In honor of Women’s History Month, NDI-Libya is proud to present profiles of Libyan women who have made an impact in NDI-Libya’s programs and their respective communities. These women have demonstrated exceptional courage in their plight for peace, equality, and human rights – often risking their lives and making tremendous sacrifices. These eight women are recognized for their powerful roles in Libya’s transition toward reconciliation and stability
Laila Baddah - Activist
After suffering from a health crisis that resulted in quadriplegia, Laila did not give up. Despite being in a wheelchair and needing oxygen cylinders to breathe, she obtained her master’s degree and became the first woman with a disability to apply for a position in a municipal council in Libya. Following this, she earned her doctorate degree in Indonesia and, upon her return to Libya, became the first female teaching staff member in a wheelchair. Despite her disability, she has continued to be a social worker in many schools, providing advice and guidance in youth education. Due to her hard work and dedication, Laila was honored by her city and was chosen, along with five others, as “best social worker” in her municipality. Within NDI’s program in Libya, Laila plays a major role in the "Access Campaign," which aims for accessibility at university polling stations and equal representation in political participation for persons with disabilities (PWDs). She currently works at the University of Sabratha, in addition to working as a consultant in the Ministry of Women's Affairs.
Fariha Omar - Lawyer & Politician
Fariha was elected in 2014 to the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) for the Ajdabiya district and served as a member of both the Legislative and Constitutional Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. She was also selected as part of the Parliamentary Law Drafting Committee within the HoR. Currently, within the HoR she supports the development of political blocs, and particularly the creation of a women's bloc so women representatives have a platform to present their projects and ideas. As a woman member of parliament (MP), Fariha received technical assistance from NDI to further pursue her goals.
Amal Barka - Activist & Peacebuilder
Amal was an esteemed activist and peacebuilder who advocated for and supported the safe return of people to Tawergha, a town that was the site of intense fighting during the Libyan civil war. She, along with her colleague Asya Al-Shwehdi, established a community-led, peacebuilding team between the women of Misrata and Tawergha, creating a bridge between the two cities. Amal worked to combat hate speech and unite the two cities, which had been in conflict with each other. She established the first grocery store in Tawergha to foster the return of the city’s residents, many who had been displaced during the war. Furthermore, Amal played a pivotal role in spreading awareness of how displacement and difficult living conditions have led to increased underage marriage. To further support the return of Tawergha residents, Amal facilitated the work of the Tracing Authority of Missing People into Tawergha, which was previously prevented from operating in the city. She also participated in the reopening of the coastal road, which links Libya east to west. She tragically died in a car accident last year, but her work in support of Tawergha’s residents lives on.
Asya Al-Shwehdi - Activist & Peacebuilder
Asya is a Libyan activist for peace and reconciliation and a supporter of women’s empowerment. She is the head of the Libyan Women Team of Peace in Misrata and Tawergha. Working alongside her colleague, Amal Barka, she supported the return of residents to Tawergha as well as the opening of a grocery store. Asya and Amal held many discussion sessions between the citizens of Misurata and Tawergha in support of coexistence and security. Asya is also a founding member of the NDI-assisted “30% Quota” campaign, which seeks to obtain a thirty percent quota for women in all governmental positions.
Rabia Aburas - Member of Parliament, Peacebuilder & Activist
Rabia, an Amazigh woman, is a civil rights activist and peacebuilder. She is a founder of a civil rights organization, “For You Libya,” that was instrumental in transforming the armed civil war to a peaceful movement. She was the only woman part of the negotiations committee that led to the 2020 cease-fire agreement between warring parties. In this role, Rabia supported the inclusion of transitional justice and women’s rights into the road map for Libya’s future. Rabia continues to fight for human rights and peace as an elected Member of Parliament (MP) with the support of NDI’s programmatic work.
Mona Al Sariz - Activist & Youth Leader
Mona is a law student, journalist, and a trailblazer in the movement to empower youth in Libyan society. She is a leader in her university’s debate club, is involved in an election monitoring group, and contributes to awareness-raising campaigns about the spread of mis/disinformation in elections. She leads training sessions for youth on dialogue and debate as part of NDI’s “Voice of Change” university debate project. Mona hopes to build a supportive environment for youth to engage in critical political and social conversations.
Ghada Kadiki - Doctor, Humanitarian, Medical Researcher & Political Candidate
Ghada is a doctor and a published author of several research papers on COVID-19. She serves her community as the head of the Benghazi Medical Corps and by providing pro bono medical care in camps for internally displaced persons and at field clinics to support PWDs. Ghada also trains mothers in emergency first aid methods and teaches english to children in the displaced community of Tawergha residents. Beyond her medical work, she serves as a project manager for a university debate club and plans to run for office in the next round of municipal council elections in Benghazi, in which she receives support from NDI.
Entisar Al Jario - Activist & Political Candidate
Entisar is a community activist focused on women's rights in Libya. She heads the “Women's Forum for Development Organization,” a civil society organization that focuses on empowering women politically, economically, and socially. Entisar is a leader in many campaigns that work to incorporate women's issues in the constitution, strengthen the role of youth in conflict resolution, and support women leaders. With support and training from NDI, she is running for parliament and is working to support municipal council elections in her hometown of Zawiya.
NDI's engagement in Libya is implemented with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
NDI is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that works in partnership around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms and values to secure a better quality of life for all. NDI envisions a world where democracy and freedom prevail, with dignity for all.