Ten Teams of Young People Awarded Funds to Implement Innovative Solutions For Community Problems in Bosnia and Herzegovica and Serbia

UNICEF's UPSHIFT programme provides 16-24 years olds with opportunity to develop skills necessary to transition from education to work

22 May 2023

Sarajevo/Dubai, 22 May 2023 – Ten teams of community focused young problem solvers, from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia, have been awarded 1,500 Euros each by UNICEF and DP World to implement their innovative solutions to issues they Identified in their local communities.

The initiative is a part of UNICEF’s UPSHIFT skills-building programme for 16-24 years old, aimed at providing more adolescents and young people from both countries with the skills necessary to transition from education to work. It also brings the countries one step closer to bridging their alarming youth unemployment rates.

Around 800 young people applied for the workshop by identifying a total of 140 issues from their communities, describing their impact on everyday life and perceived causes. During the final conference, 20 teams – ten from BiH, ten from Serbia were then selected to present their final projects and solutions. The event was attended by a delegation from DP World, a leading provider on smart logistics solutions, which partnered with UNICEF last year to help build digital and ICT skills, innovation and transferrable skills through boot camps, workshops, online training programmes.

Some of the local problems identified by participants included: the degradation of academic education quality due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools lacking sufficient career guidance for children with special needs, undervalued local culture and history, and low enrollment rates of Roma students in secondary schools.

During the visit, Maha AlQattan, Group Chief People and Sustainability Officer, DP World, met with representatives from the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH and visited the IT Girls Club programme in schools, which has the end goal of reaching as many girls as possible with skills in programming, electronics, and engineering.

Maha AlQattan said: “Our ambition is to create positive change in communities that have a real impact on people's daily lives. This initiative is an intrinsic element of a nation’s capacity building, it will help provide access to quality education and empower the young through the skills that set them up for the future. DP World and UNICEF share the view that through collaboration, we can help make a difference in the lives of the young in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. We feel privileged to be involved and it was an honour to meet these caring and inspirational young people in person.”

Youth unemployment rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) stand at 39% - one of the highest worldwide. 

DP World partner with UNICEF on its BiH Country Programme in 2022 and has since contributed approximately US$3 million. This has enabled UNICEF to continue providing quality learning opportunities by creating a platform for skills building, as well as by supporting education and other relevant authorities to develop sustainable and contemporary solutions for quality education, combined with practical knowledge, and fostering closer links with the private sector and job market.

Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “Providing opportunities for young people to obtain 21st century skills, to be able to be active and productive members of their societies, is integrated in the strategic vision of the UNICEF BiH Country Programme.

“Thanks to the generous contribution of DP World, UNICEF will work towards the development of multiple skills-building opportunities through both formal and informal education, developing and implementing effective coordination and partnerships between government, donors, civil society and the private sector. The set of interventions we are implementing for young people aim to prepare them for the transition from education to work by focusing on areas that are also relevant for DP World, such as ICT, innovations, gender equality, and linking young people with the labour market through internships and mentorships — also potentially engaging DP world employees and partners.”

After the conference, the DP World delegation had a meeting with about 100 young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to discuss the current issues young people in these two countries face, what some of their key priorities are, and how they see initiatives that focus on their skills-building, such as UPSHIFT.

Media contacts

Jadranka Milanovic
Communication Officer
UNICEF Serbia
Tel: + 381 11 3602 104
Tel: +381 63 336 283

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