EU-Funded ReLOaD2 Backs Youth Education for Cultural Heritage Preservation and Promotion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prozor-Rama, situated in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, boasts a captivating history that spans centuries. This town played a pivotal role during the Ottoman rule and served as a vital trading centre. Presently, traces of this historical epoch still grace the town’s architecture, with the streets adorned by traditional Ottoman-style houses. Among the notable landmarks in Prozor-Rama stands the Prozor medieval tower, an ancient stronghold that offers sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside. Erected in the 14th century, this fortress has borne witness to numerous battles and stands as a testament to the town’s tumultuous history. Other historical sites encompass the Gradac archaeological site, the Prozor medieval tower, the Šćit Franciscan monastery, and the Lizoperci mosque.
“Lately, we have been working on the Gradac archaeological site, where I am professionally engaged as a history master. During this period, I realized the need for an organization dedicated to promoting our rich cultural heritage.” Antun Kovcalija, NGO “Association Hereditas
Antun Kovcalija, a history professional, recently established the NGO “Association Hereditas” with a primary objective to enhance the local and wider promotion of Prozor-Rama’s cultural heritage. He states, “Lately, we have been working on the Gradac archaeological site, where I am professionally engaged as a history master. During this period, I realized the need for an organization dedicated to promoting our rich cultural heritage.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Kovcalija participated in meetings with young people organized by United Nations Develpment Programme (UNDP) within the EU-funded Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2). These meetings aimed to identify the interests of young people and explore ways to support them. Cultural heritage emerged as one of the topics of interest among young participants. Consequently, Mr. Kovcalija and other members of the organization devised a project proposal and commenced its implementation with the backing of ReLOaD2.
The project, “Youth Active in Culture,” led by the Citizens’ Association “Hereditas” in Prozor-Rama, seeks to involve young individuals in the promotion and preservation of the municipality’s cultural, historical, and natural heritage. Initial activities included issuing a public call for youth participation, conducting project presentations, and delivering a module on youth activism and volunteerism. The second phase of the project entails educational workshops at culturally and historically significant sites, led by experts in relevant fields. These workshops take place at locations such as the Gradac archaeological site, Prozor medieval tower, Šćit Franciscan monastery, and Lizoperci mosque. These activities provide young people with insights into the context and significance of these sites, engaging them in creative workshops and volunteer ecological initiatives associated with these locations. Volunteer efforts encompass cleaning and landscaping the neglected medieval tower in Prozor. Moreover, the project aims to install permanent information boards and establish pathways connecting these significant sites.
“The response from the young people has been fantastic. They are enthusiastic about acquiring new skills, particularly in photography. We conducted the photography workshop at various cultural heritage sites, and the tangible evidence of their dedication is evident in the excellent quality of the photos they have produced.”
Antun Kovcalija, NGO “Association Heredit
The project has now reached its midway point, having successfully organized a photography workshop, a module focusing on youth volunteer activism, a workshop dedicated to cultural heritage, and a volunteer cleanup operation in the vicinity of the castle. Mr. Kovcalija highlights that thus far, the interest and engagement of young participants in these project activities have been exceptionally high. He remarks, “The response from the young people has been fantastic. They are enthusiastic about acquiring new skills, particularly in photography. We conducted the photography workshop at various cultural heritage sites, and the tangible evidence of their dedication is evident in the excellent quality of the photos they have produced.”