Mar 08, 2023 - Libya

Today is International Women’s Day! At VNG International, gender mainstreaming is essential in our programmes. We believe that involving citizens, men and women, in decision making is essential for good local governance, a basis for increased welfare and stability. On this occasion we would like to highlight the gender dimension in our ISAL programme in Libya.

ISAL seeks to improve local services and support local governance stakeholders. For this purpose, the program focused on individuals, especially women, striving to contribute to building a just and equal society. Mabrouka Gmati, a Traghen's Municipal Council member, is one of those individuals. Her dedication, openness, and visionary work actively led to the establishment the Women's Centre in the Municipality of Traghen.

The Traghen Women's Centre: From Libyan women to Libyan women 

The Traghen Women's Centre comes as a response to the needs of women in Traghen to gather, exchange knowledge, and discuss pressing issues. Councillor Mabrouka Gmati made this dream come true: "during the opening, women were happy that we took their recommendations into consideration and that what used to be mere ideas are now part of their lived realities," she says. The project of the women's centre is the product of a participatory ground-up approach that takes women's realities and needs as a starting point and aims at changing those realities for the better.

Women in decision-making positions lead to women-friendly decisions

It is without a doubt that Mabrouka Gmati's presence in the Municipal Council catalysed the establishment of the centre. It is yet another fact that further stipulates the need to support women in politics and decision-making positions at local level and national level. Indeed, Mabrouka was capable of changing her own reality, as well as the realities' of Traghen's women, by further pushing them into occupying a more prominent place in the public space, which has led the women's centre to be widely known across Libya, especially since it puts women on the path of becoming more autonomous. Supporting Mabrouka in this process was then essential to achieving this result.

The Traghen Women's Centre must not lose momentum

Although aware of her role in thinking and implementing the women's centre in Traghen, Mabrouka also carries the issue of sustainability upon her shoulders. For her and the women who benefit from the centre's activities and services, ensuring its sustainability is a top priority. This is why an agreement was written and signed to ensure the centre will remain operational, even if a different Municipal Council gets elected. Therefore, the centre aims to persist and, even better, be duplicated in other Libyan municipalities. 

The project created spaces and avenues for women's empowerment in local communities. 

"I managed to be financially independent, thanks to the support to start my project by the women's centre in Traghin"

 - Female participant, 45 years old, Traghin (FGD)

"For those who wanted to start projects and can't do them at home, they come to the centre and use it as their workspace."

 - Female participant, 35 years old, Traghin (FGD)

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