Article Index

“WOMEN’S POLITICAL LOBBY”

supported by Kvinna till Kvinna

The main goal of the project is an equal distribution of power among men and women or the implementation of the Law on gender equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The implementation of this Law provides an essential change in the BH society brought about through legal changes and amendments, gender budgets, programmatic changes in the literature, schoolbooks and the media, various processes that will have a gender sensitive and equal treatment of all activities, programmes, appearances and provide in this way an equal distribution of power among men and women in BH.

The project included activities that had following objectives:

  1. To contribute to the creation of a unique women’s political lobby in the Republic of Srpska.

  2. To contribute to the resolution of the financing status for Safe houses in the Republic of Srpska.

  3. To empower and to encourage women-politicians from the Election unit 6.

During the reporting period we have organised four round tables in RS and two in FBH for women-parliamentarians, ministers, representatives of various institutions, media and NGO representatives, two campaigns and six round tables in each municipality of Eastern Herzegovina on the subject of the systematic solution of the financing issue of Safe houses in RS as well as in our region/Eastern Herzegovina. This project also included the education for women from political actives in the Election unit 6 in order to give them support and help. The result of these activities was the establishment of the women’s lobby.

The activities that have been carried out through the year 2007 are:

  1. Round tables for women-parliamentarians and ministers and representatives of women’s NGOs

  2. Campaigns

  3. Education for women-politicians from actives of the Election unit 6

  4. Panel discussions in municipalities of Eastern Herzegovina as additional project activities

Round tables for women-parliamentarians and ministers and representatives of women’s NGOs

In 2007 we have organised 6 Round tables as it was planned in the project and as follows:

26. February 2007 – Round table in Banja Luka with 19 participants. The introductory part on this Round table has been done by Lana Jajčević. This Round table showed all deficiencies and rivalry within the sector of women’s NGO and we did not have, unfortunately, the understanding and support of other members of the KTK network in RS. However, this Round table was successful because it gathered women from the media and women-ministers as well as representatives of those organisations that already have a Safe house (Udružene žene from Banja Luka, Budućnost from Modriča and Lara from Bijeljina). Representatives of the Gender centre were also invited but they did not respond on the invitation. The Round table had an informative character for nearly all women-ministers and media representatives. According to them, they did not have any insight into this issue. At that point, we could see the development of solidarity among them. That was the beginning of the creation of an informal core of a women’s lobby in RS. Then we were the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina who required a systematic solution for the financing of Safe houses in RS and we explained why it is important to provide such financing for Safe houses intended for victims of domestic violence. We made an action plan that was later modified according to the situational development (from the model that we have offered up o the ways of lobbying and selection of target groups).

30. May 2007 – Second Round table in Banja Luka with 12 participants. The introductory part on this Round table was done by Mira Lolić Močević – the director of the RT RS program. Each Round table had very strong media coverage and reports in the main news, Srpska danas and in the morning programme of RT RS. Thus, women in media were very important and they are mainly responsible for a great media coverage and success of these activities (particularly Mira Lolić Močević). Participants on this Round table were media representatives, women-politicians (parliamentarians), representatives of women’s NGOs, representatives of those ministries that we have invited because they work, directly or indirectly, with this issue. We sent an invitation to the Ministry of justice, the Ministry for family, youth and sport, the Ministry of health and social protection, the Ministry of local administration and self-management, the Ministry of finances, the Ministry of education and culture, the Gender centre as well as to other representatives that work within other ministries that are important because the possibility of lobbying and their position/as a support to our activities and lobbying within governmental bodies. From all above mentioned ministries only representatives of the Ministry of local administration and self-management and the Ministry of education and culture participated while all others did not appear. Representatives of the evaluation team, engaged by Ktk for this activity, have been present on this Round table.

We came up on this Round table with a concrete proposal of a possible financing model that we modified on this meeting together with the rest of the group. On the same day was the meeting of the Council for equal possibilities within the RS National Assembly. We used the position of one of our participants, the minister Ms. Gordana Dukić and participated on that meeting where this topic was named on our insisting and the financing issue of Safe houses was delegated by the Council. The public hearing by this important governmental body on the subject “Financing of Safe houses in the Republic of Srpska” was appointed for the 18th of June in Banja Luka. Representative of our organisation was also invited. Our model offered a financing possibility that includes four parallel financial resources, which enable an absolute safety for the work of safe houses. These resources include:

  • Two resources from the Government budget and through the Ministry for family, youth and sport and the Ministry of health and social protection

  • Third resource includes those municipalities whose region is covered by the Safe house. Each municipality participates in that budget based on the number of inhabitants.

