In 2010, the German Marshall Fund and the C.S. Mott Foundation invited YouthBuild International to adapt YouthBuild to the Western Balkans. Those early investments along with the reputations of these two U.S. institutions leveraged more than $2 million in USAID funds for YouthBuild programs in BiH. These programs engaged more than 1,100 young people in Northeast BiH, including Brčko, Srebrenica, Bijeljina, and four partitioned municipalities with a completion rate of 93% and a placement rate above 60%. These programs also increased civic engagement among participants by 200%
In Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) specifically, PRONI and the Center for Sustainable Development, implemented two USAID-funded programs from 2011 - 2014. Students weatherized 33 rural homes, upgraded 11 public schools, assembled and distributed 900 solar lanterns, rebuilt 20 playgrounds, and launched 12 new businesses in communities fractured by the wars from the 1990s. Graduates found jobs in the NGO sector, business, schools, municipal governments, and industry. Multi-ethnic groups of graduates also joined in flood relieve efforts using their project planning and team work skills that they learned in YouthBuild.
Evaluators noted in their report of the BiH programs:
“The project contributed to changes among the lives of the participants and in the broader context. It helped establish a civic base camp where a critical mass of young people has gained a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves and acquired knowledge and skills to build a better future. It contributed to replenishing the storehouse of human capital which Brčko needs to draw upon in its efforts to counteract dangerous trends now gathering ground.”
For more information and updates about the YouthBuild Program in Bosnia:
PRONI Center for Youth Development - Facebook