Young People from All Over BiH Made Recommendations for All Levels of Government
Recommendations by more than 150 young people made in the course of five regional conferences on the position of adolescents in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) were summed up at the closing presentation in Sarajevo, after which a list of young people's requests will be drafted. UNICEF's global report, The State of the World's Children 2011: Adolescence - Age of Opportunity, served as basis for debates in five regions in BIH over the past two months organized by UNICEF and the Youth Information Agency (OIA).
"One of the objectives of these consultations is political as well, since we want to arrive at recommendations that will be a specific outcome of the consultations. We will forward the recommendations to the institutions authorized for solving young people's issues at all levels of government in BIH, so this is one form of advocacy activities of young people and a sign to all those who say that young people are inactive that there are actually young people who are very active indeed and who work on improving their position", said OIA's Jan Zlatan Kulenović at the start of the consultations. He also stressed that the consultations' first important objective was a dialogue on micro level, as the consultations were attended by the persons who deal with the youth's issues and on whom a lot depends.
Florence Bauer, Representative of the UNICEF Office for BIH, said that she was happy to see young people from more than 20 towns in one place working together on improvement of the position of young people in BIH. "It is important to make use of the UNICEF Report and give an opportunity to young people in BIH to talk about their position. I know that you have worked a lot at the regional consultations and we wish that your recommendations reach decision-makers, with our help, too. You showed during the consultations that you were a driving force in your communities and that you were ready to exert influence on young people so that they get going and start solving their problems", said Florence Bauer.
The consultation participants divided into groups in which they discussed and gave recommendations on the topics of education, protection, health and young people's participation. These recommendations were afterward presented by representatives of each group and every presentation was announced by an appropriate theatrical sketch that addressed one of the problems.
"I have just started high school and I am glad that already at the beginning I have an opportunity to participate in one such activity. There were many things that I did not know about the specific rights of adolescents and I will certainly discuss everything I have learned with my friends in the school and convey it to them", Ljiljana Trkulja, student of Electrical Engineering High School in Banja Luka, told us.
Asmir Šestan from the Meša Selimović General Program High School in Tuzla said he attended a number of regional consultations and that such way of treating adolescents' problems was a huge step forward for them.
"We have learned how to overcome all obstacles in the best way and I personally will definitely deal more easily with many problems in the coming period. As I have already been involved in the work of several non-governmental organizations, I will try to pass on the knowledge to others by organizing seminars and workshops, and at the same time broaden my knowledge in the debates with them", Šestan told us.
"I have never been a member of a non-governmental organization, but after this, I definitely intend to become one, perhaps even launch some association to gather young people myself so that we could solve our problems together. Simply, I have understood that we, young people, can do anything, and if I make an effort and am active, one day I might become the country's president", said optimistically after the consultation Milica Vujatović from the Banja Luka General Program High School. Her friends Dragana Bjelica from the 28. Juni High School in Istočno Sarajevo and Stanislava Bosiljčić from the Istočna Ilidža High Vocational School said that the workshops helped them gain plenty of self-confidence for public appearances and addressing government representatives. Elma Pavica from the Business High School in Sarajevo was also satisfied with the workshops. She, too, improved her communication skills through many regional conferences and learned new things that she will share with her peers with pleasure, as she put it.
After the completion of the consultations five projects of young people from high schools were presented. These projects were supported because of their uniqueness and inclusion of complete community, adolescents, local authorities, police force, media and other protagonists. Dijana Krstić from the Technical School in Bijeljina presented the project entitled Why Faster Than Life, which also included professors who were given tasks to make presentations on specific topics and guests invited from five towns in BIH. Students of the Commercial High School in Tuzla presented the project Business Education of Former Addicts -- Business Before Pleasure, in which, with support by the Center for Development of Entrepreneurship in the Center for Rehabilitation of Addicts in Smoluća, they organized workshops at which former addicts acquired the skill of drafting business plans. Marija Pudarić from the Applied Arts High School in Sarajevo presented the project entitled White and Black in Color, in which visual arts workshops were organized with inmates of the Bjelave Home for Children Without Parental Care. Students of the First General Program High School in Zenica presented the project called New Teaching Aids for New Knowledge, in which they collected money through exhibition sales of their works and cakes and school parties for purchase of new maps and other teaching aids in the laboratories for chemistry and physics. Students of the Nursing School in Doboj presented their project The School Pharmacy, in which they equipped a laboratory for pharmaceutical technicians by gathering funds in the towns' pharmacies.
"I want to congratulate all of you, you have done a remarkable job and made recommendations in which you touched on important issues. We shall see that these recommendations reach the ones they are intended to and you should continue working on yourself and your respective communities in order to create as better environment as possible", Florence Bauer, Representative of the UNICEF Office for BIH, recommended to the adolescents at the end of the meeting.