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Basma empowers disaster responders in Libya

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Since the floods that devastated the city of Derna in Libya last September, Basma El-Werfally has been working with her team to provide support.

Chair of Meras Organisation for Development, a youth volunteer and development organisation, Basma lead a large campaign in the aftermath of the flood, giving food, household items, and other essentials to families who had lost everything. 

Founded in 2017 to strengthen the role of civil society in Libya, Meras usually focuses on capacity development, particularly of women and young people. Their first project strengthened social entrepreneurship among organisational leaders, and Meras went on to support capacities for various vulnerable groups affected by conflict, adopting projects for economic and political empowerment of women and young people. With several projects implemented with funding from the European Union and local partners, Meras aspires to implement many programs that enhance its role as a Libyan civil society organization contributing to achieving sustainable development in Libya.

Although Basma was experienced in working in contexts of conflict, the flood brought a new kind of disaster on an unprecedented scale. Alongside the challenges of the emergency response including lack of available data, security and political challenges, and a widespread lack of confidence in donor organisations, Basma and her team were also profoundly affected psychologically by the disaster. 

Although she is already an experienced coach and trainer, Basma had never worked in a humanitarian disaster of this kind. RedR’s Training of Trainers programme equipped Basma with the humanitarian knowledge she needed to train others, with the specific skills needed in emergency disaster response contexts. 

This training has supported Basma and her team with new capacity to respond to the floods disaster, with technical humanitarian knowledge. “Now, we are forming teams of disaster response trainers”, says Basma. “Many people are still very affected by the flood damage. In 2024 I’ll be providing much more training to empower people.  

“This training has directly given us the tools to develop our skills in this field. We will continue to respond.” 

Thanks for your support for RedR’s work in Libya, generously supported by FCDO and H2H. If you’d like to give financially to support this and similar projects for disaster-affected communities all over the world, you can do so here

Sign up for free, bitesize online training for disaster responders in Libya here.