By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, July 8 2013:
The New Libya Foundation (NLF), an organisation dedicated to the cultivation and development of civil . . .[restrict]society organisations (CSO), has launched a Civil Society Incubator Centre (CSIC) in Gergaresh, Tripoli. The Libyan International Telecommunication Company (LITC) sponsored the centre, which aims to be a “hub for civil society activity”.
After seeing the success of business incubators abroad first hand, NLF co-founder Iya Khalil, thought of applying a similar model to benefit local CSOs, and provide them with a milieu to network, share knowledge and implement projects.
The NLF first opened an incubator in Misrata (IC) in April, as an extension to the Leadership in Civil Society (LCS) programme. Positive feedback on the IC, spurred the foundation to open a full service centre in Tripoli, complete with support staff, offices, meeting rooms, computer lab and Internet access.
Yet, the CSIC is much more than office space, looking at the two membership packages available, English classes, networking events and Quick Impact Projects, are listed. Part-time membership is priced at 100LD for six months, while the full-time membership with added benefits such as monthly workshops, comes to 600LD for six months.
Rihab Belhaj, NLF president and co-founder, told Libya Herald, that fostering trust among CSOs is an important objective at CSIC. Increasing trust can facilitate better collaboration between the different organisations, which will in turn positively impact the communities and causes the CSOs work for.
In a country like Libya, which has been described as “ground zero” for civil society, developing trust and synergy, can take considerable time. Particularly coming out of an “autocratic setting” said Belhaj, the concept of cooperating is novel for many. Individuals have been conditioned to be suspicious of one another and this hinders effective work. Through the Incubator, NLF hopes to break down these barriers and promote an “alternative behavior” and advance the needs of CSOs. Instead of competing against each other, organisations should learn to work well together, added Belhaj.
Those seeking membership in the CSIC, must be registered CSOs and through their applications should demonstrate the value they can add to the centre. Whether it be through projects completed, planned projects, funding, sponsorship, number of members and several other criteria. The full application can be found on the Incubator Center’s Facebook page . Applicants are being processed on a first-come-first-served basis, as spaces are limited. [/restrict]