ERIS trains citizen observers in Libya

August 2012

ERIS has been working with the Abshar Foundation to train more than 200 former combatants across five Libyan cities, Benghazi, Misrata, Sabha, Tripoli and Zawiya. Read more in the Libya Herald (extract below).

The training programme itself focused on education about the election law – its components and implementation – as well as finance and the logistical aspect of how to organise a training centre. This included renting a building, making sure it was well-equipped with voting booths, ink,  markers, and electoral handbooks. The observers were also intructed on how to act in case of a violent outburst or emergency. They were given safety precautions and two hotlines to call for security. They were ordered to stay out of any physical conflict and instead write down whatever they observed.

For the militiamen involved, the experience has had a tranformative effect. “I chose to get involved for the betterment of my country”, says Amir Al-Furjani, a former revolutionary who fought in Bani Walid. “Everyone I know was excited about the elections, and this was a chance to make a real difference. We don’t want bloodshed anymore.”

Saif Alkomaitry, who was monitoring the elections in Sabha, where he fought during the revolution, says that the programme has helped to turn his life around. “I was unemployed before registering to do this, and I spent most of my time sleeping. By the end of the programme, I was training the other guys in my district. I feel that this is the right thing to do.”