The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to Libya, Mr. Marc-André Franche (left) and the Head of the Project Management Department, Mr. Mr. Osama Alkiza (right) cut the ribbon during the inauguration ceremony of the newly renovated handball court in Benghazi. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/AbdulSalam Abu Baker

Benghazi, Libya- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to Libya, Mr. Marc-André Franche and the Head of Project Management Department of Benghazi Municipality, Mr. Osama Alkiza, inaugurated  the indoor handball court at the Sports City in Benghazi recently renovated with the support from the European Union (EU).

The facility used to host sport events including handball, table tennis, and boxing. It was severely damaged during the crisis. It closed its doors due to lack of maintenance, and events that were bringing people together around culture and sports could only take place in outdoors areas.

The infrastructure has undergone a substantial renovation as part of the EU funded "Baladiyati" programme implemented by UNDP, the Italian Development Agency AICS, and UNICEF.  

The civil work generated 28 temporary jobs and included the renovation of the handball court, referee room, change rooms, and shower rooms, among other. The renovated facilities will be used by about 6,000 members (including 1,200 women) of the local handball federation, sport clubs, referees as well as spectators. 

This initiative is part of the broader support to the municipality of Benghazi under UNDP’s Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery Programme, providing further momentum for the reconstruction of the city and revamping local economic recovery. 

During the ceremony, Mr. Osama Alkiza, Head of Project Management department stated: "The war caused a lot of damage to the city of Benghazi including the Sports city and all the facilities that were benefiting all residents. The rehabilitation of the handball court is the first spark to launch the development of the entire Sports City. Benghazi Municipality is working on providing basic services to its residents and will continue working with partners including UNDP Libya to better serve its constituent. We are grateful for the support."

On his part, Mr. Khamees Almograbi, President of Handball Union- Benghazi declared: "The Handball court was completely destroyed. After seven months of continuous hard work, it is now fully rehabilitated. We are grateful to all those who worked on this project with special thanks to Benghazi municipality and UNDP Libya programme."  

The Ambassador of the European Union to Libya, H.E. José Antonio Sabadell, stated: "Youth empowerment is a top priority for the EU. The Baladiyati programme is, among other things, working to unleash their potential to become actors of positive change in their communities I am happy to see the opening of the handball facility that might be able to give Benghazi’s youth hope for a better future." 

Mr. Marc-André Franche, UNDP Resident Representative said : "It is time for peace and development in Libya. I am confident this facility will contribute to that, providing a safe space for young people to share values and a team spirit that will enable them to enjoy a happy life. ".                                      

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The EU’s Baladiyati €50 million “Recovery, Stability and Socio-economic Development Programme” currently works with 24 municipalities across Libya with the aim to improve people’s access to quality public services such as education, health, water and sanitation. Baladiyati is implemented by the Italian development agency AICS, UNDP and UNICEF. It is the largest programme ever financed by the European Union in direct support of Libyan municipalities and of some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

The programme in Libya is funded by the European Union through the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, to improve living conditions and build resilience among vulnerable populations, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees and host communities.

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