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Zero tolerance to violence in lives of children in rural areas of BiH – pilot project

Three organisations are selected to do pilot project in the area of Novi Grad, Gornji Vakuf/Uskoplje, Livno and Bosansko Grahovo, with the aim to developed and establish model of work in rural communities, which should contribute to decrease the level of violence in lives of children in rural areas of BiH. All three organizations have presented pilot initiative to local authorities, representatives of centres of social welfare, police, local media and started direct activities with target groups in rural settlements.

In general initiative was very welcomed by parents, teachers, religious and community leaders, and all rural communities have shown big readiness to actively participate in this pilot. Pilots do find that 95% of population of rural settlement participated for the first time in those activities, and most of them were very glad to be a part of the project.

Participants, particularly women, were more open to talk about their experience in relation to issue of violence. Many participants said that some forms of violence were not recognised as such, i.e. economic, psychological, gender based violence… It is quite evident that the cycle of violence is present in the lives of families. Rural schools are very excluded from all kinds of projects, workshops, educational initiatives for the staff and pupils and they are a cry for additional knowledge.

The most challenging part of work in those communities was work with men. They know that they have the power and in general terms, the least improvements are reached with them. The biggest progress is made with children in their awareness with regards to violence. In total, 445 children and 235 parents were directly reached through this pilot initiative in selected rural areas.

It would be recommendable to gather all findings on level of those rural communities in order to create good insight to the situation and to respond accordingly to the needs and demands of specific target groups, especially to men. According to the estimates and findings based on up-to-date work it can be confirmed that:

  • 75% of women in rural areas are suffering/are exposed to violence,
  • 95% of women do not report violence,
  • 80% of women are quite about it, they do not talk about violence they suffer,
  • Schools could be good entering point in working with parents,
  • Social-emotional learning/skills can be a part of the supporting interventions,
  • Peer and gender-based violence in partner relations is an important topic that should be introduced,
  • It is important to think about supporting services and referral system to those who dare to talk and ask for support, especially to women.
Posted in category: News, date 01.09.2015

Roma children and education

IN foundation team supports 5 partner organisations who are working in sub-program “Roma children and education”. Through these five projects Roma children from Tuzla, Bijeljina Kakanj, Capljina and Mostar have an opportunity to get school tutorials, pre-school age children attending workshops are improving their preparedness for mainstream education, while their parents are supported through educational activities, meetings, home visits, and parental workshops. These initiatives are providing support to 298 children (66 of them are pre-school age children) and 204 their parents. 42 volunteers and 35 professionals are involved in these project initiatives.

Projects do have Roma assistants/mediators and it helps in socialisation of the children, their closer follow up and communication with school authorities, as well as in contacts with their families.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Prevention of Gender based violence in rural areas through youth initiatives

In the last six-months period organisation “Demokratiski Centar Nove Nade” from Bosanska Otoka was approved to implement activities and support group of youth initiatives, in North-Western region of BiH. Communication with Nove nade started already last autumn, while first project activities were initiated in April 2015, with preparations and warming up sessions in 10 communities in NW BiH.

During that session more than 250 young people attended events and got acquainted with the project and issue of GBV.  Those ones who were interested were asked to send motivation letter and based on it 27 young people from Prijedor, Ljubija, Sanski Most, Drvar, Bosanski Petrovac, Novi Grad, Bosanska Krupa, Otoka, Cazin and Velika Kladusa were invited for a 3-day seminar in Bihac.

As the final result, 19 applications were received and based on beforehand set criteria in the presence of 3-member commission, including a INF representative, 15 were positively awarded. Youth initiatives will start implanting their project proposals in coming period.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Internet Safety

IN foundation has continued supporting two existing projects in the field on ‘Internet safety”.  The one project is being implemented by NGO Duga Sarajevo in areas of the Sarajevo Canton, East Sarajevo and Jajce, while another one takes place in Tuzla Canton. This one is being implemented by INF partner organization “Centre for Social Innovations” from Tuzla. Through these two projects 412 children, 354 parents and 32 teachers are informed about safe usage of internet.

