Article Index

“INFORMATIVE ACTIVITIES FOR RURAL WOMEN IN EAST HERZEGOVINA”

supported by Kvinna till Kvinna

During the first half of 2011, our organization was supported by Kvinna till Kvinna to develop our organizational capacities. As part of this project, we organized two three-day workshops. The first workshop was the development of a Fund raising strategy for our organization and the other workshop was elaboration of a three-year Plan and program of work for the Women's centre Trebinje.

The three-year Program includes:

  • Work on finding financial sources for our activities

  • Work on self-financing of our organization relying on local sources of finances

  • Work on economic empowerment of women

  • Direct work with victims of domestic violence (Safe house, SOS help line, counseling for women victims of domestic violence, free legal aid and representation in court for victims of domestic violence)

  • Lobbying, advocacy, campaign aimed at improvement of women’s position

  • Research that precedes lobbying, advocacy and campaigns aimed at improvement of women’s position

  • Work with women in politics

  • Monitoring of court proceedings of domestic violence cases

  • Work on development of women’s lobby

The three-year Plan includes:

  • two persons are identified in our organization to monitor tenders and grants - local and international - that are available to NGOs in BH

  • Development of medieval market place as an activity that contains, in addition to economic empowerment of women, a segment of self-financing of our organization through sale of products made in glass, jewelry and other souvenirs but also through payments of rent for exhibition space

  • It is planned to dedicate the first year to lobbying, advocacy and campaigns with the aim to economically empower women and establish a Safe House

  • The second year is focused on ensuring independence for the Safe House as an independent organization that will contain all activities of direct work with victims. In the second year we will also focus on monitoring of court proceedings.

In the second half of 2011, our organization implemented with the support of Kvinna till Kvinna a project entitled “Informative activities for rural women in Eastern Herzegovina”.

The year 2011 does not differ much from previous years, except that the economic crisis led the country into a deeper poverty. The political instability and constant issues on the national basis puts the social context into an inferior position as well as unemployment, low level of living standard that is much lower than the expressed, layoffs, inflation... The average salary in the Republic of Srpska is not the one that is officially presented, i.e. the majority of the population has income amounting in the range from 150 KM to 600 KM but because of a small percentage of those who receive salaries amounting in the range from 2000 KM up to 5000 KM we have an average income of 880 KM.

The position of women in the society and family has not been improved in any way despite significant efforts of the Ngo sector in BH. Only from the outside it seems that there are mechanisms for gender equality but the problem is that these mechanisms are not functioning. Their inability is best seen in specific domestic violence cases where women and children’s human rights are being violated in the brusquest way. The situation in BH in terms of domestic violence is best reflected through specific cases that demonstrate our reality and not through established mechanisms and defined laws that do not play any significant role if they are not respected.

One gets the impression that laws are being adopted only to meet the form because someone expects it from us and not because our awareness as a society has changed about a certain issue. Thus, laws are often only being taken from European countries without being adapted to our mentality and possibilities.

Women in rural areas are in a particularly difficult position. While searching for information about programs of support for women in rural areas, we came across Action plans and Strategies without any specific programs that are currently active. The situation is particularly difficult in eastern Herzegovina, which has, due to the inaccessibility of the field as well as due to poverty, a very weak infrastructure, plan and development of the village and conditions for revival of rural areas. All this is particularly influencing women who are the pillars of their families. Even the school bus lines that existed for suburban places are being reduced in our region, which would lead directly to the abandoning of these areas. The municipality Trebinje is a municipality with the lowest level of rural population in the entire RS – only 2%. The complex procedures for using health services also aggravate the access to these, particularly for rural population that has to travel to the town where the health centers and hospitals are located. A high number of uneducated rural population is also a factor of concern. We had to add to this that a large number of women in rural areas are exposed to domestic violence. The distance from centers where the schools, hospitals, institutions and other important building are located significantly reduces the life quality of women living in rural areas.

During the implementation of this project we accomplished the project goal:

Women in rural areas of Eastern Herzegovina are better informed about their rights and opportunities.

We accomplished following results for 290 women directly – they attended workshops but also for the remaining 700 women indirectly – these are women who received informative booklets and/or who received these information from women attending the workshops:

  • Women and girls received summed up information on prevention and detection of the most common illnesses affecting women, contraception and family planning;

  • Women and girls are informed about their rights and opportunities to which they did not have access so far and that refer to domestic violence and information on measures and plans of the Government of the Republic of Srpska to improve the village with reflection of female rural population.

Result indicators are:

  • Number of women who expressed their need for a medical check up after the attended workshop

  • Analysis of the same surveys that were completed by the target population before and after the workshops about their level of information on the rights and opportunities in the field of health education, domestic violence, measures and plans of the Republic of Srpska to improve the village with reflection of female rural population.

  • Evaluation sheets after the workshops about their need for these topics.