Our 14 target municipalities in Libya (in the West, East, and South) have approached us to support them during the Covid-19 crisis. These requests vary from support in setting up procedures for such a crisis to healthcare equipment, and we felt the urgency to provide some kind of support for these municipalities in need. We therefore decided to dedicate a small portion of our project budget for such support for small-scale interventions to increase the capacity of those municipalities in their Covid-19 crisis response. Such interventions are also linked to our project objective that Libyan public institutions at national and local level demonstrate increased capacities to improve the environment for effective service delivery.
The role of local governments in crisis management is important as they play a central role in ensuring service delivery as well as enforcing restrictions to mitigate the crisis on the local level. Libyan local governments are already actively taking up these responsibilities, but are unfortunately missing the knowhow and the means. VNG International has ample experience in building up capacity of local governments worldwide with regard to crisis management, while we also have access to benchmarking as to how local governments around the world are dealing with crisis through our CIB platform. We will build on that to ensure effective small-scale interventions responding to the needs of the ISAL municipalities to deal with the Covid-19 crisis in Libya.
Since the 18th of March 2020, we are in regular contact with two key actors in Libya working to contain the Covid-19 pandemic to discuss how we can intervene to support efforts of local authorities, including representatives from the WHO in Libya, and the National Center for Communicable Disease Control.
We concluded that there is a need for:
- Supporting the municipal emergency committees by providing training and/or advice in crisis management as well as raising public awareness around the pandemic, including the use of media to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Libya.
- Supporting the medical and paramedical teams through providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and isolation rooms. We therefore prepared a list of the most important PPE required for front-line medical staff together with these two key actors.
We have set up a Facebook group for our target locations to be able to communicate and share their experiences and concerns in handling the crisis, as well as receive advice from our experts who are also member of this group. These experts are providing technical support, in particular in ensuring the continuation of service delivery during the crisis. The page is also used to share communication materials for awareness raising on the local level. For example, the municipalities can make use of flyers or other materials to make sure citizens are aware of the need for social distancing.
So far, we have been able to deliver PPE to the municipalities of Mrada, Dirj, Wazen, Wadi Bawanis Shahhat, and Brega. The municipalities expressed gratitude and appreciation of this support under the current circumstances. It is planned that the remaining 8 target municipalities will also receive the PPE in the coming days.