Following the opened call for project proposals in this field, a new project on Internet safety of NGO “Hi Neighbour” Banja Luka is being given positive opinion at AC commission meeting held in April 17th 2015 in Mostar and additionally approved by Kinderpostzegels Netherlands. It will start with the implementation as of September 2015.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Prevention of Peer Violence in school settings

Since the beginning of 2015, six INF partner organisations have continued to implement project activities in the field of prevention of peer violence in school settings in 31 schools in region of central BiH Canton (Travnik, Vitovlje, Bugojno Nova Bila), Bijeljina, Banja Luka, Mostar, Prijedor, Sarajevo, Sanski Most. Mentioned projects provided information to 3091 children, 1568 parents and 280 teachers,  related to peer violence and raised awareness about types and causes of peer violence in school settings.

Community of Change, on its meeting last year and through the on-line communication has selected number of relevant questions from the questionnaires related to peer violence, developed by different projects. Questionnaires were later filled by 200 students from two primary schools. Our aim is to make validation of the questionnaire and make it available for all those making research on this topic, on the INF web site. The data analysis is expected to be conducted in the upcoming period.

As a part of continuing efforts of INF to promote peer violence topics and offer some additional inputs, a two-day training entitled “Methods and mechanisms of support in direct work with potential victims and perpetrators of peer violence” was organized on March 11th and 12th in Banja Luka, for our partners who brought together school staff from 10 locations in BiH. The purpose of training was strengthening competencies of school personnel in prevention of bullying and offer tools for intervention. The training was designed and conducted by Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, director of Child Protection Hospital in Zagreb, and her assistant Tea Brezinšćak, MA, psychologist at the Child Protection Hospital in Zagreb.

The seminar was attended by 50 participants (schools staff, professionals, directors and project coordinators) from 31 elementary schools across BiH. The participants were able to deepen their knowledge about treatment of children who engage in bullying behaviours, emphasizing early identification of students at risk and early intervention as key strategies. The conducted evaluation showed significant participants’ satisfaction with the quality of training delivery.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Nest centres

With regards to children at risk, first INF activities in 2015 were focused on opening three new Nest centres of the third generation in BiH. and applicants  from the following organisations were positively awarded Most from Gradiska, Orhideja from Stolac and Kriva rijeka from Olovo. during the month of June three organisations have got contracts and have started with the first phase of the project – renovating and equipping space for the centre that is to start with its activities with children after the concept workshop that is scheduled for 25-27 of August  in Teslic.

All centres of the second generation reported that they are more accepted and recognised in their communities and that their cooperation with local stakeholders goes much smoother and they are treated now as partners. Nest centres of the second generation are providing services to 183 children at risk and 223 of their parents. They work with the assistance of 69 volunteers and 22 professionals.

Research team met in February in order to define additional issues and dynamics for the second phase of the research Strengths and Difficulties of Children at Nest Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. By the end of the month, Nest centres of the second generation have got sets of age-adapted questionnaires for children at risk, their peers, Centres staff, teachers and parents, which have been applied afterwards.

This comparative survey in the second phase included 88 children at risk, selected on the basis of the criteria defined beforehand, and 69 of them in the reference group, comprised of their peers from the same class. Research report that was published in June 2015.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Gender Based Violence in School Settings

Five organizations that have been implementing projects in the field of “Prevention of GBV in School Settings” are “Women to women” Sarajevo, “Voice of Women” Bihac, “Amica Educa” Tuzla, “United Women” Banja Luka and “Association of Women” Derventa. They are getting continued support from IN Foundation in implementation of their projects in communities of Banja Luka, Gradiška, Tuzla, Bihac, Prnjavor and Derventa.

1711 children, 482 parents and 142 teachers, included in mentioned projects, become aware of types and causes of peer and gender-based violence. They also increased their knowledge on the subject of gender equality, gender-based discrimination and gender-based violence. Thanks to these projects, 11 primary and secondary schools do have a model of peer education on prevention of gender-based violence and 33 pupils become Peer Educators on GBV.

