FACT SHEET: Restoring the Civic Mission of Education: A Window of Opportunity for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding: $747,767
Project Duration: May 2017 – May 2020
Implementing Partner:  Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska (HCHR)

The Challenge

The lack of peace-oriented and fact-based activities – those based on factual postwar findings, such as court decisions and widely accepted truths – to ensure a full understanding of what really happened during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is evident in the country’s educational system. At school, young generations experience intolerance, inter-ethnic, and interreligious fear, and segregation, which informs their attitudes – and thus influences their behavior – toward others. Each new generation is unable to understand the past and, instead, hears only biased, politicized, and ethnically dominated history lessons. The absence of thoughtfully and carefully chosen peace-building approaches in the formal education sector severely limits opportunities for positive social change in the long run.

Our Program

Through its project, Restoring the Civic Mission of Education: A Window of Opportunity for Change, USAID provides opportunities to reduce the impact of the lack of systematic post-conflict peace and reconciliation work in the education system in BiH. The activity enhances the capacities, abilities, and skills of teachers and students to become social agents for peace and reconciliation, to encourage and empower the country’s educational institutions to implement peace and reconciliation content in the official school curricula.

Implementation and Results

During the life of this project, USAID will develop and implement a peace, reconciliation and conflict mitigation training program for 270 elementary and secondary school teachers throughout the country. To change attitudes that could drive youth to conflict, USAID will teach 1,650 students from elementary and secondary schools new skills in intercultural dialogue, conflict mitigation, interethnic communication, and peer mediation. Through teacher and student training, the program will introduce peace and reconciliation content and methods to use in their everyday interactions with other students and peers. In parallel, USAID works with 15 educational institutions to ensure they understand and promote the importance of including peace content in the country’s formal education curricula. Through this work, they will come to recognize the civic mission of schools to educate and develop young adults who are open minded, humanistic individuals who respect diversity.

For more information, write to msakic@usaid.gov.

Last updated: January 08, 2018

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