In cooperation with the Community Partnership Team, officials in Tiji, Libya have been trained in conflict prevention, containment and resolution in order to manage conflicts between local militias to an end and, ultimately, enable prolonged, sustainable peace.
Since 2011, Libya has been gripped by a state of protracted conflict. Although there were hopes that the quick fall of Muammar Qaddafi would bring peace to the country, weak governance, political instability, divergent international interests and militia impunity have all contributed to the sad state of affairs today. Numerous attempts and initiatives at building peace at the top levels of governance have been unsuccessful, leaving civil society organisations such as the Community Partnership Team in Tiji to attempt a more bottom-up approach.
Located in western Libya, near the Tunisian border, Tiji is relatively far away from the main centres of conflict between Libya’s two governments, as well as ISIS militants. However, the town is still subject to significant tensions between rival militias, especially due to tribal and ethnic affiliations. Due to the localised nature of the conflict, the authorities here have sought a different way of conflict resolution, aimed at defusing and containing tensions via mediation.
This is where the work of the Community Partnership Team comes in. It’s main goal is to teach the municipal officials of Tiji to prevent conflict escalation. They do so by teaching the officials about the concepts of conflict management and resolution, as well as different methods on how to deal with conflicts. They are then taught on how to plan and implement local development plans so that the peace efforts result in tangible dividends. During the workshop, teams were formed to contain crises and trained in different ways. In order to help the teams identify the right ways to deal with conflict, the teams in question were put through scenarios and simulations resembling real-life conflicts. Ultimately, it is hoped that these mediation and conflict-resolution efforts can serve as the foundation for prolonged peace in the region and increased local development.
It remains to be seen if these methods applied in Tiji will bring peace to the region. If successful, Libyan political leaders would be well-advised to apply such methods in more volatile conflict zones such as Tripoli, Sirte and Benghazi.