Bosnia and Herzegovina


Working closely with Bosnian civil society organizations, local community leaders and government institutions to help prevent violent extremism in its various forms.


Since the civil wars of the 1990s, the Western Balkans region has struggled with persistent tensions and potential instability. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) history of conflict and continued divisions make it particularly vulnerable. Twenty-two years after the end of the conflict, BiH still faces a number of challenges, including enduring social divisions, economic stagnation and governance deficits. There are also newer factors of potential instability, such as increasing extremism among all ethnic groups, the presence of returned foreign fighters and an evolving recruitment strategy by extremist groups.

The government and community members are searching for approaches to prevent violent extremism, but they lack the knowledge and resources to do so effectively. Few, if any, reliable social support services exist for youth identified as “at-risk,” particularly in communities where the influence of extremists is most pronounced. The interplay between ethnic and religious extremism is dangerous and is a potential destabilizing factor for the country and the region more broadly. This is especially important to consider as the divisive political climate intensifies ahead of national elections in October 2018.


In November 2017, USAID/OTI launched its program in BiH to strengthen community resilience and to address the threat of violent extremism through a prevention lens. Building on USAID/BiH’s pilot program with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), USAID/OTI will work closely with Bosnian civil society organizations, local community leaders and government institutions to prevent various forms of violent extremism in BiH by:

  • Strengthening community resilience to extremist influences;
  • Disrupting and diminishing radicalization and the recruitment process; and
  • Preparing for incident response and preventing escalatory violence.


USAID/OTI will support a wide range of activities across the country. Each activity will be distinct and tailored to address key priorities and seize emerging opportunities. These activities will range in size and scope. They could be everything from a small grant to rehabilitate a public space in a key village, to a partnership with a large organization to undertake an awareness campaign across the country. Whatever the activity, USAID/OTI will work closely with local communities and partners to design, implement and monitor the work to ensure it is effective. 

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Last updated: February 28, 2018

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