All posts by hiapeacebuilding

The Bosnian Spirit

…even during the  floods.

Bosnia floods

This photo has been circulating on social media over the last few weeks. Even during the worst floods Bosnia and the region have seen in more than 100 years, this man and wife play the accordion on their porch.

Flood Damage in Prijedor

floods-prijedor1

We are still in pre-project mode here in Prijedor. A few other participants have arrived but most come today or tomorrow.

Yesterday we met with the Mile and Thea from Cisto Srce, a youth humanitarian organization in Prijedor. They do awesome work with young people and have been contributing a lot to the relief efforts since the floods.

Prijedor was had a lot of damage from the floods two weeks ago. The river burst through the barriers on the southern bank saving the city center from the rising waters. Many many homes were damaged and you can see photos from the high point two weeks ago. Much of the water has receded but it has left mud, mold, and dangerous buildings for residents. Later this week we will work together with Cisto Srce and Centar Za Mlade Kvart to help distribute aid that has been collected to families around the city.

In the meantime, we are preparing for the May 31st White Armband Day demonstration later today. The demonstration seeks to draw attention to the city government’s continued refusal to publicly acknowledge the killings of more than 3100 civilians in Prijedor, of whom 102 were children. There are more than ten monuments to Serb soldiers who died in the war but the city government has not granted permission for a memorial for these children. We will update later this week on the demonstration.

Application for HIA Project on Peacebuilding 2014

WHEN: 1-5 June 2014

WHERE: Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

WHO’S ELIGIBLE: Bosnian and international Humanity in Action Senior Fellows and activists and artists from the Prijedor region. Participants must be fluent in English.

About the Program

The project seeks applicants for a 5-day program to engage in workshops, discussions, site visits and trainings that explore how arts, activism, and youth can contribute to local and national reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Applicants with artistic skills, advocacy experience, and/or a background working with youth are encouraged to apply.

Overview

Participants will engage in discussions about the legacy of conflict and current human rights issues in the region, lead arts workshops with youth, and develop advocacy skills through community organizing skills trainings. The group will include 15 people representing the Bosnian and international Humanity in Action Senior Fellow networks, in addition to artists and activists from the Prijedor area. This program will take place following the activities surrounding the White Armband Day, commemorating the violence in Prijedor during the war. Participants will also engage with an annual youth festival with a local peacebuilding NGO, Most Mira (Bridge of Peace). Building on previous collaboration with Most Mira, this year’s project will connect a wider range of Humanity in Action Senior Fellows and activists in Bosnia.

The Context

Since the war ended almost two decades ago, tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina between members of different ethnic groups pose significant social, political and economic challenges. The conflict has marked the Prijedor region, which saw several tragedies, including displacement, detention camps, and recently discovered mass graves. Young people in the region grow up in segregated communities, attend ethnically divided schools, and learn divergent histories. Despite these issues, the international community has largely ignored the region and institutionalized the divides in the local communities. Our project will provide a rare space for young activists to share ideas about current challenges, contribute to an ongoing peacebuilding project, and learn advocacy tools that they can employ to help improve their home communities. This project also builds on a partnership between Humanity in Action and Most Mira begun last year; you can find their final report here.

The Program

The 5-day program in Prijedor, sponsored by Humanity in Action, will include three components:

  • Discussions on current local human rights issues
  • Arts workshops with young people
  • Community organizing skills trainings

In addition to participating in advocacy trainings, participants will engage in discussions about recent examples of civic activism in BiH. Participants are invited to attend the White Armband Day on the 31st of May taking place prior to the beginning of the program on June 1. Participants will also lead arts workshops, including drama, photography, media, and creative movement, with young people participating in Most Mira’s Youth Festival.

Costs

Bosnian participants’ travel and accommodation costs will be covered. Please bring additional spending money to cover some food for the week.

Application process

The deadline for submission is 30 April 2014. Please submit a CV and 500-word statement of interest, including any experience working in the field of human rights, with youth, and/or the arts and ideas for concrete ways in which you can contribute to this project through workshops, etc., to peacebuilding@humanityinaction.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and all applicants will be notified by late-April.