FACT SHEET: LocalWorks in Bosnia and Herzegovina

USAID LocalWorks funding empowers local actors to take the lead in addressing their local development challenges.

A common observation about citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina is that they are apathetic and do little to improve their current situation or that of their communities. USAID believes this is a misnomer. Many citizens do participate in community development (albeit selectively), while many others would but they feel disempowered, disenfranchised, or disillusioned. Ironically, this is good news, because it means that the desire for change exists and local actors just need some support to capitalize on their desire and goodwill in a sustainable way. Strengthening community initiatives that bring citizens together to address concrete concerns and improve their neighborhoods, communities, cities, and, ultimately, their country is crucial to rebuilding their belief that their actions can, in fact, make all the difference.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), USAID’s LocalWorks Project supports local resource organizations to create and nurture more sustainable “self-help mechanisms” throughout the country, especially in areas where such mechanisms are not as readily available. Through this project, USAID will enable people to enrich their own communities and join current leaders in encouraging participatory and broad-based local development. 


In 2017, USAID/BiH started conducting extensive listening tours to learn about real community needs and the potential for developing a web-based network mapping platform and piloting a small-scale test version LocalWorks programming in BiH. USAID is also selecting local resource organizations and community philanthropy local partners. These areas of work are described below.


USAID formed an internal cross-office LocalWorks team (called ‘Snaga Lokalnog’ in local language) of foreign service nationals that regularly go into the field to meet with local stakeholders in various communities throughout the country. These listening tours help USAID get a sense of community needs, the stakeholders that exist, challenges that are outside the donor realm, and ideas that citizens and communities have for solving these issues themselves. 


In 2017, USAID engaged the U.S.-based organization Root Change to develop and launch an online platform. Today, that platform has mapped and linked more 1,000 local development actors through different networks. The platform helped USAID in planning and analysis for its early LocalWorks efforts, and now provides up-to-date information to guide project implementation. Root Change has since completed platform training and transferred platform’s administration rights to a selected local organization, the Peace Building Network. In July 2019, USAID/BiH awarded the Peace Building Network with a five-year grant to fully localize the platform, expand the number of engaged actors, and introduce new features, such as feedback surveys, a section on philanthropy, and an interactive donor directory.


In 2018, the USAID LocalWorks Pilot Project funded a local organization, Youth Development Institute KULT, to implement a pilot community-based assistance program in the three most neglected regions of BiH: Bihac and East and West Herzegovina. This activity will inform USAID future, larger-scale LocalWorks efforts and the results will be shared with future LocalWorks partners in BiH. 


In 2019, USAID began a procurement process for selecting Local Resource Organizations (LROs) that already provide resources and services to other local organizations and individuals to address community issues. LROs include but are not limited to NGOs, philanthropies, faith-based organizations, academic institutions, private companies, and professional associations. USAID plans to award up to 15 LRO grants during the life of this program. These grants will help the LROs act as resource hubs in their respective communities.


USAID plans to support existing local community foundations to expand and improve their local resource mobilization efforts and further promote community philanthropy in BiH. USAID is still in design phase for this phase of the program.


Last updated: October 30, 2019

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