Marboua political café opens in Libya

Gender Concerns proudly launched its Marboua project in Libya on Monday, November 25th. Women of Tripoli and other areas of Libya now have a place to connect to establish a collective voice and strategies at the political café.

At the event to mark the opening, Gender Concerns Director Sabra Bano, said she was “happy to welcome attendees to a venue space in a post-revolution Libya where the issues affecting rights and empowerment can be discussed among like-minded women and men as well.” Ms. Bano thanked the Embassy of Switzerland in Libya that supports the Marboua concept, which was born from her positive experiences interacting at women's cafés in Amsterdam in the past decades.

The Swiss Ambassador, His Excellency, Mr. Ervin Hofer (in photo above centre), thanked Gender Concerns for the invitation to the opening event. Mr. Hofer said that he was pleased to share this experience, and that Libya needs a project like Marboua, helping enable political rights to women, supporting women in elections, community participation and related dialogue processes.

A panel of distinguished speakers joined in the opening to provide their thoughts on the value of the Marboua meeting place and how women can make a difference in Libya. Ms. Jamila Fillaghi, Deputy Minister, said, “Women have an extraordinary ability to restore social peace.”  And guest speaker Dr. Azza Al-Maghour, in her speech said, “Libya needs brave people. This is our logo, rebuild trust among ourselves. Marboua is founded for this purpose and it will have a cultural role.”

Ms. Nygat Siddique , Head of Gender Concerns in Libya, concluded the event by looking with optimism for prospect of peace and stability in Libya, and how gender-inclusive dialogue and representation can be key to realising this. Ms. Siddique extended a warm thanks to all in attendance for making the launch a success and stressed that, “Marboua is a space for dialogue for all!”

The Marboua project aims to connect women’s organisations through making a political café accessible to women (and men) from different backgrounds and groups. The Gender Concerns team in Libya will organise regular events and invite participation to increase stakeholder awareness of the situation of Libyan women, while also improving their security conditions through advocacy and political participation of women.