Project title: Faces of Activism 2.0: Expanding Youth Activism in Greater Banja Luka
Project duration: 15/3/2021 – 15/8/2021
Donor: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Location: Banja Luka, Čelinac, Kotor Varoš, Laktaši, Prnjavor and Srbac
This activity aims to enhance the capacities and civic engagement of youth activists from the greater Banja Luka area in advocating for positive change that benefits youth at the local level, in order to vest them with resilience and creativity to weather the psychological and motivational challenges arising from the uncertainty of COVID-19, as well as the secondary importance given to social and youth issues. Genesis Project will organize a set of advocacy workshops, mentoring sessions and dialogue events with prominent activists for 50 youth from communities in the greater Banja Luka area, and support them in implementation of 10 youth advocacy initiatives. By providing youth with opportunities for meaningful and purposeful engagement and connection, equipping them with valuable knowledge and skills, Genesis Project seeks to bolster local activism and leadership, leading to positive citizen engagement.
Objective 1: To organize advocacy workshops, mentoring sessions and dialogue events with prominent activists for 50 youth from communities in the greater Banja Luka area, and support them in implementation of youth advocacy initiatives
Objective 2: To enhance the capacities and civic engagement of youth activists in advocating for positive change that benefits youth at the local level
2020 was largely marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lack of control of one’s circumstances and uncertainty about when and how life would return to normal. In the midst of such uncertainty, young people in BiH are even more vulnerable to psychological and motivational challenges, enhanced by feelings of powerless and fear. At the same time, given the almost exclusive attention for the pandemic, many social issues have fallen into oblivion or are pushed aside as ‘secondary’. There has been no choice for youth but to adjust to a new reality that increasingly became a “new normal.” In that process, some youth groups demonstrated the resilience and creativity that enabled them to not only weather those difficult circumstances, but to ignite the spark of civic activism in their communities. In BHRI187, a group of 30 youth from six local communities from within the greater Banja Luka area produced short films in which they addressed issues close to their hearts, such as peer and domestic violence, perceived invisibility of youth in the society, and environmental and infrastructural problems. In order to maintain the interest and further enhance the potential of local youth to be more active citizens, the engagement of youth from these communities will be expanded to translate their creativity – previously expressed through film – through different forms of action, such as advocacy and campaigning, to exert pressure on authorities to address the most pertinent youth-related and social issues and effect desired changes.