Aid & Development

Volunteers In Sirte Rehabilitating Schools Damaged By War

North Africa

Volunteers and international organisations are helping to rebuild and restore educational institutions in the Libyan city of Sirte

It has been over a year since the militants affiliated with ISIS lost their last positions in the Libyan city of Sirte against the Government of National Accord (GNA). The liberation from the militants, however, came at a cost. Much of the city suffered heavy damage and it is still trying to recover and rebuild from.

Slowly, but gradually, however, the city is showing signs of improvements. Residents have been streaming back to their homes and reopening businesses in a bid to return the city to its pre-conflict state. As is the case in much of Libya, the importance of restoring educational institutions has become increasingly important here in Sirte. It has, after all, been some seven years since the Libyan protests began, turning into a brief civil war against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi. A new generation without memories of Qaddafi or the protest movement is growing up in Libya.

So far, educational initiatives in Sirte were done through the efforts of scattered volunteers, with little coordination. With limited resources at hand, these volunteers would hand out school supplies to students in need or undertake similar projects but did not have the means to perform any major reconstruction projects.

However, the Municipality of Sirte is taking an increasingly active role in coordinating the work needed, soliciting the assistance of international organisations and aid groups in the process. For instance, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been contracted to rebuild 12 schools and maintain eight of them. Five of these schools are now in working condition while work continues in the rest. Similarly, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been contracted to maintain 13 schools in cooperation with the Municipality of Sirte. UNICEF also launched a sanitation programme in these schools to keep students healthy.

These international organisations are working alongside other, smaller volunteer groups that have emerged in Libya since 2011. They hope that through their combined efforts, the new generation of Libyans can receive their education without interruption, helping lead their embattled country to a better tomorrow.