Article Index

"VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE AS A NEW CATEGORY OF THE POOR"

supported by Kvinna till Kvinna

The general objective is to contribute to the empowerment of women victims of domestic violence through development of conditions for their economic independence.

The goal of the project is the cognition of the influence of domestic violence on the development of a new category of the poor – women and children victims of domestic violence and contribution to the definition of positive policies for introduction of gender sensitive budgets on all levels in BH.

During this period, we were able to establish a wider network of women’s lobby that encompasses women on various levels of power, including politics, society and economy.

The results of this project year include:

  1. Informing the decision makers to define policies that provide better economic opportunities for women victims of domestic violence, i.e. social economy, gender sensitive budgets.

  2. Contribution to the awareness rising of the society regarding these issues.

Since the project has been written for two years, the results 1 and 2 have been accomplished in the first project year.

There are reel chances to lobby, in the forthcoming period, for the foundation of Funds of venture capital or Guarantee funds as a form of support to the economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence.

The beginning of the year was mainly spent in preparation activities for campaigns, i.e. Round tables and the campaign, which were organized simultaneously in a relatively short time frame (from October to the end of December) in order to give it additional value and to be present almost permanently on TV at that time. We wanted, in this way, to draw attention on our activities, that is on this particular problem and possible solutions, which was our goal, so that we had a full media coverage on TV RTRS, BH1, ATV, Herceg TV, BN, radio Bijeljina, radio Trebinje. Thus, during the first half a year, we prepared material for the campaign, which includes posters and leaflets and we identified individuals for the "women’s informal network", which gathers women of various profiles and positions in the society, politics and economy. Preparation for the campaign included the development of leaflets and posters with messages about the Guarantee fund and other forms of support for the economic empowerment of women together with the summary of the research "Victims of domestic violence as a new category of impoverished communities". The leaflets were not only distributed on round tables and to partner organizations (where we also distributed the posters), but also on street manifestations during the sixteen days of female activism and to all municipalities in the Eastern Herzegovina region, when we signed the Agreements on cooperation and individual Protocols. During this period, we defined a legal model that is practically applicable in our environment with the support of a Professor from the Faculty of Economy from Banja Luka, Mr. Željko Račić:

1. Guarantee funds – The idea of the guarantee funds exists already in the RS in form of a package of supportive measures to stimulate the development of small and medium sized enterprises. In our case, we are requesting that, in addition to small and medium sized enterprises, this package should include also physical persons, when possible titled as women victims of domestic violence, but is sufficient to have the formulation Physical person. In that case, the RS Government supports the guarantees for small and medium sized enterprises and also women victims of domestic violence, who want to start their own business but are not in the position to obtain favourable credit lines for the encouragement of business development (all property is registered on their husbands’ names). While we are preparing this report (January/February 2010), the RS National Assembly discusses the issue of Guarantee funds in general. There is an example of Guarantee funds in Serbia, which adopted the law on Guarantee Fund in 2003!

2. Funds of venture capital – These are already known from neighbouring countries, i.e. Croatia where the investor invests in the idea of the physical/legal person – in our case victims of domestic violence – who does not have own money but has the idea of, for example, production of goat cheese. In that case, the investor enables the self-employment of a women victim of domestic violence or other people for the realization of a business idea and the capital, that is profit is reciprocally shared depending on the role or work done.

3. When approving high-amount credits in RS through the Investment and development bank, where the interest rate is around 6% and that can be approved only for enterprises, it is necessary to condition them that on every 50.000 Euro one job position must be provided for women victims of domestic violence.

4. To provide stimulation measures for private business owners who employ, through the Employment Office, this category of population as it was, for example, for demobilized soldiers or Roma population!

The planned round tables in Bijeljina, Mostar and Zenica were organized with the support of partner organisations "Lara" from Bijeljina, "Zene BiH" from Mostar and "Info teka" from Zenica (at that time member of "Medika"). They also participated in the elaboration of the research "Women victims of domestic violence as a new category of impoverished communities", which served as a basis for the organization of these round tables. While in the Republic of Srpska we were providing concrete above stated models that are legally applicable in RS, in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina we demonstrated these as models that can be adapted according to the Cantonal level and applied in that Entity.

The first Round table was organized in Banja Luka, beginning at 11:00 on the 28th of October, 2009 with participation of 15 people including female members of the Parliament, female representatives from Ministries, the RS Gender centre and KtK representatives from the Sarajevo office.

The second Round table was organized in Bijeljina on the 28th of October, 2009, beginning at 18:00 with participation of representatives from NGOs, private business owners and representatives of the Agency for Development NERDA, the Employment Office – 25 participants altogether.

The third Round table was organized in the frame of the Second two-day international conference that we held in Trebinje on the 7th and 8th of November, 2009 in the frame of the sixteen days of female activism under the title "Theory and practice of legislation in BH" that concerns women and children’s human rights, which was coo-financed by the BH Ministry of Civil Affairs and Filia.

The fourth Round table was organized in Mostar on the 21st of December beginning at 10:00 for representatives of institutions that cooperate with the NGO "Zene BiH" – 37 participants who shared their opinions with us. Since there were representatives from institutions and NGOs, there were various comments.

The fifth Round table was organized in Zenica also on the 21st of December in the afternoon hours, beginning at 18:00 with representatives from the NGO sector and private business owners – 35 participants.

The sixth Round table was organized in Sarajevo on the 23rd of December for 25 participants who are mainly from the field of politics and institutions.

The campaign activities and round tables, including the Conference contributed to the achievement of following results:

It is important to mention that some of the representatives of the governing structures, particularly from the RS have sent us letters of support although they were not in the position to participate on these round tables, the most significant being the President of the RS National Assembly, Mr. Igor Radojicic, the Vice-President of the RS Government, Mrs. Jasna Brkic as well as a number of aldermen and alderwomen from both entities who will be important for us in the future since they expressed in this way their support to our activities.

  1. Informing the decision makers to define policies that provide better economic opportunities for women victims of domestic violence, i.e. social economy, gender sensitive budgets.

  2. Contribution to the awareness rising of the society regarding these issues.