DONOR: Stiftung Schüler Helfen Leben Germany, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina and US Embassy in BiH
DURATION: December 2011 – January 2014
LOCATION: Municipalities: Kiseljak, Busovača, Vitez, Fojnica, Jajce, Bugojno and Gromiljak
OVERALL GOAL: The overall objective of the project is to create a safe school environment in segrageted 16 schools, through the implementation of social inclusion model, to educate the participants of the project on the skills of peaceful conflict resolution and communication skills and to motivate participants to organize joint activities.
SPECIFIC GOALS: • Building a safe and stimulating environment for children.
• Influence on building trust and changing attitudes among different ethnic groups as a precondition to create a safer environment in schools.
• Educating the project participants about the communication skills and peaceful conflict resolution.
• Improving communication and cooperation between the divided ethnic groups (Bosniaks and Croats).
Divided schools are two schools/two legal entities which exist under same roof/in same building and are following two different curriculums: Bosniak and Croat and in which children and schoolteachers are strictly separated on the basis of their national and religious belonging. A child is the basic beneficiary of the education and a large part of Bosnia and Herzegovina society tries to make process in education even more difficult, it tries to slow down development, to prevent a child/children to think openly and to form their own critical point of view. The saddest thing that we recognized is that children are used as a means of deepening the conflict and the promotion of segregation and intolerance. Common sense, logic and instinct tell us that things are not as they would like to present them to us. We were almost certain that simple, honest and good people in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not wish life “side by side” but that they wish to live with each other. We were almost certain that citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have become hostages of their national leaders.
The overall objective of the project was to create safe school environments in 16 schools through educational and pedagogical work in class communities. The objective was to educate direct beneficiaries about peaceful conflict resolution and communication skills and to motivate beneficiaries to organize joint actions.
Project was being implemented among 10,000 pupils and 180 schoolteachers, who were attending segregated and divided schools in following municipalities in Middle Bosnia canton: Kiseljak, Busovača, Vitez, Fojnica, Jajce, Bugojno, Gromiljak.
We are satisfied with the results of the project so far. We have observed changes in the atmosphere in the schools, we find it to be more humane, more encouraging and that it establishes and improves communication and cooperation between two major ethnic groups.
Direct beneficiaries of the Project have been educated about communication, peaceful conflict prevention and other project selected topics. It is our estimation that the intended goals have been fully reached so far. We hope that evaluation of the project impact will additionally confirm this estimation of ours.
Unpredictable positive result which has arisen during this reporting period was the widening of the project activities on the parents as a target group. In two divided schools, schoolteachers have kindly requested that we expand our activities and target parents groups. In schools in Jajce and Fojnica we have provided assistance to the schoolteachers during the organization and facilitation of the teachers/parents meetings where we conducted education of the present parents about project selected topics.
We think that connections between schools and families must be strengthened and that parents should be included in the serial of the workshops that would have one final goal “Establishment of successful contact with children”. We also think that schoolteachers should be empowered to successfully establish constructive communication with parents of their pupils. During our work with schoolteachers we observed a lack of necessary skills that would enable them to be successful in this field of their work.
We have initiated development of joint curriculum for work in the classroom community in the schools that are operating under Croat and under Bosniak curriculum (V to IX class). For this initiative we received full support from the cantonal Ministry of Education and expert school staff will put their efforts to implement the joint curriculum for work in the classroom community starting with the next school year (2013/2014).
Since these 96 schoolteachers (who are direct beneficiaries of Activity 1.) have been recently enrolled in our project/joint activities and having in mind that the majority of these teachers have never participated in similar educational activities, it is our estimation that additional effort has to be invested in development of further cooperation among these two divided ethnic groups. This even more regards the schoolteachers
groups from two recently enrolled municipalities of Bugojno and Gromiljak.
Everything was in accordance with our plan so no unpredictable positive or negative results have arisen so far.