Over the past few years, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina has contributed significantly to the social inclusion of children with disabilities as part of its overall focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable children in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To help reduce social stigma, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina has engaged in a series of public awareness-raising campaigns since 2013, with support from the EU and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Using the slogan “It’s about ability!”, the campaigns featured positive images of children with disabilities engaged in daily activities with their families, friends and communities. In many of its public communication events, such as conferences and workshops, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina has included children with disabilities as moderators and speakers.
In order to improve the quality of education for children with disabilities, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ministries of Education promoted pedagogical approaches for teachers to apply child-centred inclusive education teaching and learning approaches for all children, including children with disabilities.
UNICEF worked with the non-governmental organization EDUS to develop and disseminate early detection and intervention guidelines, tools and standards to 32 healthcare centres, kindergartens and social services centres in the country. They also provided training on using these materials to 100 professionals working with children from all sectors.
As a result of UNICEF-supported interventions between 2015-17:
- 2,000 children with disabilities and their families gained better access to social services, such as day care, counselling and referrals.
- 3,000 children with disabilities were reached with early detection and intervention services as part of early childhood development (ECD) services.
- 675 children with disabilities benefited from inclusive education approaches.
- 150 children with disabilities benefited from improved care and protection services.
To create a more enabling policy environment for children with disabilities, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina helped develop and advocate successfully for rights-based strategies on persons with disabilities.
To increase access to services for children with disabilities at the municipal level, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina enabled the establishment of multisectoral working groups tasked with developing budgeted local action plans to reach the most vulnerable children with quality services in each municipality. As of 2017, there were 12 such working groups, and 10 had identified and put in place specific services (e.g., family counselling, day care, referrals, transportation) to benefit children with disabilities and their families.