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Bosnia & Herzegovina

Country Programme of Bosnia & Herzegovina

The Caritas Country Program 2012-2016 tackles the domains of food security, human rights / social justice and climate protection/disaster risk reduction. Caritas Switzerland has a broad experience in these domains and belongs to the three leading organizations in B&H in the sectors agriculture, minorities and energy efficiency. Caritas has been active in these sectors for years, since considerable needs exist in B&H. 


In the agricultural sector the program fosters the income generation in the berry and fruit production in structurally weak rural regions. Target groups are households with at least 0, 2 hectare of land reserves. The households do not need to have any previous knowledge for the cultivation of a specific culture, since the advisory service offers a detailed introduction and further trainings. The program covers the entire value chain (production, advisory service, access to the market, organization of the producers). It provides in kind credits for the production (amongst others seedlings, fertilizer, irrigation), offers advice for the particular crops, ensures the required connections to the market (up to 90% for export) and supports the producers to organize themselves in associations. By 2015 an umbrella association at state level shall represent the interests of small-scale producers towards the market and the state.

In the sector minorities the program focuses on the Roma as the largest (50.000 – 70.000 persons) and the most marginalized minority in B&H. The program is embedded in the B&H Roma Action Plans for Education and Housing. The goal of the Caritas education project is to achieve the increased enrollment of Roma in primary and secondary education. The project provides additional lessons, catch-up classes and support in doing homework in the related schools. The project provides teachers, social workers and Roma mediators for these activities. Outside of the school the project works intensely with Roma communities and families (home visits and individual counseling, parents’ meetings and trainings). Particularly vulnerable families (around 20%) receive food and hygienic packages. In this way the children are liberated from the obligation to contribute to the family income. Special trainings are offered to staff of schools and social institutions enabling them to deal context oriented with Roma. Roma housing projects are implemented in partnership with the State Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and the municipalities.

Peace-building/community building activities are conducted in mixed communities where displaced person or refugees returned after the war (from 1995 onwards) as minorities. The project fosters the cooperation between the different ethnic groups. Mixed action teams are trained in team work, non violent communication and project cycle management. The action teams later on define joint interests in the communities in a participatory process and develop/implement afterwards mini-projects, which respond to the joint interests.

In the recent years Caritas implemented significant projects in the area of energy efficiency in the building sector. Currently Caritas focuses on energy efficient renovation of public buildings like, for instance, schools. The energy efficient renovation of a building combined with the biomass heating leads to the reduction of heating costs of up to 60%. The authority running the school signs a contract obliging itself to transfer the savings to a revolving fund, until the investment costs are repaid. Caritas finances likewise projects from the revolving fund.

From the geographic point of view the activities of the Country Program 2012-2016 are targeting the regions of Eastern Bosnia, Sarajevo and Central Bosnia. Roma housing projects are implemented country wide.

The Country Program is realized in partnership with local NGOs and associations. This partnership establishes a strong participation of the stakeholders on all levels. Due to the country context transversal themes like human rights, conflict sensitivity and gender are of high relevance.

Short history of Caritas Switzerland presence in country
Caritas Switzerland started its engagement in B&H in 1992 by supporting emergency programs, which were implemented by Caritas Network partners. Caritas Switzerland is present with the own office since 1995. Up to now more than 50 Mio EUR was invested in projects in B&H. About 75% of the funds were allocated to reconstruction and return projects (5.800 housing units).

Today Caritas Switzerland contributes to the sustainable development, which we achieve by:

  • Promotion of the local sustainable initiatives that improve the living conditions of socially vulnerable
  • Support for conflict resolution, reconciliation and peace building
  • Advocacy for the protection of natural resources and Cooperation with local partners and strengthening their own commitment.

The operations are steered from the main office Sarajevo and the field office in Gorazde. The delegation in B&H employs currently 12 national staff members and one expatriate. The annual budget amounts to ~ 1, 5 Mio EUR.


Fields of Activity

Food Security and Income Generation
Human Rights, Social Justice and Peace
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
Humanitarian Aid

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