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.


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has struggled with persistent tensions and tenuous stability deriving from its history of conflict and continued divisions. Twenty-two years after the end of the war, BiH faces enduring social cleavages, economic stagnation and governance deficits. Newer challenges include the return of fighters from foreign battlefields, evolving recruitment strategies by extremist groups and a renewed rise in ethno-national extremism and manipulation by foreign actors. The reciprocal nature of ethnic and religious extremism and radicalization is a destabilizing factor for the country, where hardline and extremist voices dominate political and social narratives.

These issues assume greater importance as the divisive political climate intensifies ahead of national elections in October 2018. The government and community stakeholders recognize the importance of preventing violent extremism (PVE) but lack the knowledge and resources to do so effectively, putting at risk the stability of the country, and the Western Balkan region.


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. USAID/OTI works closely with Bosnian civil society organizations, local community leaders and government institutions to prevent various forms of VE in BiH by:

  • Increasing community resilience to VE radicalization and recruitment;
  • Diluting and disrupting the influence of radical messages; and
  • Establishing an ecosystem of institutional and community actors capable of mitigating escalatory violence.


  • Strengthening community engagement: In potential flashpoints across BiH, USAID/OTI works with local activists to promote positive, constructive youth engagement in their communities.
  • Amplifying alternative narratives: The program mitigates the dangerous effects of hate speech in a tense election year by working with local actors in mixed communities to provide counterweights to inflammatory or violent rhetoric. 
  • Developing robust research: USAID/OTI uses a variety of methods to understand the changing shape of radicalization in BiH. By generating new knowledge, updating earlier research and disseminating findings among the PVE community of practice, USAID/OTI bolsters the ability of actors across BiH to prevent radicalization and VE.
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Last updated: August 02, 2018

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