Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia Map OTI
 

To support positive political and social actors and discourses to provide meaningful alternatives to extremist voices and influences.


WHY USAID/OTI IS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Twenty-five years after the end of the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continues to face enduring social cleavages, economic stagnation, and governance deficits that threaten national cohesion and stability. Newer challenges include a renewed rise in ethno-national extremism, manipulation by foreign actors, and evolving recruitment strategies by extremist groups. The reciprocal nature of ethnic and religious extremism is a destabilizing factor, where hardline voices dominate political and social narratives. 

Additionally, the BiH political system directly fosters extremism through divisive narratives, corruption, and increasing feelings of marginalization among youth. The USAID/OTI program is an integral part of the U.S. mission to advance regional stability and partner with the citizens of BiH to build a prosperous and democratic future that is tolerant, secure, and firmly anchored in Euro-Atlantic institutions.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

In November 2017, USAID/OTI launched its BiH program to support the work of civic and political actors in the country to provide positive alternatives to extremist voices and influences. USAID/OTI works closely with Bosnian civil society organizations, community leaders, and local institutions to emphasize the shared interests and common experiences of the country’s diverse communities as well as prevent various forms of extremism in BiH through:

  • Bolstering local activism and leadership for positive citizen engagement, particularly among youth;
  • Strengthening voices and alternative narratives that challenge division and extremism; and
  • Strengthening the ability of institutional and community actors to mitigate and respond to escalatory violence.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • USAID/OTI supports youth centers in some of the most isolated and marginalized areas of the country to provide a platform for positive youth leadership and encourage engagement with local leadership and youth across ethnic and entity lines. These centers counteract the divisive tactics that ethno-nationalist politicians and extremist groups use to foster feelings of isolation and apathy among youth.

  • USAID/OTI challenges radical voices and extremist narratives that dominate national discourse by creating the growth of non-politicized youth media platforms and social networks, such as community radios, television shows, and online media campaigns. 

  • USAID/OTI trains and mentors young political leaders to advocate for change based on values rather than divisive party politics, in anticipation of the November 2020 local elections. Convening young leaders from all political parties creates a space for dialogue which promotes democratic principles, and helps leaders identify hate speech and divisive narratives in campaigns.

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Last updated: January 04, 2021

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