Rose Partners has been delivering a diverse range of activities of Libya as part of a capacity and capability development and reform programme, which would likely not be successful without getting boots on the ground.

Even without the circumstances surrounding Covid-19, being able to get a sufficient number of people in-country can be difficult. With more than 50 staff from Rose Partners in Libya at the peak of our activities in the last few months, getting people in and out of the country has been one of our biggest challenges as a company.

‘We hear on a daily basis from the Libyan Ministry of Interior, and the other ministries and brigadiers they deal with, is they want Libyans trained in Libya – they don’t want to be sending their staff to Tunisia or Turkey, they want them trained in the circumstances they’ll be operating in,’ said Rose Partners’ Simon Crane.

As one of two Project Delivery Leads, Simon has been responsible for ensuring the delivery of Rose Partners’ project work in Libya, managing a team of subject matter experts in pulling together counter-terrorism, intelligence, training and serious organised crime strategies.

‘We have the capability to facilitate that and we’ve been able to deliver more than 100 days’ worth of training, tailor-made to the needs of the Libyan people and the Ministry of Interior.

‘This means we’ve had to go through a strict testing regime to ensure the safety of our people as well as that of the Libyans.’

Understanding Libyan culture

With overcoming the hurdle of getting boots on the ground, it’s important to assimilate to the local culture. Our team have been vocal about the Libyans’ appetite for change, but this has very much needed to be a two-way street in order to develop a productive relationship.

‘We’re very lucky that our subject matter experts have a wealth of experience in the Middle East, from Iraq and Afghanistan to Oman and Jordan, and we’re sensitive to the cultural differences in each location.

‘Libya has more of a cosmopolitan way of life in comparison to other Middle Eastern nations and they understand the café culture that we enjoy.

‘We’ve got men and women on the team who appreciate we can’t just impose ideas based on what’s worked previously – they’re able to communicate with the Libyans on their level and work with them to develop the right solutions.

‘There’s a huge amount of tactical and strategic planning that goes into these projects and understanding the local culture is a significant component of that.’

International stakeholder engagement

While Rose Partners is uniquely positioned with its ability to get people in-country, there are a number of international partners that are having to conduct training externally. As such, there is a significant coordination and management piece involved in the project delivery to make sure there is no duplicated effort, as well as ensuring that training and equipment the Libyans’ receive is fit-for-purpose and appropriate for their needs.

Building this relationship with the international community, including bodies such as the European Union Border Assistance Mission [EUBAM], United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and the International Committee of Missing Persons [ICMP], is at the heart of the work we do. It enables us to showcase the Libyans’ potential, encouraging organisations to return to the country and ingrain trust in the government.

‘Everyone I’ve spoken to who’ve been delivering training and mentoring programmes have been massively impressed by the Libyans’ capability’, Simon added. ‘If we can demonstrate this to the international community and increase their confidence in the MoI, the situation can significantly improve and make Libya much more prosperous.’

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