Article Index

BUILDING CAPACITY V

1st project year
Supported by the OAK Foundation and Lushi

Project objective 1. Is to contribute to improved quality of life of women and children in the Republic of Srpska with a focus on an extremely undeveloped region - Eastern Herzegovina.
-Work with female politicians

During the reporting period, “Zenski centar” Trebinje organized for female politicians, of all political parties in 13 municipalities of the RS constituency 9, a whole day interactive workshop with the topics: “Public appearance” and “Advocacy and development of own campaigns” (overall 131 of them). The target groups were women politicians potential candidates for General elections for 2018. In the reporting period we also distributed 6,000 leaflets-propaganda campaign materials which were promoted by women politicians explaining why to vote precisely for women.

Women, aged from 18 to 65, members of political parties, of different education and of different “party membership”, from those who just joined to those with 25 years of party engagement participated at the workshops. Moreover, women who are at the list for General elections also participated at the workshops, in municipalities/cities whose lists contain women.
The majority of workshops participants declared that so far they had never taken part in the workshops with the above mentioned topics. Only 10% of participants had one or more educations related to public appearance which were conducted on the initiative of parties or by NGOs. All participants expressed satisfaction for recognized need to support women to actively take part in the political life. The most of them said that that did not have the same possibility to be involved in politics primarily due to larger scope (in relation to men) of family obligations, but also due to community’s attitude to women politicians- it is still regarded that politics is “a job for men”. All of them emphasized that they find it hard to have an equal relationship with men in their parties.
From the very beginning, at all workshops, since the participants’ introduction, good groups dynamics was expressed. They all pointed out that these workshops which have educational and psychological character, empower them. Apart from practical advice, in order to have successful public appearance, advocacy and development of own campaigns, it is of great importance to share experiences in the groups as well as awareness/self-knowledge of personal strengths and weaknesses. 

-A five-day education for the Center for Social Work for Eastern Herzegovina
Handbook
Education for officers of the Center for Social Work from Eastern Herzegovina, on the topic of domestic violence, work and accommodation of victims in a safe house was held from 5 June 2018 to 9 June 2018, with 20 participants.

Organized by Foundation „Zenski centar“ from Trebinje, the representatives of the Centers for Social Work from Eastern Herzegovina and the representatives of the „Zenski centar“ Trebinje gathered on 5 June 2018 in Neum. The representatives from Trebinje, Gacko, Bileca and Nevesinje attended the education whereas the representatives from Ljubinje and Berkovici were absent for justifiable reasons.
The aim of the education was to introduce the representatives of the Centers for Social Work on following topics:
- domestic violence from a point of a victim of domestic violence and an interview with a victim (Ljiljana Cickovic, Foundation “Zenski centar“ from Trebinje)
-rules and procedures in safe houses (Milka Stevic, Foundation “Lara“ from Bijeljina)
-importance of duration of stay in a safe house for victims of domestic violence (Ljiljana Cickovic, Foundation „Zenski centar“ from Trebinje).

Handbook in the preparation “Handbook for understanding domestic violence”

-Two five-day educations for the 20 same police officers from the entire Eastern Herzegovina
In 2018, the “Zenski centar“ held two five-day educations on the topics: „Training for trainers“ and „Rules and procedures in treating a victim of domestic violence and keeping records of domestic violence“ for 20 police officers from the Police Administration Trebinje. During the first part of education the police officers were trained how to efficiently transfer knowledge acquired at seminars and from their previous experience regarding domestic violence to their colleagues who did not attend educations of the “Zenski centar“. In the second part, the police officers received the training about rules and procedures in treating a victim of domestic violence and keeping records of this criminal offence. This part of education is of extreme importance for police officers in order to as efficiently as possible keep record of this criminal offence and to forward the report to a prosecutor to easily prosecute an offender.

-Meetings of the multidisciplinary team for prevention of domestic violence
During the reporting period we organized 36 meetings of the multidisciplinary team for prevention of domestic violence in six municipalities of Eastern Herzegovina (see the project “Together for a life without violence”)

-Providing direct services to victims of domestic violence: legal aid, psycho-social counseling
During 2018, in their records, the “Zenski centar” had 142 interventions. They were mostly short-term interventions, for example after an act of violence when a woman wants to share her problem with someone and to relieve in that way, but is not willing to proceed with it, neither to the Police nor to the Center for Social Work, nor to any other institution. Apart from these short-term interventions, services provided by the “Zenski centar” in 2018 referred mostly to psycho-social treatments for women and children victims of domestic violence, and to providing legal advice and aid in writing necessary legal documents which were required in a certain situation. Moreover, in 2018 we had groups of self-help consisting of 10 women who would meet twice a month. At those meetings they expressed their problems for a period of living in a violent community, and offered support to each others. Besides standard services provided by the “Zenski centar” Trebinje, in 2018 we initiated a project “persons of trust”. A person of trust provided psychological and legal aid to victims of domestic violence during the process of giving statement to the Police and the Centers for Social Work. Since the beginning of the project, a person of trust, mediated by police with whom we have an excellent cooperation, has been contacted by six victims of domestic violence.
-Finalization of establishment of organic plantation of figs
During the reporting period, the plantation was extended by two additional ha of land and we cleaned bushes and high plants. Moreover, we purchased the entire fence for nine ha of land, as well as irrigation system (see the project “Building water-intake structure and drip irrigation system “drop by drop” for plantation of organic figs in Trebinje”).

-Advocacy campaign for amendment of the Family Act of the RS
In the report period we conducted an advocacy campaign for amendment of the Family Act of the RS in the part to permanently ban a parental right for parents who had sexually abused their children (see the project “Campaign for amendment of the Family Act of the RS”).
-Monitoring of the practices of courts and police in the RS
In the report period we were partners to the foundation “Lara” from Bijeljina with which we conducted monitoring of the practices of police officers of the RS regarding domestic violence and keeping records of criminal offences of domestic violence (see the project “Strengthening institutional support to end gender-based violence”)
Achieved results:
- by 10% increased number of women in Constituency 9 who are interested to be involved in politics
-131 women, potential candidates for list of constituency 9 acquired basic knowledge and skills for public appearance and conduct of the personal campaign
-On General elections for 2018 one woman entered the National Assembly of the RS from constituency 9 when compared to 2014 when not a single woman managed to take any position on both levels the entity of the RS and on the state level of the B&H
- 20 police officers and 20 officers of the centers for social work from Eastern Herzegovina were trained to work with women victims of domestic violence, from the women’s point of view.
-Insight into practices of police and lobbying of the same to amend its practices in favour of victims of domestic violence in the RS.
- Empowerment of inter-sector approach in providing adequate, sensitive and specialized protection of women victims of domestic violence in Eastern Herzegovina.
-Question if parents who sexually abuse their children can regain their parental rights in the RS is set in the focus of professional and public opinion.

Project objective2 is to empower organization/foundation “Zenski centar” from Trebinje for strategic planning, as well as to build capacities (technical, human and self-financing) of the organization.
-Finalization of establishment of organic plantation of figs
During 2018 we conducted works regarding water-intake structure and drip irrigation system “drop by drop”, we purchased the fence, worked on maintenance of plantation and extended it by 2 ha of land.

At the end of the first project year, we engaged an external evaluation and auditing agency to write the report.