FACT SHEET: Supporting Youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Youth are an enormous resource for development and a key component for peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Decisions they make and opportunities they have for education, training, employment, and civic participation will affect their country’s development outcome for years to come. But youth face significant challenges to participating in democratic and economic processes in BiH. USAID supports BiH youth from different ethnic backgrounds through a spectrum of activities to engage them in developing their communities and country.
 
Our programs provide them with economic opportunities to address widespread unemployment and increase their civic participation in political and community spheres to help them develop their voices, connect, and be heard. Some of these programs are described below.
 
Reconciliation/Conflict Mitigation  
 
• The Education for a Just Society project is changing the educational system to reflect a vision of a society that promotes peace and reconciliation and encourages all children to envision and build peaceful futures. Participants will become leaders and provide the scaffolding for systemic change.
• USAID’s project, Trust-Understanding-Responsibility for the Futurerebuilds trust and confidence among citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, with a special focus on BiH youth, by providing opportunities for BiH leaders and citizens to change their own beliefs and attitudes and then transform their communities. 
• The Peace Education on Location project is organizing travelling schools in three regions to promote reconciliation among youth of different ethnic, political, and religious backgrounds and allay the harsh attitudes that instigate conflict. 
• The Choosing Peace Together project promotes inter-ethnic youth cooperation by creating more positive attitudes toward reconciliation at the grassroots level.  
• The Peacing the Future Together program supports youth in ethnically mixed communities through organized “youth banks” that provide hands-on opportunities to build project management skills while working on youth-led initiatives, boosting their confidence as leaders and agents of social change. 
 
Civic Participation
 
• The Strengthening Accountability of Women and Young Political Leaders program empowers youth to take more active roles in BiH political processes and helps create a new and more accountable generation of political leadership.   
• The Strengthening Independent Media program provides media programming assistance to expand access to ideas and perspectives on many issues, with a strong focus on youth needs and interests.  
 
Workforce Development and Entrepreneurship 
 
• The Growth-Oriented Local Development project works with local development agencies, municipal youth departments, technical colleges, schools and institutes to identify and implement vocational education programs to train youth in skills suitable to the local economy. 
• The Fostering Interventions for Rapid Market Advancement project increases youth entrepreneurship and employment in the wood, metal, and tourism sectors by connecting young designers to companies, supporting student exhibits at global fairs, and improving school curricula to enhance workforce skills.
• The Student Entrepreneurship program encourages youth to build their future in BiH by helping university students develop and implement their business plans.
• The Youth Building Futures in Brcko District program brings together multi-ethnic teams of marginalized youth through technical skills training and shared efforts to improve the community.   
 
For more information:
Ela Challenger, Deputy Director
USAID/BiH Program Office 
Tel: +387 (0) 33 704 211
 

Last updated: April 30, 2014

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