With the support of the European Union in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) places accent on youth in the Western Balkans. One of the main focuses in Bosnia and Herzegovina is to create the opportunity for young people to gain experience in real working environment, as well as to gain skills that will provide them with the better opportunities for future jobs and career. Across all of the partner local governments in BiH, ReLOaD2 uses UN Volunteer programme which aims to facilitate the development of skills through vocational and soft skills training, thus involving youth from diverse backgrounds. Young women and men are enabled to develop their personal and interpersonal skills, being engaged in local government administrations, where besides their regular engagement, they also support ReLOaD2 team in relation to planned youth related activities. Through engagement of these young people, ReLOaD2 strives to bolster civic youth participation.
Dajana Vilotić, from Rudo, highlights the importance of the volunteering experience:
The experience gained by volunteering will definitely be useful to me when looking for permanent employment, because the skills I have acquired so far and which I will acquire later until the end of the contract, will enable me to look for work in numerous sectors, not only in the field for which I was educated. Also, during volunteering, I was given the opportunity to attend a certified Training for work in administration for free, which includes the following areas: Administrative work, accounting work; MS Office and Soft Skills. After completing the training and obtaining the certificate, I will be able to work as an administrative worker, which is commendable.
Besides developing tangible work skills, the volunteering programme will also provide the young people with a chance to develop their soft skills. Moreover, the vocational training will provide them with additional skills that can be highly important for their future. Not only does this kind of engagement enable the youth professionally, but it also promotes the development of the local economy. A direct effect of this kind of experience is that it encourages the youth to stay and invest in their lives in their home country. Jovana Vučinić is engaged in the City of Istočno Sarajevo and she attributes her experience as the catalyst towards building a better life in her local community:
This has provided me with an excellent personal, professional and social opportunity to improve life in my local community through my personal involvement. I am grateful to be part of a team that is involved in building sustainable democratic institutions, strengthening good governance and human rights principles, and supporting the development of a multinational and multi-ethnic democratic society and ensuring and respecting every human being. Likewise, through engagement, I build on my existing skills and expand my knowledge.
Another one of young men engaged within this component of ReLOaD2, Faris Bečić who is stationed at Centar Sarajevo is also satisfied with the programme. One of his favorite aspects is the fact that he can finally showcase his strengths. His experience at the Municipality of Centar has provided him with the unique opportunity to engage with different stakeholders.
The ReLOaD2 gave me the opportunity to show my skills in the best way, which is through work. I am intensively involved in all processes and projects implemented by the Municipality of Centar as well as those related to ReLOaD2. What I would end up with as a seal of this engagement is the Dialogue for Youth, which was held on February 6, 2023 in the premises of the Culture and Youth Center. In my opinion, internship can definitely strengthen a person’s personality and determine a path for a person’s further development. The experience that can be gained is invaluable because every day is full of challenges and conversations from which a lot can be learned and in the present time it can be used as a help for the future. The main skill that I improved through this engagement is time management. I hope that in the coming months I will improve some more skills that will be useful to me in the future.
Besides working in Centar Sarajevo, Faris is also mentoring Anes Kujović, a young man with Down syndrome, who will work with his mentor on various activities in the upcoming period and thereby provide support for the implementation of the ReLOaD2 project in the Municipality of Centar. Faris and Anes are both thrilled and proud to be working in the team.
I am extremely proud and pleased that after the initiative and consultation I was given the opportunity to mentor someone. Working with a person with disabilities is a special experience in which you feel fulfillment and satisfaction after every move in their career. I look forward to the continuation, cooperation and of course monitoring the progress of the work of my colleague Anes. said Faris.
Within the youth component, ReLOaD2 will provide chances for engagement within the partner local government to several persons with disabilities and Anes is the first one to be engaged. He stated:
I love the Municipality of Centar Sarajevo, I enjoy working here. I feel great, I’m happy, I love my colleagues and my mentor with whom I work every day.
The number of people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities who are permanently employed is extremely low throughout the world, and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through their engagement in partner municipalities/cities, ReLOaD2 will continue to contribute to social inclusion, as one of its more significant segments.
It is expected that ReLOaD2 will engage at least 30 young women and men in partner local governments across Bosnia and Herzegovina.