  • The fourth resource is provided by the management team of the Safe house. In this way the Safe house cannot become ballast that has stable financial resources and stops to be operational.

26. June 2007 – Third Round table in Sarajevo whereon the introductory part was done by the professor Nada Ler Sofrontić, the president of the organisation “Žena i društvo (Woman and society)”. There were 20 participants on this Round table: women-parliamentarians from the Representation House and the FBH House of Nations, representatives of the organisation Medika from Zenica, the Local democracy from Sarajevo, the Committee of blind women from Sarajevo, Most from Višegrad, Duvanjke from Tomislavgrad, BH Žena, Gender centre of Federation of BH, Budućnost from Modriča and numerous media. All members of the KtK network in BH have been invited to this Round table as well as those organisations that already have a safe house. In our efforts to inform our colleagues from the Federation and their women-politicians, we presented our planned and achieved results directed towards the systematic solution of the financing issue for Safe houses in RS. Fortunately, we were welcomed and all participants were grateful because we initiated and started these activities and invited them to do the same in the Federation. We then made an agreement what needs to be done to initiate this issue in the Federation. Our colleagues from Medika announced that the next meeting regarding this issue will be organised in Zenica for the FBH.

12. December 2007 – Fourth Round table in Banja Luka where the introductory part was done by the journalist and activist in women’s issues Anđa Ilić. Each of our round tables was practically a meeting whereon we informed each other about our activities and results achieved as well as about our future plans. In this way we knew that the changes and amendments of the Law on protection from domestic violence were proposed for the agenda and that we had to wait when they will be finally on the National Assembly. It was extremely important to have the right information in the right time, to contact and lobby for the adoption of appropriate proposals.

18. December 2007 – Fifth Round table in Sarajevo. This Round table was the second in Sarajevo and we wanted to inform our colleagues about our activities and results and to see what they have achieved in the Federation since the previous Round table. The introductory part on this Round table was done by Dubravka Kovačević. There were 29 participants, most of them were women-politicians and NGOs that are not members of the KtK network and the Gender centre of the Federation of BH. It was great to find out how the colleagues organized themselves and successfully provided 200 000 KM in the budget for safe house for the year 2008. Even though this was only a one-off support, it is important to mention it because the initiative came from our previous Round table.

27. December 2007 – Sixth and final Round table in Banja Luka, with 20 participants. The introductory part was done by Gordana Dukić, member of the RS National Assembly and member of the Council for equal possibilities. Representatives of the RS Gender centre participated for the first time. We then discussed the current situation, proposals within the amendments and changes of the Law on protection from domestic violence that is, unfortunately, not in that form that we have suggested. According to them the financing of safe house should be the responsibility of municipalities and towns even though the Council for equal possibilities has sent to the National Assembly the conclusions from the 18th of June wherein they practically delegate our model. Unfortunately, the main difficulty are the Ministry of health and social protection, the Ministry for family, youth and sport and the Gender centre that acts more like a governmental body that a body established to provide gender equality.

All participants on our round tables were a qualitative group for “pressure” that completely fulfilled our expectations and even more that that.

Campaigns

During the reporting period we were leading two campaigns as a support to the realization of a systematic solution for the financing of Safe houses. The campaigns included two TV emissions that were directed on activities towards finding a systematic solution for Safe houses (26. June and 12. December 2007). In the first emission was only our representative and the leader of the emission and the second emission was a live show together with Anđa Ilić and containing many reports and surveys from the Centre for public security Trebinje, the Centre for social work Trebinje and the prosecutor’s office with the aim to provide a clear picture about the needs for placement in safe houses. These campaigns included surveying, public appearances, leaflets and a street manifestation where the activists dressed in T-shirts with a clear message “Say “yes” to the systematic financing of safe houses”, were handing out leaflets to the citizens supported by the local media. As this issue was delegated to the National Assembly, the framework of our activities was directed to the “pressure” of the public on governmental structures in order to show that these are not only our opinions but the opinions of the RS citizens where the majority of the voting population is women who are mainly victims of domestic violence. We had several appearances on the local radio stations and TV emissions, which certainly contributed to the establishment of the public opinion on this subject.

