International Cooperation

Country Programme of Bosnia & Herzegovina

The overall goal of Caritas Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina is to use its broad experience in a comprehensive approach that includes improving living conditions to uphold human dignity, quality education for every child, vocational training for adults, and the creation of job opportunities.


Facts and Figures:

  • Engagement in the country since: 1993
  • Mean annual no. of beneficiaries: 8409 (2016)
  • Main partners: National Union of Berry Fruit, Producers, LEDA, Step by Step, Most, Centre for Energy and Ecology, Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, Partner Municipalities
  • Main donors: Swiss Agency for Development-Cooperation (SDC), Amt für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten (AAA) Liechtenstein, Medicor Foundation Liechtenstein, Leopold Bachmann Stiftung; donations and contributions by individuals as well as thematic sponsorships (Kinderpatenschaften)

Key achievements:

  • more than 2000 jobs created
  • improved access to and full inclusion in education for 1,600 Roma children

Why we are here

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) still faces major political, economic and social challenges. The country’s economy has shown a steady growth rate since the end of the armed conflict, followed by a stagnation period from 2008 to 2012 due to the global financial crisis. The modest recovery of 2013 came to an abrupt halt by the floods and landslides natural disasters of 2014, which had devastating effects on the country and its population and infrastructure, besides revealing serious insufficiencies in terms of preparedness plans and resources to tackle natural disasters effectively and efficiently. While the official unemployment rate is already very high at close to 30%, the youth unemployment of over 50% constitutes a particular challenge. Unemployment and poverty affect the rural population especially, resulting in widespread rural depopulation due to the lack of perspectives and income generating opportunities. Additionally, per capita energy spending in BiH remains high, and energy use is generally very inefficient.

Roma are considered one of the most vulnerable groups and are subject to wide spread discrimination in all spheres of life – be it employment, education or political representation. Almost 80% of Roma children live in poverty. Their level of school enrolment is significantly lower than the national average. Over 60% of adult Roma are unemployed and have a low level of professional expertise. Joining the international intergovernmental initiatives “Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015“ as well as the “Roma Integration 2020”, BiH has committed itself to systematically improving the situation of the Roma.

Caritas Switzerland implements projects nationwide. Our determination for commitment is based on evident need and the effective political will and determination of the authorities for cooperation and ownership.


Fields of Activity

Food Security & Markets

Our goal is to enable farmers and agricultural producers and their organisations to sustainably manage natural resources. We aim to encourage the production of environmentally friendly and fairly priced products, and support market access. This turn enhances income and job opportunities. Caritas Switzerland seeks to improve access to international markets for Bosnian farmers and their organisations. We promote the application of European Union regulations and standards in agriculture, such as Integrated Production (IP) and Global GAP, and facilitate regular exchanges between relevant stakeholders of the value chain. 
We endorse innovative agricultural methods for improving soil fertility and health. We have been promoting new fruit and vegetable varieties to diversify and improve marketability. We were instrumental in the establishment of the National Berry Union for Berry Fruit Producers in 2015, and are enhancing its capacities and organisational development. 
Furthermore, we facilitate projects in urban agriulture, with a special focus on socioeconomic empowerment of vulnerable groups. Additionally, we advocate for discriminated landless minorities (such as Roma) to have access to land plots.

Education and Income

As education and social inclusion is crucial for the reduction of poverty, Caritas Switzerland’s goal is that vulnerable children, youths, and adults receive basic education of an adequate quality. Also, we aim at improving the economic situation of vulnerable groups by promoting entrepreneurship and employment.
We enhance access to basic education for everyone, with a specific focus on children of vulnerable groups such as Roma. In order to include Roma children into basic education, we advocate for the employment of Roma mediators and social workers, which communicate with the Roma community directly and provide additional support when needed. As housing conditions are crucial for social inclusion, we have been improving the living conditions of Roma families by providing additional durable social housing in cooperation with the Ministry for Human Rights and the targeted Municipalities.


Roma Inclusion: Positive Stories


Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction

Caritas Switzerland aims at increasing capabilities to adapt to climate change and to avoid, reduce, and cope with the impacts of natural hazards. Our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way which improves income generation of rural and urban households in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We support awareness raising for economically vulnerable households concerning energy efficiency in order to reduce energy poverty. We advocate for innovative models of energy efficiency by promoting a business environment that attracts involvement of the private sector, and we realise such demonstration projects through the ESCO-model. We also implement innovative energy efficiency measures through public-private-partnerships (PPP).
We promote hazard-tolerant and resistant crops and crop zoning and provide advice on the protection of crops from calamity.



  • Bosnia and Herzegowina Country Programme (Flyer, en)
    File format: pdf / 279 KB
  • Bosnia and Herzegowina Country Programme: Fields of Activity (Flyer, en)
    File format: pdf / 252 KB

Selected project(s)


Contact persons