FACT SHEET: Strengthening Accountability of Women and Young Political Leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding:  $1,328,000*
Start Date:  September 2011
End Date:  December 2014
Implementing Partner: Council of Europe
* Council of Europe contributed $328,000 to this program.
 
The Challenge
The level of participation of women and youth in political and public life in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is very low. Although a limited number of women have achieved political power in BiH, they are still underrepresented in public life and in the government. Breaking into the party leadership is difficult for women, in particular, but for young people as well. Even though youth represent a significant part of the voter base in all parties, their presence in government bodies and participation in the decision-making process is minimal. 
 
Our Program
USAID’s program, Strengthening Accountability of Women and Young Political Leaders, increases engagement of women in political processes and helps develop a diverse, accountable generation of politicians by assisting women and young people from different parties and throughout BiH to become effective political leaders. The program increases their knowledge of politics, and provides them with opportunities to engage in the public and political life of BiH. The program will strengthen leadership skills and political awareness, and establish a network of early participants to open cross-party communication on issues important for BiH progress toward Euro-Atlantic integration.  
 
Implementation and Expected Results
In the run-up to the 2012 local elections, over 200 women decided, for the first time in their lives, to become candidates in local elections. Women’s representation improved during the 2012 local elections. According to official data, 507 women (17%) were elected as members of the municipal assemblies and municipal councils; 124 of these (24%) participated in the program. In addition, the quota in the BiH election law requiring at least 30% of those on party lists be women was increased to 40%. Building on the success of the 2012 election program, the Council of Europe (CoE) will use the 2014 general elections as an opportunity to empower youth and women to play more significant roles in the electoral and political processes.
 
In 2013 and 2014, this program will conduct a series of in-country trainings for young leaders from different BiH political parties through the CoE’s School of Political Studies to encourage dialogue, understanding and effective cooperation. Young political leaders will attend cross-party seminars on EU accession, economic and social development, international relations, leadership and management. Alumni of the program will convene to develop better interpersonal and cross-party relations. Women alumni trainers will form a group to mobilize women to vote and promote women candidates for the 2014 Elections. They will hold 180 workshops and thus reach up to 8,000 more women throughout BiH. After the 2014 elections, the number of women in state, entity, and cantonal parliaments is expected to increase. 
 
For more information:
Drazena Peranic, USAID/BiH Development Outreach and Communications Specialist
 

Last updated: November 27, 2013

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