International Event in Bosnia and Herzegovina – March 2022

March 20, 2022
Category: News

Between 8 and 10 March 2022, Sarajevska Regional Development Agency – SERDA hosted the sixth international meeting of 13 European cities involved in the European Alliance for Volunteer Support.

Sarajevo Regional Development Agency –  SERDA hosted the event between 8 and 10 March 2022 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  At the event, project partners from Slovenia, Serbia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Greece met with Sarajevo’s NGOs. They presented good practices of active citizenship and volunteering in crises.

Shortly after arriving in Sarajevo, the participants started a lively discussion about volunteering in crises, which continued the next day with representatives of the Sarajevo non-governmental organization, Foundation Source of Hope, platform, SOS children’s villages and Let’s do it Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Zlatan Saračević, the representative of SERDA, opened the event with a presentation of the ERAS project in his opening address. He then gave the floor to representatives of local NGOs. They presented good practices from various areas of volunteer work and programs developed during covid-19 to adapt their work to crises.

Adnan Alikadić, program director of the SOS Children’s Villages organization, pointed out that they lost volunteers due to the epidemic, which is why they changed the criteria for their inclusion. Now they are more focused on finding volunteers ready for long-term cooperation, even if it means that the individual does fewer hours per month. Before the pandemic, the Let’s do it organization organized large-scale clean-up campaigns. During the pandemic, they organized smaller campaigns focused on individual neighbourhoods, which they could carry out while considering all the measures.

Through the presentations of the organizations, participants realized that volunteering is a vital part of the life of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina from a young age. Foundation Source of Hope encourages young to volunteer by offering scholarships, collected through donations, for living in a student dormitory built with the help of donations. Active volunteering is one of the conditions for obtaining a scholarship. During the pandemic, the students living in the dormitory moved their volunteer activities online and developed a short course on graphic design and coding for their peers. Naida Kokić from the Foundation Source of Hope said that more than 350 former scholarship recipients are now owners of small businesses that help others in various ways.

Partners also visited the premises of the organization, symbolically named “House of Goodness“, where they carry out many volunteer activities. Sanja Handžar says that works according to the principle “we only have what we give”. They share their premises, knowledge, resources and volunteers with other organizations and thus contribute to the spread of the volunteer spirit and active citizenship.

Partners were impressed by the large number of young volunteers. The young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina represent 70 % of all volunteers. We talked with representatives of non-governmental organizations about why this is so. Selma and Sara, young volunteers of the platform, offered the answer. platform connects charity projects, organizations and volunteers. They say that young people see volunteering as a chance to socialize with their peers, learn from older volunteers and develop personal skills and skills. At the same time, they perceive volunteering as a catalyst for social change and a way to create a better society.

Partners returned from the visit full of pleasant impressions and good practices that they wanted to share with others and transfer some of them to our environment. The purpose of the Europe for Citizens program is to get to know the practices of other European cities and connect on joint topics. Follow the Facebook page of the ERAS project, where we will share volunteer stories and good practices from other European countries.