In just one year of implementation, the project “Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in BiH” had an impact on the quality of life of more than 100,000 citizens in BiH, of which 40,000 women, announced UNDP in BiH.
More than 200 local community forums held, 76 infrastructure projects and 34 social inclusion projects, 125 premises of local communities modernised, seven social centres opened, and countless trainings for local community representatives are just a part of the project which improved citizens life in 24 municipalities, where the project is being implemented. It is a joint project of the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Sweden worth 14.5 million BAM (more than 7 million Euro), and implemented by UNDP.
The project aims to increase the democratic and direct participation of citizens in local government, strengthen the accountability of municipal authorities and improve the infrastructure and services at the level of local communities. As it is planned, 136 local communities and 24 local government units (LGUs) across the country will participate in the first phase of the project, which will contribute to improving the quality of life of 300,000 in the whole of the country.
Embassies of Sweden and Switzerland organized the visit to municipalities of Gradacac and Petrovo, to review the impact of project on the field, among citizens in local communities. Cooperation Director with the Swiss Embassy in BiH, Barbara Dätwyler Scheuer, stressed that the Government of Switzerland has been supporting projects aimed at local community development for many years now, and this project has made yet another additional step, for it is delivering in places where people live and have their needs actually met.
“A project for me is a living one once I get to meet the people and see what they do and how are they implementing itˮ, Scheuer said.
The representative of the Swedish Embassy in BiH, Mario Vignjevic, said that he is pleased to see that this project is delivering well. He added that the role of citizens in decision-making and the work of municipal administrations is already evident and noted that citizens themselves have ensured that the project is even more effective and successful with their own proposals.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in BiH, Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, explained during his visit to these municipalities that the project is financed by the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden, while local government units participate with 30% of co-financing.
“It gives the sense of ownership over the project to local authorities, and encourages their greater involvement. It is also important to stress that many of the activities within the project have been identified as priorities by the citizens themselves, and also involve a large number of volunteersˮ, Khoshmukhamedov said.
At a meeting with the delegation, the Speaker of the Petrovo Municipal Assembly, Brano Marjanovic, extended his gratitude to the governments of Switzerland and Sweden, as well as to UNDP, for significant assistance being provided to the population of this local community through this project.
The delegation also paid a visit to the local community of Krtova, where a project of asphalting and improvement of school surrounding was implemented.
Apart from learning more about the exceptional project results, another goal of the visit was to gain insight into the participation of women and youth in project activities, and especially the participation of women in political life at the level of local communities. Representatives of the embassies had the opportunity to discuss these issues with Nermina Hadzimuhamedovic, Head of Social Relations Department with the Gradacac Municipality, and also a project activities coordinator for local communities in the municipality./IBNA