Ngo's Role In Implementation And Realization Of Projects And Programs In Post-War Bosnia

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Following the establishment of the printing house in 1866, several news­papers and magazines were being published in Sarajevo which in turn caused the opening of kiraethanas or reading rooms. Reading rooms were located in places which were accessible to the public, usually in the center of the town or large neighborhoods....

Genesis of the Development of Civil Society

Following the establishment of the printing house in 1866, several news­papers and magazines were being published in Sarajevo which in turn caused the opening of kiraethanas or reading rooms. Reading rooms were located in places which were accessible to the public, usually in the center of the town or large neighborhoods. The newspapers of the time have suggested that all cof­fee shops in Bosnia and Herzegovina turn into kiraethanas - in other words that coffee shops expand and include space for reading. During the gover­nance or rule of Topal Sharif Osman-pasha and his successors (1861 - 1878), numerous kiraethanas were established and opened to public.

Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 brought many political changes to the region and launched large scale social, economic and cultural processes in the history of this country. The complete

cultural development of Bosnia and Herzegovina was subordinated to the long term interests of the monarchy in this part of the Balkan Peninsula.

As an answer to such politics, vast opposition movements formed seek­ing religious and educational autonomy, establishment of greater number of kiraethanas, forming more types of magazines and newspapers and printing

books and other literary works. As a result, towards the end of 19th century, kiraethanas and choruses (singing groups) became the new and established form of culture and cultural activities in many of Bosnian kasabas or regions. Kiraethanas attracted officers, soldiers, businessmen and others where a new type of social life was emerging. Their purpose included educational and

humanitarian goals. Activities were directed towards expanding the overall awareness of people and improving or increasing cultural levels as well as toward creating necessary business fields and professions in addition to improving and increasing local intelligence or domestic capabilities. This role is later taken over by the cultural and educational centers.

With the support of the state, pro-monarchy groups were organized - the

so called "krajcarska" societies (Serbian eagle, Croatian eagle and Muslim eagle). In addition to the two mentioned groups (national and pro-monarchy), towards the end of 19th century new group are emerging which are bonded by

various different interests, such as: anti-alcoholic society, trade society, bike and auto clubs and even the first women's club.

With the emergence of the Yugoslavian kingdom the above tasks were con­tinued mostly by religious and educational societies for each national group.

During World War II, most of such societies and groups faded and disap­peared except for a few who were based on humanitarian work (Muslim Youth, etc). With the emergency of the communist rule in 1945, all forms of independent social organizations were banished except for those in which state controlled and approved the activities. This practice was continued until the fall and split of Yugoslavia.

At the onset of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first humanitari­an and non-governmental organizations (NGO) emerged in this region. They came from different countries all over the world and established their offices in Bosnia for the ease of implementation of projects, which for the most part had humanitarian character of delivering food stuff and other necessities for the citizens of Bosnia. They were lead by the foreign personnel who employed some number of local people for various simpler tasks.

After the war, they remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina and turned their

mission from humanitarian aid to that of development and support of "democ­racy" (according to their understanding and practice), providing the means and supporting individuals in establishing and creating local organizations. Throughout Bosnia, there was a great increase in non-governmental organiza­tions which in turn formally creates a NGO sector which in essence is not gov­ernment controlled but in reality it is just not Bosnian government controlled. On one hand, we can consider this normal because "money talks", however, this relationship and practice created negative consequences and negative per­ception of the whole NGO sector in the eyes of Bosnian people (who are the base of every non-governmental organization) as well as potential local investors and donors or beneficiaries.

This is Where Most of the Problems Arose, and Here is Why!

First and foremost, the reason for the mistrust and negative perceptions is the fact that these organizations promoted and enforced projects and programs of their benefactors, ignoring the essential and realistic needs of the country and the people whom they were supposed to be helping. In addition, the arro­gant manners and behavior of the workers in these organizations (allured by the high salaries, company cars and other 'foreign' benefits in the time of over­all need and poverty) and insensitivity toward the pressing problems of every­day people in Bosnia and Herzegovina is another reason for such mistrust and bad reputation of NGOs.

In This Way, the Essence and Purpose of NGO Sector was Vastly

Neglected

During this period, very few people got involved in these types of activ­ities because of not understanding or not wanting to support the mission of the organizations working at that time or because of not wishing to be a part of the great divide between people and supporting the high-salaried workers at the

expense of the ordinary people...

Activities and financing of organizations in the NGO sector today is dependent on the support of the governing structures or the political agendas of foreign investors.

As a result, we have decided to form an organization by the name of Center for New Initiatives or CSI whose mission is to focus its energy and available resources to help and support those to whom help is most needed. Our mission is to provide the environment which would bring about personal and social satisfaction and contentment, all the while working in fulfilling the goals of:

  • awakening, promoting and advancing common spiritual, cultural and traditional values of a person
  • bringing together and enhancing communication between people of dif­ferent social and cultural backgrounds, while developing positive and identi­fying common connections between them
  • fighting poverty through strengthening the awareness about social responsibilities, promoting and developing "culture of giving", offering aid and assistance to those most vulnerable, developing socially conscious busi­nesses and economy by building social capital in the community and working on achieving personal and self-organized economic capabilities.

With this approach, in a short period of time, CSI has become a recog­nizable organization which sprang out numerous structured organization in fields of arts, culture, science and economy (Society of archeologists 1894, CSI BMI - Bosnian medical initiative, ForUm - word, speech, dialogue, Cinema Club, Business Club, and others) and joining together with Foundation Dar (gift) became a respectable platform for overall positive development.

CSI as an organization does not exist simply for itself, for its members or for other short term superficial projects, but for the deep rooted purpose of awakening and bringing out the good in people and promoting good deeds from people at any place and any time, which in our opinion is the essential formula for all of us.

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