Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996-2000

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

The Balkans conflict created a humanitarian disaster of major proportions and wreaked havoc on the social and economic fabric of the former Yugoslavia. The United States played a lead role in brokering the Dayton Peace Accords and greatly contributed to post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. USAID/OTI's Bosnia and Herzegovina program sought to address the issues that contributed to the violence of the 1990s.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

USAID/OTI first engaged in Bosnia in February 1996, immediately after the signing of the peace accords. Recognizing that donor assistance was concentrated in the capital, Sarajevo, USAID/OTI focused its activities in regions of Bosnia experiencing the greatest tension and lacking a donor presence. To promote reform efforts, USAID/OTI:

  • Fostered new, independent media that reported objective, factual information; created home-grown media monitors to watch media coverage; facilitated relationships between NGOs and the media to increase the reach of political activism;
  • Supported non-governmental organizations at local, regional and national levels that focused on political development; and
  • Supported community improvement projects that led toward democracy and peace.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Through its use of alternative media, USAID/OTI increased different ethnic groups’ understanding of the social and economic problems experienced in other communities and broke the nationalist party's monopoly on information. Over time, USAID/OTI-supported media outlets were capable of countering nationalist propaganda and averting violence and were thus able to contribute to the peaceful resolution of ethnic and political differences.
  • Together with local non-governmental organizations and media throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, USAID/OTI organized an extensive “Get Out the Vote” campaign Mreza X (Network X). The campaign not only entertained the population, but also underscored the importance of participating in elections. This indigenous initiative crossed ethnic lines and encouraged one common theme, regardless of ethnicity.
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Last updated: February 28, 2018

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