Project “Safer Environment for Children”

(March 2010 – January 2011)


Situation Analysis
Child injuries are a global public health problem. According to WHO Global Burden of Disease data, in 2002, over 700 000 children under the age of 15 were killed by an injury . Injuries are the leading cause of death for children after their first birthday. There is also high morbidity associated with childhood injuries: for every injured child who dies, there are several thousand children who live on with varying degrees of disability. A large proportion of these injuries (for example, falls, burns, drowning) occur in either the home or in leisure environments.

Every day around the world, the lives of more than 2000 families are torn apart by the loss of a child to an unintentional injury or so-called “accident” that could have been prevented. The grief that these families suffer – mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and friends – is immeasurable and often impacts entire communities. Such tragedy can change lives irrevocably. Once children reach the age of five years, unintentional injuries are one of the biggest threat to their survival. Unintentional injuries are also a major cause of disabilities, which can have a long-lasting impact on all facets of children’s lives: relationships, learning and play. Among those children who live in poverty, the burden of injury is highest, as these children are less likely to benefit from the protective measures others may receive. Child injuries have been neglected for many years, and are largely absent from child survival initiatives presently on the global agenda.

Furthermore, the European Child Safety Alliance, a 24-country report, shows that, despite injury reductions and safety improvements achieved by many European Union Member States over the last 20 to 30 years, injury remains a leading cause of death for children and adolescents in every Member State in Europe. Each year, about 10,000 children die needlessly in the European Union due to unintentional injuries. This is equivalent to losing an entire school classroom of children, more than 25 students, every day of the year. The report shows that there is great variability between the best performing countries in the implementation of prevention strategies with injury death rates up to 4 times higher in those countries with poorer performance.

Injuries may be classified in a number of ways. A commonly used method for classifying injuries is a method based on causes of injuries, which include:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Poisoning
  • Falls
  • Fires/Burns
  • Drowning/near drowning
  • Firearms

Many communities in BiH are facing safety problems, in the time when the relevant government bodies cannot respond efficiently enough to the threats and challenges related to the safety of children. According to the SALW and Child Safety Survey conducted by UNICEF BiH in 2009, the major threats posed to child safety are road and traffic accidents and SALW misuse. Similar findings from previous project implementation in 2009 (Safer Community Planning) show that the problem of the road and traffic safety, is one of the most prevalent issues identified through the participatory action research with children. The enormity of this issue further indicates that more attention and effort should be devoted to finding solutions which would decrease the level of this threat. The implementation of systematic and ad hoc programmes geared towards children, parents, car-users and authorities has become a necessity in order to lessen the degree of impact on the children’s safety.

Unfortunately, the accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons is a global problem with broad humanitarian and socio-economic consequences for children, their families and communities in general. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with little reliable data on the number of small arms and light weapons circulating within the country. Public health and criminal justice sectors do not maintain a good surveillance system to monitor the negative impact of small arms. In 2004, UNDP BiH commissioned a Small Arms Survey (SAS) for BiH, which showed that an estimated 19% of the BiH population possesses SALW, while 16% possess these weapons illegally.

The UNICEF SALW and Child Safety Survey (2009) further outlined that SALW is ever-present in the context of posing a threat for child safety. The large number of SALW in civilian possession and easy access to SALW has a direct and indirect impact on children’s safety. In particular the surveyy results show that 26% of youths (17-19) and 14% of children in BiH (aged 14-16) are aware that their households do own SALW and have come into direct contact with SALW in their households. In addition, a large number of children (30%) stated that they are aware of cases of other schoolchildren brining SALW either in schools or in the community in general, while a large majority of overall survey respondents (41%) think that SALW is accessible and can be easily purchased on the black market.

Violence amongst children
Protection of children from violence is founded by the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993. This Convention, as well as legislative framework regarding children and their benefit, obliges Bosnia and Herzegovina and its authorities to ensure conditions for decent life and optimal development of each child. In order to support achievement of these goals, BiH Strategy for Fight against Violence 2007 - 2010 has been developed by the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and partners.

National centralized data on violence amongst children in schools do not exist and statistics from official sources do not necessarily represent the nature and magnitude of this “invisible” form of violence amongst children, the predominantly so called peer violence or “bullying”. Nevertheless, an increase of violence in schools has been observed by various studies . A survey conducted (as part of the project “Building capacity for implementation of country-wide strategy against juvenile delinquency”) by Save the Children UK shows that between 65% and 80% of children state that there are various manifestations of violence amongst children in everyday life. The same study recommends the implementation of educational and therapeutic activities in schools in order to tackle the increased level of aggressiveness, which is a threat for children.

