The Bosnian society is characterized by fear, distrust, nationalism, school segregation, and high levels of violence among youth from different ethnic and religious backgrounds (Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims). From Pieces to Peace is an annual youth peace training that empowers 25 youth with skills needed to initiate changes at the grassroots level. With our support, the participants then implement 20 hours of non-violence and reconciliation workshops in communities across Bosnia.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
The 1992-1995 war led to Bosnia-Herzegovina becoming a deeply divided society. Since the conflict, Bosnian youth attend segregated schools with few opportunities to connect with different ethnicities and meet "the other(s)". Negative stereotypes flow freely, accentuated by nationalist propaganda. This ignites fear in individuals and widens the ethnic divide on on a societal level, creating a threat of renewed violence which affects youth who have no experience of living in multiethnic societies.
How will this project solve this problem?
Youth are often negatively linked to conflict. We provide non-violence and peace education trainings to young leaders working in key institutions in their local communities. Long-term work by youth at the individual and societal level will facilitate social change and movement towards ethnic and religious reconciliation. Our statistics show that 1 participant can reach at least 500 people in their community.
Potential Long Term Impact
Through our project we seek to build a strong network of motivated peacebuilders who will continue to implement peace programs at the grassroots level, after the project ends. Their local communities will benefit from much needed opportunities to interact with people from other ethnic/religious backgrounds, and peace education in schools. The youth will get skills for employment and support to start their own social change ventures such as non-profits or projects.
Total Funding Received to Date: $6,930
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $3,070
Total Funding Goal: $10,000