A new chapter in Libya: Tadamon expansion
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the delivery of public services in Libya and the decades-long conflict and political crisis is compounding unemployment and instability in the country. Supported by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), SPARK extends the Tadamon programme to Libya to ignite the ambition of young Libyans.
Since 2011, Libya has experienced various waves of conflict, which have caused a complicated socio-political situation. In October 2020, all parties initiated an agreement to start peacebuilding and unification steps. The COVID-19 pandemic, as in many places, has impacted the delivery of public services and tremendously affected the economy in the country. According to the World Bank, 20% of young people aged 15-24 are unemployed in Libya, compared with the global average of 13%.
The IsDB and ISFD, SPARK, as well as a group of expert Libyan partners, are providing sustainable economic opportunities for 7,000 young people, women and refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The programme has a particular focus on growing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the health sector, which has been deeply affected by the protracted crisis. Vulnerable people will be supported into jobs or entrepreneurship through business skills courses, technical assistance, access to markets and finance opportunities.
SPARK’s Tadamon programme has been active in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq for many years and will now expand to Libya and Somalia/Somaliland. The programme centres on health in emergencies and on supporting MSMEs to sustain business and grow despite the pandemic. It also includes supplying protection equipment to health facilities, giving psycho-social counselling, and conducting higher and vocational training for medical staff and youth.
“The Tadamon project aims to provide the best possible services to equip young people with the skills and capacities to mitigate the COVID-19 impact but, most importantly, aspire to start and grow their economic activities and ensure decent conditions to thrive in a challenging social and economic environment,” said Mourad Hentati, Regional Programme Director for North Africa at SPARK.
Supporting health related companies
The one year programme’s focus is on supporting at least 45 MSMEs in the health sector by giving short skills courses surrounding emergencies and COVID-19, as well as supporting their recovery from the pandemic. Moreover, it aims to provide entrepreneurship training for 50 women and youth to acquire sustainable employment, and scale up a further 90 MSMEs through technical assistance and access to market and finance opportunities.
SPARK in Libya
SPARK’s former work in Libya between 2016-18 through the Local Employment in Africa for Development (LEAD) programme focused on youth and existing small businesses. MSMEs developed the skills needed to navigate their way to growth. Hiba, one participant of the former LEAD programme, progressed as a fashion designer and launched a hijab wear business and began teaching fashion design to students. Doing so has created jobs for other women in her area. “I advise all Libyan women to be more ambitious and more interested in what she likes because this will benefit her and the society she lives among,” said Hiba.
Sustainable job opportunities were created for some young people but much of the efforts were hampered by intense conflict throughout the implementation period. SPARK is delighted to be returning to Libya with knowledge, partners and renewed ambitions to support more youth to succeed in entrepreneurship.
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