Education for women from political actives in the Election unit 6

We have organised within this activity 8 one-day seminars, two in each municipality: Trebinje, Foča, Ljubinje and Bileća. The Election unit 6 has 12 municipalities: Trebinje, Ljubinje, Berkovići, Kalinovnik, Čajniče, Rudo, Višegrad, Nevesinje, Gacko, Bileća, Foča and Novo Goražde. We decided to invite in one municipality women from political actives from different municipalities in order to have an appropriate number for the organisation of focus groups, which is in average 25 participants. All political parties have been invited to participate on these activities and the activists from the Election unit 6 that has 18 political parties. As some of the planned participants are board members in Municipalities in Eastern Herzegovina, we made use of it and initiated some small actions in local communities identified by the women themselves. In some municipalities the establishment of municipal commissions for gender equality was initiated as a result of these seminars (i.e. in Trebinje). Our organisation will support these initiatives within local communities and help them in the lobbying of municipal authorities but also provide appropriate materials and other documents that are important for the members of the commissions. It became clear that women have very little possibilities to educate themselves regarding public appearances because their male colleagues are the ones who usually go on every meeting, particularly in other, bigger municipalities. That means that women in small municipalities, such as the municipalities of the Election unit 6 are in an unequal position in any sense including the presence in the media. But, they are aware of their lack of experience and they are trying to avoid public appearances. Our work with them on following topics:

  • “Woman in politics”

  • “Lobbying, advocacy and development pf own campaigns”

  • “Public appearance and relations with media”

  • “Practical part, preparation and organisation of concrete actions”

was therefore very important for them. It is particularly important to say that the educator on the first two topics was Mrs. Dušanka Majkić who is on the highest political position in RS that a woman-politician has. She is a very experienced and capable woman-politician who shared her practical good and bad experiences on the defined subjects. The third subject was prepared by the clinical psychologist, an activist of a political party and of the Women’s centre Ljiljana Špuran-Knežević who was bringing closer the media to the women-politicians in a very eloquent way, freeing them from their fear, shame, stage fright and resistance. The fourth and final topic about joint actions and planning in the local community was led by the project coordinator Ljiljana Čičković. This was mainly about the reel and practical actions named by the women themselves.

10. February 2007 – first one-day seminar in Trebinje with 33 participants and the second was organised on the 03. March with 33 participants.

17. February 2007 – first one-day seminar in Ljubinje with 18 participants and the second was organised on the 04. March with 21 participants.

01. April 2007 – first one-day seminar in Bileća with 28 participants and the second was organised on the 02. April with 28 participants.

19. May 2007 – first one-day seminar in Foča with 25 participants and the second was organised on the 20. May with the same group.

Panel discussions

The SIDA representative Mr. Joakim Molander and the representative of the KtK office in Sarajevo visited us on the 02nd of May and on that occasion we had a meeting with the mayor of the Municipality Trebinje, Mr. Dobroslav Ćuk. SIDA representatives expressed their interest to finance the construction of the building of the Safe house in Trebinje if the Municipality Trebinje is ready to take the responsibility for ongoing costs for this Safe house. On the insisting of our Mayor, a justification study has been prepared to show the need for a Safe house. This study was prepared by the Centre for social work Trebinje and it showed that there is a need for a Safe house but it is not priority. Regardless of our efforts, there were no important steps forward in this direction. For the adoption of the study of justification on the 05. and 06. January 2007 on the Assembly of the Municipality Trebinje our representative was invited to participate in the work of the Assembly. She has spoken to the board members of the municipality Trebinje with a clear request to adopt it as a priority and to reject the proposal of a Study for usage of a flat as a placement for victims of domestic violence. These were the reasons why we applied in your organisation for an additional project to go through all municipalities of Eastern Herzegovina. The goal of all these panel discussions is to lobby representatives of local communities in Eastern Herzegovina (mayors, board members, municipal commissions for gender equality, centres for social work, police, prosecutor’s office, media) in order to create a positive policy towards the establishment of a regional Safe house for victims of domestic violence in the municipality Trebinje. Panel discussions provoked a high interest and attention of all above mentioned representatives in each municipality in Eastern Herzegovina: 10. December 2007 in Trebinje (36 participants), 26. December 2007 in Gacko (15 participants), 25. December 2007 in Bileća (27 participants), 28. December 2007 in Ljubinje (17 participants), 29. December 2007 in Berkovići (20 participants) and 31. December 2007 in Nevesinje (15 participants). One thing that became obvious for all participants are opinions that encouraged our organisation to continue in this way and that we have their full support. Their opinion is that a Safe house is necessary and that it should be of regional character and that all of them will do anything possible to enable its realisation in accordance with their professions. The Mayor of the Municipality Berkovići suggested to delegate this issue to the Association of municipalities of Eastern Herzegovina with the goal to obtain financial resources for its construction. During this reporting period we participated on the seminar Outcome mapping, organised by KtK from the 04. to 06. March this year in Sarajevo. In this reporting period we had a visit from Tanja Ignjatović who was preparing the evaluation of our organisation.