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Pollution in the capital of BiH, and other cities has been hazardous for days now, and BiH cities are among the most polluted in the world. For 6 ut of the last 7 days the air in Sarajevo was hazardous, and for the 1 remaining day it was rated as very unhealthy. This is the data from air pollution monitors available on the online platform of EkoAkcija.

Air quality index has to be between 0 and 50 to not be harmful for the health of the population. On January 11, the air quality index was 486 and in the last month the index was rated good only once.

This disconcerting data and the obvious pollution led youth to take action and speak up about pollution in Sarajevo. During the module Civil activism and volunteering within the training for youth leaders “Learn, Think and Act!” conducted by the Institute for Youth Development KULT with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in BiH, youth from various parts of BiH took to the streets to hand out masks to passers-by. It’s interesting to note that pharmacies did not have enough masks in stock.

“As soon as I arrived in Sarajevo, I immediately saw for myself what the entire country has been talking about. I encourage the government in Sarajevo to do their utmost to solve this problem, both for the sake of their citizens’ health, and the city’s reputation. Some of the solutions I’d suggest would be promoting the use of electric cars, creating more green spaces, planting trees and having more stringent rules when it comes to technical inspections of vehicles”, said Nermin Topovičić from Banja Luka. Robert Ružnić from Bihać added that it only took a short walk for him to notice how polluted Sarajevo air was compared to Bihać, and that it made it hard to breathe.

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Young people in the Federation of BiH may soon have a new body that will advocate for better programs and youth policies, and by doing so contribute to improving the lives of young people in BiH. This initiative will be spearheaded by the Youth Council of BiH, and the Institute for Youth Development KULT will provide financial and advisory support in this process.

Today, the Youth Council of FBiH and the Institute signed an agreement to implement the project Council for Youth - Strengthening mechanisms for youth participation in decision-making processes in FBiH. The project will advocate for the founding of a Council for Youth, as stipulated in the Youth Law of FBiH.

“This mechanism, although stipulated as mandatory under the Youth Law, has yet to be implemented, and the Youth Council of FBiH seed this as an opportunity to strengthen the involvement of youth in decision-making processes”, said Jasmina Banjalučkić, General Secretary of the Youth Council of FBiH.

The Council for Youth is a body that should include representatives of all ministries in the FBiH Government whose purview includes youth, and representatives of youth named by the Youth Council of FBiH, in equal numbers.

“It’s important to have an equal ratio of youth and government representatives so that young people can have an opportunity to share a space with decision-makers and directly advocate for youth policies and programs, without being outvoted to start with”, says Jasmina.

Republika Srpska already has a Council for Youth, as do other countries in the region. However, for the Council to bring about change youth can see it needs to be functional and youth need to proactively advocate for the programs they need. In addition to this advocacy platform, the Council will also be in charge of overseeing the implementation of the Youth Law in FBiH, and evaluating current youth policies and programs.

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As a senior of a medical high school in Tuzla, Kenan Suljić is acutely aware of the importance of mental health of the people of BiH. Kenan and his team are developing an app designed to fight depression. It is called D-app, and its authors say it’s the first such app in the world that’s connected with the healthcare system.

“Users of the app will directly communicate with experts, and can receive the kind of service they would get in a doctor’s office”, says Kenan. Then, Kenan says, the experts will review the information they received through the app and decide on the next step and treatment for the user.

This young team is currently cooperating with the Medical Center “Mustafa Šehović” in Tuzla, and the Medical Center in Srebrenik. and would eventually like to have the app available all across BiH.

The prototype is already live and has over 1000 downloads. Kenan says that the most important thig for him was that the users trust the app and feel secure using it.

“People are contacting us to say congrats and ask about the app. The most important thing is that we gained people’s trust very quickly, because it takes courage to open up and talk about how you feel”, says this young man from Srebrenik.

The app will be available for iOS and Android devices, in the beginning of March of this year. Kenan wants all young people to know that they should never give up on their dreams and goals, because he is living proof that persistence and hard work pay off. The idea for this application was born a year ago, and by signing the contract today Kenan got the support he needed for the final stretch in the development and launching process.

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Haris Salkić is a young entrepreneur launching his own company called HAS Robotics, where he will develop and produce robotic arms for educational purposes. He already developed a prototype and called it HAS One. Haris says that he will eventually start making industrial robots, and his ultimate goal is to produce robotic arms that will be used in medicine.

“The support we got from the Institute and the Embassy of Sweden is very important, and we plan on using those funds to further develop our business”, says this young entrepreneur, adding that his first launch is planned for the beginning of April. Haris says that the company is receiving pre-orders and has already sold several robotic arms.

Although robotics is not too popular in BiH, Haris says that the public is very interested in his idea. The support he got from the public encouraged him to continue and showed that he is on the right track with his business idea.

“HAS Robotics will be the first company of its kind in southeastern Europe. There are two companies like ours in France and one in Great Britain”, said Haris.

Haris has this to say to young people - Never give up on your dreams. Work hard and give it your all, and success is sure to come.

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The Ministry of Labor, Social Policy, Displaced Persons and Refugees of Sarajevo Canton signed a contract with the Institute for Youth Development KULT, enabling all public institutions and ministries in the Canton to become accredited providers of long-term volunteering.   

According to the Law on Volunteering of FBiH, long-term volunteering in your profession is considered work experience. Volunteering is considered long-term if you volunteer at least 240 hours over a course of 3 months continuously. Since there are 6000 young people in Sarajevo Canton with no work experience, the Government of Sarajevo Canton adopted a decision mandating that all public institutions and ministries in Sarajevo Canton complete the process of accreditation for long-term volunteering, in order to provide these young people with opportunities for gaining work experience. The Institute for youth development KULT will provide advisory support to the Government of Sarajevo Canton and help institutions through the accreditation process.

“This is the first time the entire Canton entered an accreditation process at this level, it’s a unique situation in FBiH”, said Minister Malik Garibija, adding that the accreditation process will allow young people to gain work experience, which will then help them find their first job.

Executive Director of the Institute for Youth Development KULT, Mr. Jasmin Bešić, stated that volunteer work is an entirely voluntary activity and cannot be mandated in any way. He also noted that it’s important to be aware of the distinction between work experience and pensionable service, and that long-term volunteering does not qualify as pensionable service.

The Institute for Youth Development KULT is inviting all young people from Sarajevo Canton to take advantage of what the law is offering, and gain their first work experience in 2020.

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During their first module, the new generation of youth leaders taking part in Learn, Think and Act! learned about teamwork and leadership.

Interactive work, non-formal education methods and experiential learning helped the participants learn the basics of leadership, think of themselves as youth leaders and consider their roles in the team and the way the team communicates.

“As far as the first module is concerned, I think this is the motivation I very much need, and I’m learning about the things I’ll need going forward. Training 14 generations of youth leaders is no small feat, and that’s the main thing that intrigued me and led me to apply.” - said Arslan Arnautović from Cazin.

When asked about his expectations from UMiD, Arslan said that he expects the training to transform him and teach him some new ways of reaching his goals when it comes to the position of youth in the Una-Sana Canton.

The first module was held from December 5th to 7th, 2019, at the Educational-Leisure Center for Youth SPAJALICA in Ilidža.

More than 300 young people completed the UMiD training, and this generation is the 15th. The participants are 25 young people from 21 local communities from across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The training Learn, Think and Act! is an officially recognized form of non-formal education that provides youth with various competencies that will make them competitive on the labor market. It consists of seminars, practical exercises and volunteering.

All participants grow into active citizens who take the necessary steps to change the society they live in, assert their opinions and actively participate in decision-making in their communities.

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