Religious and cultural barriers, as well as war-related restrictions on women’s freedom of movement, hinder women’s ability to join the workforce in Libya. We interview the resilient Layal Shuaib, a 29 year old Libyan woman who has applied to three different client projects with CTG, and has just recently been accepted for a Monitoring and Evaluation Enumerator role.
When did you realise you wanted to do humanitarian work?
When the war broke out in my country, I witnessed the displacement of people and how unfair it was. I felt strongly that I needed to get involved. At the time, I was studying as a medical student and I started going to hospitals to help with the wounded and war victims; the hospitals were severely short of medical staff.
I decided to join a group of charities and volunteered to support both the displaced and immigrants as their situation went from bad to worse. I realised that I really enjoyed this kind of work; when I helped children and saw the joy on their faces it had a massive impact on me.
Then I had the opportunity to work with an international organisation and travel with them to the deepest point in the desert to reach the most vulnerable people. It was not easy for a young woman to do this. At first, I did not ask for consent to move and work away from home. Everyone objected to it.
How can a woman work and take risks like this?
Nobody approved because the situation was so insecure. It was not easy to challenge society’s way of thinking because the general belief remains that women shouldn’t be allowed to do this kind of work. This is what everyone told me; this was the criticism I received.
All I wanted to do was help immigrants in need, especially children and women. The conditions there were very difficult as they had endured so much trauma. I could’ve given up and listened to the criticism but my determination to support women in need was my strongest motive. And I was able to do this. I conducted many awareness sessions to educate women on various important matters. It was a huge challenge for me initially, since many of these women were so despondent at first.
How was your experience with the CTG recruitment process?
I wanted to continue in this line of work and applied for a job through CTG’s website. I follow CTG on social media and loved the work that they were doing and stories they were sharing. After seeing a job advertisement online, I applied for a few jobs and unfortunately wasn’t successful. I remember when the CTG Libya team contacted me, I told them that I felt like I should stop applying since I was getting so many rejections. They encouraged me to keep going as they would continue to work to find the right fit for me. This inspired me not to give up.
After four months of job hunting my application was successful, and I was hired as a Monitoring and Evaluation Enumerator. I feel so proud to be an aid worker and that I’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in fragile communities. Having CTG here in Libya is a strong source of support.
The best thing about the CTG recruitment process is the credibility, transparency, and their support for women.
Words aren’t enough for me to express my gratitude. I am very grateful for their guidance and encouragement.
Any advice for other women wanting a job in the humanitarian sector or as a Monitoring and Evaluation Enumerator?
There are still many people in my society who believe that it is unacceptable for a woman to have a paid job outside the home. Career progression is harder for young female professionals, so my advice to them is to not give up. The right job is out there for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
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