Due to the conflict that erupted in 2014, the city of Benghazi and its suburbs experienced heavy damage and almost complete evacuation. Al Sabri — one of the oldest and most populated areas of Benghazi — witnessed the most brutal shelling the neighbourhood has ever seen. Most of its infrastructure and buildings collapsed, forcing the temporary or permanent displacement of its entire population of almost 40,000 families.
Al Sabri is now in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction to ensure a dignified return for previously displaced families. To that end, ACTED has been implementing Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) with support from the UNHCR since 2017, with the goal of addressing the community’s primary needs while fostering social cohesion.
ACTED conducted a community-based participatory assessment in order to orient the selection of these small-scale projects based on the needs, priorities and ideas of Al Sabri residents. Through this assessment, the community has expressed concern about road safety. The absence of electricity in the neighbourhood results in traffic accidents on a regular basis. One local civil society actor proposed painting the edges of the sidewalks and installing small reflective lights to mitigate this safety hazard until street lighting is re-established in the neighbourhood.
On the road to rehabilitation
In an effort to improve road safety in Al Sabri, ACTED is collaborating with the Scout Movement of Libya. Together, we have been cleaning up the main roads of the neighbourhood, installing road signs and painting the sidewalks. Some reflective road signs (called cat’s eyes) were installed along damaged portions of the road to notify drivers. The aim of this project is to increase residents’ safety and to return a sense of normalcy to their lives after years of conflict and displacement.
ACTED’s QIPs have found notable success in Benghazi. Previous projects include providing water pumps in various neighbourhoods of the city to facilitate access to water for its residents, and the rehabilitation of a public park in the centre of town. Other QIPs will take place across Libya in the upcoming weeks in order to create a positive impact on the lives of residents of conflict-affected neighbourhoods.