Bosnia and Herzegovina

Executive Board members visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

UNICEF correspondent Amer Kapetanović reports on the Executive Board's visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Watch in RealPlayer

 

By Amer Kapetanović

During a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, members of the UNICEF Executive Board observed the situation of the most vulnerable children and their families and had the opportunity to see how an upstream approach at different levels of governance can improve it.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7 May 2013 – A delegation from the UNICEF Executive Board, including officials from Albania, Finland, Guyana, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kenya, recently paid a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The delegates had the opportunity to observe the situation of children and families, especially the most vulnerable ones, and to understand how an upstream approach at different levels of governance can contribute to improving it.

Inclusion and early childhood education

In Bilalovac village, Kiseljak municipality, the delegation was introduced to the phenomenon of schools divided along ethnic lines to see how children are growing up in parallel systems with few opportunities to learn from and interact with children from other ethnic groups. The delegates observed a workshop on communication, intercultural education and peace education as an initiative to bring together children from different ethnic groups. These efforts complement work at the policy and legislative level to end segregation and promote multiethnic and intercultural education.

In a village near Zepce, together with the Cantonal Ministry of Education, the delegation visited a UNICEF-supported municipal early childhood education programme. Such initiatives at the municipal and cantonal levels complement work at the policy level to support the implementation of the Law and Strategy on Pre-school Education and expand access to preschool.

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In a village near Zepce, the delegation visited UNICEF-supported municipal early childhood education programmes.

In the city of Derventa, together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Republika Srpska, the mayor and other authorities, the delegates interacted with children with disabilities and their parents, who receive care and support in a daycare centre co-founded by the municipality, the government of Republika Srpska and UNICEF. Such services have been established as part of a broad programme supported by the European Union to strengthen social protection and inclusion at all levels.

Juvenile justice

Together with the Cantonal Ministry of Justice, the delegates met with juveniles at the disciplinary centre in Tuzla. The centre is used as an ‘open’ facility – with no locks, bars or uniformed guards – to host juvenile offenders, as an alternative to detention. Part of a programme on justice for children supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, this initiative complements UNICEF efforts to strengthen juvenile justice policy and legal frameworks in accordance with international standards.

Together with the Cantonal Minister of Interior, the delegation visited a child-friendly room at the Tuzla police station. As part of a larger programme on juvenile justice, UNICEF has been preventing violence, promoting alternatives to detention and supporting the establishment of child-friendly rooms in police stations in nine municipalities. Based on this positive practice, the country committed to establishing child-friendly facilities in all courts and prosecutorial offices, with UNICEF technical assistance.

Early childhood development

Together with Cantonal Ministries of Health, Education and Social Welfare and the Federal Ministry of Health, the delegates interacted with children and their mothers, as well as with professionals involved in early childhood development services provided in Tuzla health facilities. These services are an example of services mainstreamed within the health system as part of the implementation of the State and Entity Early Childhood Development policies.

Equity

The visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina ended in Prutace, a very poor and disadvantaged community in Brcko district with a high number of Roma and displaced persons from neighbouring municipalities. Efforts to reduce equity gaps by working together to promote social inclusion, reduce school dropout and prevent violence were presented.

The delegation had the opportunity to meet with ministries at all levels, the European Union and international organizations to discuss early childhood development, intercultural education, social protection and inclusion, child rights, justice for children, prevention of violence and child protection.


 

 

UNICEF Photography: UNICEF’s Executive Board

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