As governments around the world rush to combat the spread of COVID-19, conflict-affected countries remain particularly vulnerable to its impacts. In Libya, NDI’s partner civil society organizations (CSOs) have risen to the occasion amidst ongoing violence, demonstrating the positive impacts of a robust and effective civil society. By applying skills that these organizations learned through NDI trainings, they have launched a variety of awareness-raising and advocacy activities to positively impact Libya’s public health.
Social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and effective handwashing, are all examples of public health warnings that have been proven to slow the spread of the virus. In order to ensure that such warnings reach Libyans across the country and to encourage adherence to them, CSOs have tapped into the social media skills that NDI worked with them to develop, using creative and engaging content to spread the word. Some organizations have created highly-effective pages dedicated solely to the propagation of this information, while others, like H2O, a youth-focused organization whose Facebook page has nearly 200,000 followers, are using their established social media presence to share engaging content about reducing exposure to the virus. Nascent political parties have created coronavirus-related social media campaigns, with one party having launched the “Stay at Home Program” to promote social distancing.
Online resources are being mobilized to reach marginalized communities as well. Inclusive information dissemination, such as awareness videos in sign language and public health materials in minority languages like Tamazight, are working to make important public health information accessible to all Libyans.
While virtual initiatives have been quite successful, some partners have chosen to take their efforts offline. Organizations are applying the same skills learned through NDI’s election-related “get out the vote” training to run phone banks and distribute leaflets door-to-door in order to reach those who may not be active on social media or do not have access to the internet.
In times of crisis, civil society engagement is more important than ever. In order to fight the spread of coronavirus in Libya, NDI’s CSO partners across Libya have adapted and applied their heightened advocacy and digital outreach skills in a diverse and impressive collection of initiatives. NDI is proud to partner with such proactive and determined groups, all committed to seeing Libya through these trying times to a positive future.
One of NDI’s partners CSOs, Zaikum Zaina, posted a public service announcement in sign language on
Facebook to ensure that those with hearing disabilities had the information that they need to stay safe.