Libya: Training and capacity Building Workshops for CSOs 2019-2020

NPWJ organises workshops to support Libyan human rights advocates in their self-organisation, coalition-building, advocacy and campaigning. The participatory workshops are tailored to meet the specific needs of Libyan human rights advocates and directed towards achieving concrete goals, such as the development of action plans to engage with Libyan and international human rights actors, including the UN Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Based on the results of the NGOs mapping study mentioned above, NPWJ adjusted its capacity building program accordingly. Three training sessions on the United Nations Security Council’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) and three other training sessions on the CRC and on advocacy and networking for the protection of the rights of the child were organised between January 2019 and February 2020 for local NGOs. These trainings benefited more than 60 Libyan activists representing more than 30 different local NGOs coming from all geographical areas in Libya.
In February 2020, NPWJ organised the seventh workshop for 22 participants selected from the previous workshops. The “Advanced course for Libyan civil society organisations on networking and advocacy for children’s rights” aimed at providing the necessary knowledge and skills on lobbying, advocacy and networking in the field of children's rights. 
Initially planned to be held in Libya, as all activities under the project, these training workshops were eventually held in Tunis and Hammamet (Tunisia). This decision was made in coordination with UNICEF following a security risk assessment. Indeed, since April 2019, hostilities have been concentrated around Tripoli with a declared intention on the part of the forces under Hafter’s control to take control of the capital. Air attacks and rocket launches, including against Miitigua Airport, increased before the Berlin conference of January 2020.
Three Workshops on International Mechanisms for Protecting Children's Rights

  1. From 24 to 28 of June 2019: 22 participants, including 5 women
  2. From 25 to 27 of January 2020: 22 participants, including 6 women
  3. From 31 January to 2 February 2020: 24 participants, including 13 women

Each of these training courses lasted for four days and was designed to provide participants representing various NGOs with the skills and techniques needed to write parallel reports to the CRC and to encourage them in networking and establishing sustainable coordination mechanisms. In this regard, NPWJ’s trainers addressed several themes such as the international human rights mechanisms and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, focused on the general measures, the special protection, the content and the methodology of writing alternative reports and advocacy strategies.
These workshops ended up with important and positive results, as follows:

  • Participants expressed their willingness to work together in the preparation of draft shadow reports to the CRC,
  • They agreed on the need to establish “the Libyan network for the protection of the child”. The network would be in charge of preparing shadow reports and undertaking advocacy campaigns for the protection of children (including recruitment of children in armed groups, violence against children, protection of IDPs, unaccompanied children, refugees, migrants and children of asylum seekers).

Three workshops on the monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM)

  1. From 29 to 30 June 2019: 22 participants
  2. From 28 to 29 January 2020: 22 participants
  3. From 3 to 4 of February 2020: 24 participants

The “Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms on Grave Violations against Children in Situations of Armed Conflict workshop” was a two-day training aimed at familiarising participants with the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM)[1] as developed by the UN Security Council. The workshop was designed to encourage participants to cooperate with the MRM mechanism through the creation of voluntary focal points and coordination with the objective to prevent and protect children from violations of their rights, in particular, the six grave violations. According to a pre-workshop survey, the participants did not have any knowledge of the MRM prior to their participation.
Throughout these training workshops, participants had the opportunity to exchange with high-level personalities such as Ms Laila Zarrougui, current Head of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who joined via video-conference from Kinshasa and shared her experience as former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict from 2012 to 2017 about the MRM background, its importance as a tool to protect children from being involved in armed conflict; Dr Hatem Kotrane, former member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child; Dr Fethi Jarray, former Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Committee on the Prevention of Torture in Tunisia; Mr Bassam Aisha, international expert on children’s rights; and and other experts.
Advanced course for Libyan civil society organisations on networking and advocacy for children’s rights (6-7 February 2020, 22 participants)
Twenty-two participants from the six previous workshops were selected to participate in this advanced course. The selection was made on the basis of criteria that took into account the profile of the participants and the profile of their organization, an evaluation of the participant's involvement in the previous courses, the ability of their organisations to play a leading role in advocating, monitoring and reporting activities on violations committed against children. Geographical and gender balance were taken into account in the final selection of the participants.
The specific objectives of the training were:

  • Providing participants with the skills and information necessary to develop a reference framework for establishing a network to protect children's rights;
  • Providing participants with the skills and information needed to plan awareness and advocacy campaigns on children's rights;
  • Enhancing the attitudes of the participants towards the importance of coordination, networking and advocacy; and
  • Motivating and encouraging participants to establish a network to protect children's rights in Libya.

The workshop created a unique opportunity for a discussion between activists on the need for networking and its importance in monitoring violations against children's rights and advocacy, especially in light of the current war context that prevents the activists and organisations from meeting inside Libya. A safe and neutral space like the one created by NPWJ was necessary to discuss and debate sensitive subjects such as the scale and seriousness of the violations against children and the importance of the exchange of information and expertise.
The discussion naturally extended to training topics such as public awareness-raising, mobilising public opinion and advocacy for the development of national legislation and policies, and the establishment and strengthening of partnership and networking mechanisms.

[1] In 2005, with the adoption of resolution 1612, the Security Council took the unprecedented step of establishing a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations committed against children in times of armed conflict (Killing and maiming of children;, Recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups; Sexual violence against children; Attacks against schools or hospitals; Abduction of children; information gathered through the MRM is used in United Nations reporting, including the annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict and country-specific reports of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict. These reports can trigger action by the Security Council and other actors.