work on gender mainstreaming in local governance in Libya.

Gender-sensitive Local Governance and Women’s Empowerment in Libya

Despite the extremely challenging operational context, VNG International has been successfully carrying out activities in Libya since 2012 in support of decentralization and governance. The focus of our work is on capacity development of local and national governments, implementation of pilot projects across municipalities, developing the capacity of civil society, and inclusively engaging citizens. Central to our approach in Libya is to facilitate locally driven initiatives while bringing the local and national level together, exemplified by our latest project, Improved Service Delivery at the Local Level (ISAL), in supporting the Women Elected Officials Network (WEON), the National Municipal Councils Association (NMCA) and the Ministry of Local Governance (MLG), together with the and the Centre International de Développement pour la Gouvernance Locale Innovante (CILG).

While aiming at increased capacities of Libyan public institutions at local and national level for effective service delivery while dealing with conflict, local capacities are strengthened to promote collaborative governance and inclusive participation in the transition process among the Libyan population through participatory policy making and civic engagement.

Key results of the VNG International in Libya with the Women Elected Officials Network (WEON):

  • Introducing gender mainstreaming and gender-responsiveness into national policies and the wider decentralization process
  • Training of elected women in communication, lobbying, and advocacy
  • Restructuring of the WEON, assisting the Network with their upcoming internal elections, establishing a statute for the institution
  • Supporting the implementation of an Action Plan and roadmap for the Network
  • Development of a gender mainstreaming strategy and action plan for the Network
  • Workshops and trainings based on needs of the Network in communications and media
  • Developing a lobbying and advocacy strategy to endorse women representativity in municipal councils, and for better gender inclusion in public spaces
  • Assisting with development of a strategy on women representativity
  • Successfully supporting the WEON in organizing a Statutory Conference and Internal Democratic Elections bringing together 75 women across Libya

Successful female leadership through Pilot Projects

The Libya Local Pilots Project of VNG International and CILG trained a female engineer and civil servant in charge of the GIS unit at the municipality of Souk el-Jomaa, Ms Afef Al Muntasser, to be a trainer on GIS. Then she conducted a training in the municipality of Misrata, for 11 male staff members on how to use GIS software like ArcGIS, ArcMap and databases like SQL servers, Access and more. Not only did the programme engrain the idea of colleague-to-colleague learning but it gave space to a female municipal official to be a leader in her domain of expertise. After the training, the Misrata municipality has appointed 3 women to their GIS unit. Click here for her testimonial.

In Traghen, VNG International and CILG launched a Centre for Women and Children. This centre strengthens the municipality's ability in providing and bringing services closer to women by creating a space to develop the capacities of women in various fields. It therefore enhances the capacities of women and integrating them into the labour market, for example by encouraging them to start their own business through trainings available at the Centre.