Benghazi-Libya_Kids_Playground-USAIDphotoIn downtown Benghazi, a dark and deserted park is now bustling with life. Fathers and mothers bring their children to play on the new playground and enjoy the safe space. With four schools in the surrounding area, teachers now bring their students to the park for physical education classes.

The project was implemented by Ayadina, a women-led civil society organization that seeks to support and engage youth in Benghazi. The park and other projects to spark positive change are supported by the USAID.

Ayadina also spearheaded campaigns to clean up Benghazi’s littered beachfront, raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection, and distribute information on the development of Libya’s new constitution.

Last September, the group led a series of beach cleanups at four locations with help from dozens of Boy Scouts. Local businesspeople donated 40 metal garbage bins that were placed along the shorefront. The campaign spread to the sea as four scuba divers volunteered to collect waste underwater.

Ayadina uses such community improvement projects — and the media attention they attract — as a platform to promote civic engagement and political involvement. During the cleanup campaigns, for example, flyers were handed out with basic information on constitutional principles and processes prior to the election of a Constitution Drafting Assembly that will write Libya’s first new constitution in 40 years.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from community residents,” said Haneia Muftah Gamatti, chairperson of Ayadina. “I see the activity at the park and know that we have done something good that will contribute to improving Benghazi.”

Photo: Libya Transition Initiative 

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