FACT SHEET: Local Works in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

A common perception of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina is that they are apathetic and do little to improve their circumstances or their communities. We at USAID believe apathetic is a misnomer for BiH citizens. Many of them 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 merely need some support for their desire and goodwill to blossom into action. Strengthening community initiatives that bring citizens together to address concrete concerns and improve their neighborhoods, communities, cities, and, ultimately, their country is fundamental to reviving their belief that their actions can, in fact, make all the difference.


USAID Local Works funding helps countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina become self-reliant, ensuring that the investment of the American people results in long-term, sustainable development. For USAID, self-reliance begins with locally led development, wherein local actors take the lead in defining and addressing the development challenges in their own communities through inclusive and participatory activities. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, USAID’s Local Works programs will increase trust among local actors, vigorously mobilize available local resources, and develop local capacity for sustainable growth. 


USAID first formed an internal cross-office Local Works team (called ‘Snaga Lokalnog’ in local language) of foreign service nationals to meet with local stakeholders in various communities throughout the country. These ‘listening tours’ helped USAID get a sense of community needs, the stakeholders that exist, challenges that are outside the donor realm, and the ideas citizens and communities have for solving their own issues.  
As a result of this internal learning, USAID designed the interlinked program areas described below.


In July 2019, USAID awarded the Peace Building Network with a six-year grant to establish, strengthen, and consolidate a network of partners under the Mission’s Local Works program to empower local actors to better identify and address their own development challenges. This activity:

  1. Works with local actors—Local Resource Organizations, community organizations, civic leaders, citizens, private businesses, and local governments—to establish and/or strengthen relationships among actors in and between the communities.
  2. Facilitates connections among all USAID/BiH Local Works activities.
  3. Improves its own network sustainability prospects and strengthens capacity and cooperation among its members.


In 2019, USAID began seeking Local Resource Organizations (LRO) that 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. In August 2020, USAID awarded LRO grants to the Tuzla Foundation Community and the Center for Civic Cooperation (CCC) in Livno.

With our assistance, the Tuzla Community Foundation is working to expand its geographic area of work to the entire Tuzla-Podrinje Canton and more vigorously support community initiatives and capacity-building programs. This assistance will help mobilize local communities and resources and encourage civic leaders and groups to take action to improve their own communities.

The activity implemented by CCC Livno will bring together community stakeholders from 10 municipalities in southwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina to take actions that address community needs and concerns.

USAID will continue its support to additional LROs throughout the life of the program to help these local organizations strengthen their role as resource hubs in their respective communities.



In August 2020, USAID/BiH awarded the KULT Youth Institute for Development with a five-year cooperative agreement to strengthen the capacity of local partners. KULT has worked one-on-one with local development actors to help them to identify capacity needs, define performance improvement priorities, and create organizational development plans. It has also developed and implemented trainings for community-based organizations that promote responsible fiscal management, human resource development, advocacy and lobbying, and internal control systems. 


To increase local giving and mobilize local resources that are more targeted, visible, and engaging, USAID supports two programs, one to improve the legal and policy environment for community philanthropy, and a second to increase philanthropic activity. 

In August 2020, USAID awarded the first activity, Improving the Legal Framework for Philanthropy, to Mozaik Foundation, which works with several local and regional partners (Pomozi.ba, Hastor Foundation, Network for Building Peace, Catalyst Foundation, and Trag Foundation). This four-year activity aims to improve cross-sectoral collaboration in the legal and policy environment and in legislative advocacy. 

The second activity, planned for 2022, will support fundraising actions to raise public awareness and support for philanthropy.



Last updated: October 13, 2021

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