In August 2014, we held our 11th annual Peace Camp. 16 people took part in workshops aimed at understanding conflict, dealing with the past, and shaping Bosnia's future. From dealing with trauma, to envisioning a different Bosnia and Herzegovina, we saw youth between 17 and 33 years old change their understanding of the conflict, attitudes and behaviours. These young people are now equiped with skills to further reach young people in their own communities and facilitate peacebuilding activities. Below is an analysis of how change took place in this year's Peace Camp.
Friendships with "the other"
The majority of participants had 10 or fewer friends from another ethnicity/religion, but thanks to PC those numbers changed to participants saying they had more than 10 friends from another ethnicity/religion after PC, and one respondent who had no friends of the other before PC stated "Now I have two of them"
Do you think there will be another war in BiH?
Optimism about the country's future increased after the week. Before PC, people believed there would be another war (and NO ONE thought that Bosnia was definitely out of danger for another war). After PC, only 2 people answered "yes," that there would be another war, while the rest said no, or maybe.
Are better interethnic relationships possible? How?
-"Yes of course [better interethnic relations are possible], but we have to accept other religions" - "It is necessary to learn about our differences in a way so they don't look like a threat." - "Getting to know young people from other ethnic groups."
7 respondents specifically cited increased communication and understanding - including through actually meeting and getting to know people from the other side - to help interethnic relations.
How do you deal with personal conflict?
Before Peace Camp (herein after referred to as PC), most participants said they'd try to talk out conflict, while 2 said they were angry and silent and then just let it go. After PC, all respondents cited talking/dialogue/nonviolent communication as a means of dealing with personal conflict.
Reduced Fear/Increased Trust in "the other"
Before PC, participants were mixed about spending time in a place where another ethnicity was the majority. One person said they "strongly disagreed" that they would be comfortable in that situation, while 3 others said they were "undecided." However,after PC, no single individual would be uncomfortable spending time in a town or city where they were the ethnic minority.
This year's Peace Camp would not have happened without your generous support. Thank you once again for all your donations and support of any kind. The best time to make donations to our project is on bonus days, when they get matched. The next bonus day is on October 15th!
Our 2013-2014 Peace Camp has ended and we have been busy preparing for this year's training.
We trained twenty young Bosnian people from across the country in overcoming trauma, stereotypes, and conflict, and empowered them to go back to their home communities to apply the learning by further facilitating peace activities. Each participant planned and implemented around 20 hours of workshops, and those who were the most active and keen to be involved in peacebuilding work in the long run, will be returning to the Camp this year, to help co-facilitate some of our workshops, this resulting in them becoming qualified trainers of trainers.
Our next Peace Camp will be held on the 24th of August. We have recruited 20 more young participants. Based on feedback, we always try to improve at least one aspect of the training every year. In order to better evaluate our impact, we are now evaluating the participants both at the beginning and the end of the training, in order to be able to better measure the change that takes place in the 7 day training. We will then continue to monitor and evaluate progress as per usual throughout the year.
This summer we also hosted two evaluators from globalgiving who came to help us improve our communications, reporting, and social media skills. We now have a new reporting strategy in place, and we will aim to get better at communicating the impact of training peace camp participants in their own communities.
So far this year, you have helped us raise over $1000. Thanks to everyone who supports our cause, be it financial or not.
The CIM Team
It's been three months since we've updated you on the Peace Embassy.
We've been held back by the recent floods that hit Sanski Most, but we know you have all contributed to our efforts to help our local community in one way or another. We are very grateful for all the kind messages, and moral support.
Every day we work towards making our vision come to life, and establish our Peace Embassy. If we were to write the latest developments in bullet points it would look like this:
On Wednesday July, 16th, we are taking part in the globalgiving partner rewards day. Should you choose to make a donation on this specific day, it will be matched by 40%. You can support us by sharing our project page with your contacts, friends, and family over social media, or by sending an email.
We hope you're having a very productive summer, and if you ever need more information from us, please do get in touch.
Many thanks for all your support.