What does the strategy for the youth of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina bring? – Supporting young people for their organizing means the voice of young people in society

The youth strategy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide young people with new opportunities through support for youth organizing so that their voice is heard and they will be able to propose ideas and programs through their representatives that will improve the position of young people in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the strategy, the importance of the participation of young people in decision-making processes is recognized, as well as the necessity of the full implementation of legal regulations relating to young people.

An important part of the strategy towards the youth of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the thematic area of ​​youth activism. Within the area there are also sub-areas such as volunteerism, mobility, informing young people, cooperation with lower levels of government, work with young people and the diaspora. Within each sub-area, it was crucial to recognize the needs and problems of young people in order to find quality priorities and measures in the strategic platform that will improve the position of young people in the Federation of BiH when we talk about activism. Although the situation has been improving in recent years and society is becoming more and more aware of the importance of activism, especially for young people, there is also a huge space for additional development and progress. In addition, there is  a low level of youth volunteerism in the Federation , and the system of informing young people about the opportunities offered to them is insufficiently developed, which affects the weak interest in mobility to other local communities, countries in Europe and the world.  Youth organizing is becoming more and more difficult due to the lack of young people in smaller local communities , and the challenge is also insufficient recognition of youth work and work with young people, not only in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even the government institutions do not contribute to improving the situation because they do not show interest and initiative in providing young people with better conditions for volunteering, activism, mobility, which significantly affect the quality of life of young people, providing them with opportunities for personal growth and development and pre-professional training.

Within the framework of the strategic platform, a strategic goal for this area has been determined, which aims to achieve that young people are supported in activism, organized and included in the decision-making process. Involvement in decision-making processes is recognized through most thematic areas in the strategy, but it comes to a special expression in this area. The absence of a Youth Council, in which youth representatives would make up 50% and representatives of government institutions 50% of this body, is an example of incomplete implementation of the FBiH Youth Law.

The coordinator of the work team for this area was Senad Hašić in front of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports. About the strategy development process itself, Senad stated:  “This area brings together a large number of issues that are really important to young people, from activism, through youth participation, volunteering, mobility, diaspora, work with young people, information and cooperation with lower levels of government. It was very challenging to lead a group that worked on this area within the Strategy. First of all, due to the coordination of all activities with other institutions and other levels of government in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And this is one of the tasks that will represent a great challenge in the future for the competent authorities. First of all, it is necessary to institutionally regulate areas important for young people based on existing regulations. It should be borne in mind that everyone in this country has a responsibility towards young people, including especially all institutions and all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Everyone should work in the best interest of young people”.

Among the biggest problems and challenges within the area recognized by the youth strategy is  the non-implementation of the Law on Youth of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina  , which affects the position and opportunities of young people. The full implementation of the Law must be a clear goal not only for young people and youth organizations who want to see the realization of all their rights, but also for government institutions that, by not implementing certain items, violate the Law and thus affect the dissatisfaction of young people, which ultimately results in leaving the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to the Law on Youth, the implementation of the Law on Volunteering of the FBiH is incomplete, which results in an unorganized system of volunteering, that is, frequent violations of the rights of volunteers. It can be argued that  the organizers of volunteering and volunteers are not even sufficiently familiar with the content of the Act,  and in the coming period greater attention must be paid to the promotion of the Act to the public, especially young people who have the most contact with volunteerism. The Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Federal Ministry of Justice are the two institutions responsible for the implementation of the aforementioned laws. Government institutions must focus their attention and activities on monitoring the implementation of the Act and establishing regular communication with young people in order to obtain accurate and precise information about the views of young people, which may be significant for possible amendments to both Acts. This is precisely one of the priorities set by the strategy for the youth of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It was also recognized as a problem that the existing model of youth organization is not adequate for the further development of youth activism. In addition,  the legal provisions are not in favor of easier youth organizing  due to the changed structure of the population since 2010, when the Youth Act was passed. A complicating factor in monitoring youth organization and its organization is the absence of a single database of all youth organizations at the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports. The causes can be found in inadequate monitoring and updating of lists at lower levels (municipalities and cities), which needs to be changed in the coming period. Various institutions should recognize the usefulness and usability of data related to youth and youth organizations.

The strategy also recognizes the problem of inadequate access to marginalized groups of young people and systemic neglect of the group in our society. For this reason, the set priority goes in the direction  of recognizing the rights and needs of marginalized groups  through legal regulations and numerous youth programs that relate to young people in FBiH and concern activism, volunteerism, mobility and work with young people. The cooperation of organizations that deal with the issues and problems of marginalized groups with government institutions is crucial in effectively recognizing everything that needs to be done in order to provide young people from marginalized groups with better living conditions and opportunities for participation. During the entire process of developing the strategic platform, there was often talk about the general ignorance of the needs and problems of this population. The vision of all levels of government within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be one where these groups are active participants in all social events.

The strategy also recognizes the importance of connecting young people from the territory of the Federation of BiH with young people from the diaspora. Cooperation would open up new perspectives and opportunities for development, and young people and organizations from European countries could provide new knowledge and support to young people in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The exchange of experiences and work on joint programs could represent novelties that will create better working conditions for the youth sector in FBiH with the necessary support from government institutions.

The continuation of the development of the youth sector and organizations that work with young people must be in the focus of policies and programs of government institutions at all levels. Numerous social challenges and problems also affect young people, and activism is one of the ways that young people can contribute to the development of society. The support of institutions is crucial not only for the field of activism, but also for the development of volunteerism, mobility, work with young people and connecting with young people from the diaspora.

The bearer of the initiative to create a strategy for the youth of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports in partnership with the Institute for Youth Development KULT and the Youth Council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Source: mladi.org