In accordance with the set program plan for 2015, a first meeting of “Community of change on prevention of GBV violence in school settings” was held on June 2nd, 2015 in Banja Luka, in the presence of seven attendees from five supported NGOs. A steering committee consisted of representatives of the project organizations (Women to women Sarajevo, Voice of Women Grahovo, Amica Educa Tuzla, United Women Banja Luka, Association of Women Derventa, alongside with INF  project coordinator and  director). This meeting, among other things, has also provided an opportunity for participants to exchange lessons learned from the projects they have been implementing. It was agreed the first joint action will be creating a practical guidebook for the prevention of GBV in school settings for teaching and other school staff.  The guidebook will integrate main findings for BiH context, methodology of work, detail workshop plans, lessons learned and good practices from projects supported. It is expected that the publication will help school staff to apply gained knowledge in school in a more practical way. The content framework for the future publication is being defined, while the participants have had obligation to collect and sent materials. It is expected to start working on the publication in the next period.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Family Group Conference

In 2015, IN foundation has continued to provide support to the established NGO network of 4 organisations in BiH in the field of Family Group Conference. Three new organizations,  “Altruist” Mostar, “Our Children” Zenica and “Family circle” Bijeljina, including the NGO “Family network” from Banja Luka with its branch office in Sarajevo, have continued initiating, developing and implementing the Family Group Conference model and provide services in collaboration with their local partners – Centre for social welfare.

INF, through its activities within the FGC subprogramme, is organising intervision meetings with the aim to o improve the program implementation, identify challenges faced in delivering services and gain a new insight into the implementation of the model of work in BiH context. Project coordinators, independent coordinators and social workers from the three involved NGOs and local CSW’s presented cases of FGCs, discussed about the most common difficulties encountered like how to retain the beneficiaries until the beginning of conference, and in the work and through a joint discussion clarified optimal modalities of model activity.

A seminar entitled “Presentation of FGC model and benefits of it’s integrate into the child and social protection system in BiH,” was held in June 16th-17th, 2015 in hotel “Hollywood”, Sarajevo.  Four years achievements in implementing an innovative model for children and families at risks in Bosnia and Herzegovina were presented to 46 representatives from various ministries, universities, centres for social work and NGOs. The participants gained an understanding of FGC model’s benefits regarding improving children’s well-being and the examples of integration such a service into the practice of a child and social protection in BiH.

Since the beginning of 2015 three partner organisations have organized 49 FGC’s in total, in five targeted local communities in BiH, which have included 85 children, 82 parents and 224 extended family members.

The general impression is that the organizations, independent coordinators and social workers from CSWs understood the benefits of the model for vulnerable children, families at risks and wider social settings, by recognizing the values and strengths of this model compared with the other services.

Posted in category: News, date 31.08.2015

Protecting children, screen your employees

To improve the system of protection of children from sexual violence, we would like to present you a guide called “Protecting children, screen your employees” which was created by the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands. The document gives good guidance for organisations to improve the system checks for new employees or volunteers who have direct contact with children and young people, and to establish rules and standards of behavior that should be adhered to.

Protect children, screen your employees

Posted in category: News, date 31.07.2015

Research report: “Strengths and Difficulties of Children at Nest Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina”

The key objective of this research is to assess socio-emotional aspects of children who are living in families with multiple problems (multi-problem families) and who have been involved in the activities of Daycare “Nest” Centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past 18 months. The purpose of daycare centers for children at risk is to contribute to a better quality of life of the children who are coming from multi-problem families, to provide them with new possibilities of development through high-quality, professional and focused support directed at children and their parents, in cooperation with all relevant local community stakeholders.

Immediately after the second generation of daycare Nest Centers in BiH was opened (in 2013), we launched a research on the psychological characteristics of the children involved in the centers and their peers from typical families, according to the previously defined criteria. In order to review the effects of this approach we repeated the survey 18 months later.

Even though there still are differences between children at risk and children from typical families, the survey indicates there is a greater tendency of the reduction of contrasts of these two groups. Furthermore, the children at risk show a significant improvement in all measured aspects of functioning. They report less emotionally problems, problems in behavior, hyperactivity, relationships with peers and believe to be more pro-socially oriented. They also report a higher level of self-esteem and educational aspirations than they did reported in the previous year. Children at risk perceive a great sense of belonging to the Nest center, while centre staff and their teachers, report a tendency of positive changes in behavior, school achievement and improving work habits.

This method of work and specific approach has proved efficient in working with children at risk. Continued support, safe environment, supportive relationships and positive learning models contribute to a more stable development and growth of these children.

Research on Nest centres 2015


Posted in category: News, date 06.07.2015