The 2005 Report of the Ombudsman in Republika Srpska states that:

  • 65% of 910 children surveyed in 10 schools declared that physical violence is present in schools;
  • 96% have at least once suffered from verbal violence, while 86% confirmed conducting verbal violence;
  • 94% have at least once suffered from psychological violence, while 84,4% committed psychological violence;
  • 82% have at least once been a victim of physical peer violence, while two thirds 61% physically threatened their peers at least once.

In addition to peer violence, as the most present violence in children’s lives, there are many other indications that emphasize violence as a serious problem that should not be ignored:

  • Violence on children may result in permanent negative consequences on physical and/or mental health of all actors in violent events.
  • Children that show violent ways of behavior toward their peers are at higher risk to come into conflict with law.
  • Lots of cases of violence are not being reported.
  • Since violence is very much perpetuated by media, society in general becomes more and more tolerant towards violence and violent behavior.
  • Society and its institutions are not well prepared to cope with and to address violence amongst children in an adequate manner.
  • Recent war and complex history represent additional factors that influence deviant behavior.

In support to school based violence prevention projects, the UN Study on Violence against children has recognized schools as one of the five major settings for violence amongst and against children. This global study makes the following recommendations:

  • To put in place safe, well publicized, confidential and accessible mechanisms for children and their families to report violence against children.
  • To ensure the use of non-violent teaching and learning strategies; adopt disciplinary measures that are not based on fear, threats, humiliation or physical force.
  • To create programs to address the whole school environment, including non-violent conflict resolution and anti-bullying policies.

The risks of violence amongst children and youth are increasing lately in BiH, as well as seriousness of the violent and criminal acts by young people. Problems of youth are present in all segments of the society and it is necessary to continually look at them in a new light and in interaction with challenges of growing up and socio economical situation in BiH including increasing poverty and general insecurity.

The goal of this project is to target different groups of beneficiaries - children, teachers, parents, local community representatives and enable them to initiate, develop and support the school and community based responses to violence and risks posed to child safety.

The project outcome results are:

  1. Established safer school environments with decreased level of risks of psychical and mental violence amongst children in targeted locations.
  2. Community and school based models developed for the promotion of youth participation in local community child safety programs.
  3. Communities endorse Safer Community Action Plans and are committed to their implementation.

The project will be implemented in the 10 new location/municipalities:

Republika Srpska:

  • Banja Luka
  • Istočno Sarajevo
  • Modriča
  • Doboj
  • Derventa

Federation of BiH:

  • Sarajevo
  • Zenica
  • Ključ
  • Doboj (istok –jug)
  • Petrovac

The Participatory Action Research on Small Arms and Child Injuries prevention project component will be implemented in the above listed locations, while the violence prevention amongst school children project component will be implemented in 20 primary schools, located in the same selected municipalities. Selection of schools will be conducted in coordination with the respective Ministries of Education.

The Project will include monitoring and support to implementation of action plans for child safety in the 10 SPIS Project municipalities in which the capacity building and planning activities to improve community and school-based child safety were developed in 2009. These municipalities include: Kotor Varoš, Novi Grad RS, Višegrad, Bileća, Laktaši, Stolac, Livno, Novi Travnik, Sanski Most and Novi Grad Sarajevo.

The project duration is 11 months, starting from early March 2010 and finishing by end of January 2011. The project timeframe is linked to the school year and cannot be changed if objectives are to be met.

The main selected and designed project approaches are as follows:

  1. Problem assessment and baseline definition - data collection on the risks posed by violence, SALW and child injuries.
  2. Capacity development – training of school teachers and children, PAR training for local PAR researchers, strengthening cooperation at the local level and cooperation with media
  3. Action planning - short-term problem resolution activities will be identified in order to address the problems during the project duration, while long term identified activities will focus on lobbying and sustainable participation of children in decision making.
  4. Building of support and partnership - mobilisation of important adults and decision-makers in the communities in order to support implementation of Action Plans that will be achieved by communication of children with potential supporters (municipal authorities, institutions, companies)
  5. Establishment of the school Safety Network and the school Code of Conduct - based on the full participation of all school levels – children, teachers, school management, parents and the community representatives. This approach will lead to the so called “response of the whole school”, as an essential precondition for a successful prevention of violence amongst children, and will therefore be much more likely to foster safe environments for school children
  6. Advocacy - research and prioritization process will enable children to have an evidence and argument-based communication with the decision makers and potential supporters. As for this segment of the project, the advocacy will be realised mostly at the local community level.
  7. Implementation/modelling of SCAPs - implementation of action plans will take place within the selected communities and is facilitated and supported by all key stakeholders.

