On May 15-19, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) involved 11 women from across Libya in a workshop aimed at enhancing trainees’ capacity to spread Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) awareness messages in their home communities. This event was kindly supported by the Government of Switzerland, and implemented in partnership with the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.
UNMAS has launched this series of workshops in 2015, engaging a group of women active in civil society in different areas of Libya on four occasions. Each workshop expanded the participants’ knowledge of existing international SALW control standards, as well as of risks and mitigation measures. The project has also enabled these trainees to independently implement a variety of SALW risk awareness activities, from one-on-one sessions in households to lectures in public spaces and media. With this knowledge, the participants have enthusiastically continued to raise awareness in their communities on the safety challenge posed by SALW proliferation.
Referring to the widespread availability of SALW in Libya, a participant mentioned “It was like people woke up from one day to another with weapons everywhere, and no knowledge of how to handle them safely.” The lessons and best practices shared by the workshop trainees with hundreds of beneficiaries in their communities have the ability to mitigate the issue, and contribute to the reduction of accidents and casualties due to SALW misuse.
During the fourth workshop, participants discussed the design of risk awareness materials that will be procured by UNMAS to support follow on awareness campaigns at community level and country-wide.
A call for applications to participate in three new SALW awareness workshops for candidates age 18-29 is open until May 31, and is accessible here in