Campaign against prejudice: Part of the Culture for Development Project
Sarajevo, September 2011: The research done as part of MDGF Culture for Development Programme the aim of which is to promote intercultural dialogue among the peoples in BiH, shows a high level of prejudice and mistrust, primarily caused by insufficient knowledge of the other and different. Prejudice is equally present with adults, but also with school-children.
In order to respond to these challenges, UNICEF BiH, that is within this Programme in charge of realisation of activities relating to the sector of education, has decided to along with its partners initiate a campaign for alteration of attitude and conduct, relying on direct participation of children and adults as a reliable method that may lead to positive changes in society. Hence, last month creative workshops were held for school children in ten municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina that are partners of the Programme.
Children from Bihać, Bijeljina, Prijedor, Jajce, Gradiška, Srebrenik, Tešanj, Rudo, Sokolac and Sarajevo through creative work at three-day workshops learned of friendship, respect for their own tradition and culture, and also getting to know and appreciating the tradition and culture of others. Although the project was held at the time of summer break, workshops were a subject of great interest. For the first time children got a chance to, based on their own experience, create paintings and messages on their own, that would soon be published in public ad sites throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Many campaigns the aim of which was change in attitude or conduct proved unsuccessful as they failed to take into consideration the views of the ones they were intended to. By giving a chance to children and parents to create campaign or a part of it by themselves, we attempted to avoid the trap of “serving of prepared messages” and provide a maximum involvement in the project of the ones the messages are meant for. After we have seen conceptual designs, we may already rightfully say that progress has been made and we are hoping that the citizens of BiH will also agree once the campaign officially commences.” says Communication for Development Officer from UNICEF, Nineta Popović.
Creative workshops have been realized by expert team of Via Media, a marketing agency, and the Project Leader, Larisa Nuhanović said: “We have visited ten municipalities throughout BiH where we have socialized with wonderful children from local elementary schools, as well as with their parents. At almost all of the workshops the conclusions reached were the same; religion, nationality, race, gender, financial status, etc., are irrelevant when it comes to respect and friendship, and the children have shown huge talent in creating of slogans and drawings.”
Student Kamela H. (14) from Bihać is thrilled with creative workshops. She says she liked billboard drawing the most: “I like drawing and I have depicted my talent on this paper. At the time spent at the workshops I have learned that difference among children does not matter; what matters is that we get along well.”
Danijela P. (12) from Rudo sent a message to all the children in BiH saying that “they need to socialize, travel and believe in dreams.”
Stefan B. (11) from Sokolac told us that he had had a good time at the workshops and that he had learned that friendship was the most important, and that all the children needed to be friends regardless of their religion.
Parents also gave a positive evaluation of the creative workshops.
Vanja Manojlović from Bijeljina gladly responded to the invitation to participate in the Culture for Development Programme.
“The workshop was very interesting especially because this was the first time I have participated in a similar project. Tolerance and inter-culture dialogue are a concept identical to the way I am brining up my three sons when it comes to differences and tolerance. I am pleased with the enthusiasm and the willingness of the UN agencies to move things in our country and with our children from deadlock”, Vanja says.
UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF in partnership with the BIH Ministry of Civil Affairs, FBiH Ministry of Culture and Sports, RS Ministry of Education, and ten municipalities are responsible for the realisation of the MDGF Culture for Development Programme in BiH. The Programme is financed from theMillennium Development Goals Fund, and funds have been provided by the Government of Spain.