The herein proposed project consists of three main components and related activities:

1. Safer community planning in 10 targeted local communities

  • Conduct PAR Methodology Training for local PAR facilitators
  • Local community assessment on child injuries
  • Participatory Action Research and formation of PAR support groups of adults
  • Development and implementation of the Safer Community Action Plans (SCAP) on Child Injury prevention

2. Violence prevention programs in schools, in 10 targeted local communities

  • Assessment in selected school
  • Establishment of School Coordination Board on violence prevention
  • Training of teachers on methodology to conduct workshops on violence prevention and peaceful conflict resolution with children (including SALW risk education)
  • Training of children on peer support methodology for violence prevention and peaceful conflict resolution (including SALW risk education)
  • Coordination and cooperation with parents and local community
  • Establishment of the School Safety Network

3. Follow-up activities in the 10 Safer Community planning project locations (implemented in 2009 as part of the larger SPIS project)

  • Monitoring and support to implementation of SCAP activities set out within the previous project „Small Arms Risk Prevention and Safer Community Planning” in the year 2009
  • Encourage and support the development of new recommendations and actions based on PAR approach, directed towards increased level of safety within local communities
  • Assessment of the effect of the activities on the child safety at community and school level.

The selection of project locations was based on the findings of the existing assessments related to the SALW misuses and violence, including the findings of the recent UNICEF SALW and Child Safety Survey (2009), while the selection of schools will be conducted in coordination with the respective Ministries of Education upon approval of this project cooperation agreement. Coordination with future and ongoing similar initiatives were taken into consideration in order to avoid overlaps.

The main criteria for selection of the implementing organisation were the level of expertise and experience in applying the up to date UNICEF developed best practices in the field of Small Arms risk prevention, violence prevention amongst children and community based child safety approaches. This is given by the fact that, as described within the project document, the project consists out of two main components – Participatory Action Research on SALW and child safety and violence prevention amongst school children.

The main project activity - Participatory Action Research on SALW prevention, was successfully piloted in cooperation with NGO Genesis in 2007 and in 2009 through the Small Arms Prevention and Safer Community planning project. The replication and reinforcement of this approach with other planned activities within this project would be most successfully ensured by this NGO.

In addition, the local NGO Genesis is one of the rare non-governmental organizations in BiH focused SALW risk education and prevention amongst children and is recognized by the ministries of education as one of the most successful school based organisation, working on these and similar issues. Overall, NGO Genesis has made a considerable contribution to promotion of SALW and landmine risk education in BiH.

In relation to the second project component focused on prevention of violence in primary schools, the local NGO Genesis has implemented several associated project, including a large educational project “Colourful World” on violence prevention and peaceful conflict resolution amongst children and schoolteachers in 120 primary schools (2007-2008, 2 year project). The project was funded by the European Commission covering 90% of the total project cost, while the remaining 10% was provided by UNICEF, ensuring that each project activity was supplemented with a small arms risk prevention education component. Therefore, the NGO Genesis has the unique programmatic experience in combining the two areas of violence prevention and small arms risk education.

In addition, the NGO Genesis developed and broadcasted a set of TV and radio shows focused on violence prevention and peaceful communication (project financed by EC in 2008). Moreover, the experiences from the ongoing “Safe environment for children in divided and segregated schools in Middle Bosnia canton” project, supported by UNICEF BiH, composed of peaceful communication and violence prevention topics, further enhanced project modelling and design.

Taking into consideration the above planned activities in relation to the specific and extensive expertise and experience of the NGO Genesis, the NGO’s capacity to deliver previous similar programmes in a timely manner, its capacity to fulfill the demanding technical and logistical requirements (given by the dispersion of 20 targeted locations across the BiH), the NGO Genesis has the required capacity to implement this project successfully and has been selected as the implementing partner in the related filed of action.

It should be emphasized that a coordinated implementation of the three project components by one implementing agency, in similar or same locations will ensure high cost effectiveness by reducing the number of visits to project sites.

As a UNICEF’s long term partner, to date NGO Genesis has always been very professional in the fieldwork, project management and financial reporting. In addition, NGO Genesis has successfully completed all project agreements with UNICEF. Financial reporting of all previous contracts has been excellent. Genesis was able to justify utilization of funds on a timely basis, provided narrative reports and proofs of their achievements within the project timeframe.

Genesis Project has been cooperating with UNICEF BiH as implementing partner since 1999.
The NGO Genesis has successfully passed the HACT micro assessment.
The NGO Genesis has successfully implemented extensive project agreements with different international organizations as European Commission, UNHCR, IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities), CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), World Vision and others.

It is foreseen that UNICEF BiH and NGO Genesis will continue collaboration in the identified areas of child safety and violence prevention amongst children, within the UNICEF BiH CPAP 2010 – 2014.



Genesis Project Quarterly Progres Report - June 2010


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