UN-Habitat brings back the life to the “Clothes Market -Souk El Albisah” in Tripoli
Souk El Albisah, a clothes market spreading over 400 ,m is considered one of the most popular markets in Bab Tebbane Tripoli. Advantageously located on Syria Street and stretching all the way to Abu Ali River, this clothes market is a destination for vulnerable people coming from Tripoli and neighbouring areas. The market comprises a narrow street lined with 160 tiny shops, in addition to dozens of vendors spreading their goods along the sidewalks. The market has been suffering from various physical problems that reduced the number of clients and affected its economic activity. One of the shop owners and local committee members mentioned that “Living conditions, in general, are not good and this is due to many factors. We are sure that this rehabilitation will lead to different improvements such as increasing the number of customers and improving the tourism”.
Improving the socio-economic situation of poor population profiting from the market (merchants or clients) and enhancing the level of hygiene and safety within the market space were the main aims of the project. Thus, the Market was rehabilitated and upgraded through addressing its main problems such as ventilation, accessibility, walkability, and safety.
So far, UN-Habitat has implemented various interventions to tackle the problems mentioned above by installing exhaust fans to relieve the excessive heat; adding metal bollards in the Souk’s entrance to prevent the motorized entrances; elevating the sidewalks to limit the expansion of shops; and adding portable toilets.
Prior to the design of intended activities, several discussions and consultations with the main market stakeholders on needs and problems were initiated. Local committee members, shop owners, and market visitors were interviewed by the Regional technical office of El Fayhaa Union of Municipalities (RTO) who is responsible for monitoring the work progress and assessing the satisfaction of the market stakeholders during the implementation of the project. One customer stated that “The project will facilitate our movement in general especially during hot summer. Also, we as visitors coming from far neighbourhoods have been always suffering from the lack of toilets and now the problem was solved”.
The physical interventions in the market were handled and completed by UN-Habitat in collaboration with Tripoli municipality and other stakeholders. Moreover, UTOPIA the active local NGO present in Tripoli is taking charge of the community mobilization and awareness campaign. The awareness campaign covers the solid waste management topic, thus, several meetings with the concerned and responsible company (LAVAJET) took place in presence of the municipality, the local committee, and the RTO in order to develop a roadmap for the waste management in the Market.
Therefore, a MoU between the listed stakeholders was signed mentioning clear instructions to be followed by LAVAJET and the municipality in order to keep the market hygienic and clean. The municipality representative cited “We are ready to cooperate to keep the market clean because it is very important to enhance the level of hygiene for both the visitors and the owners”.
The Solid waste awareness campaign will target the shop owners as well as the visitors and the Market residents, through actively changing the behaviors and practices of Market users.
This project, which is part of UN-Habitat’s Regional Public Space Programme, coordinated by UN-Habitat Regional Office for the Arab States, has brought back life to the Market, and everyone is enthusiastic and impatiently waiting to see the impact during the busiest period in the year – Ramadan-. Following this period, a big placemaking event will be organized and will last for one week.