Together we can

Volunteers are very important in every society! This is particularly evident in crisis situations. In 2020, we have been in crisis mode almost continuously, and the work done by volunteers has proven invaluable in efforts to overcome many of the challenges we faced. Today we celebrate International Volunteers Day, and volunteers want us to know that together we can respond to all the challenges and support our communities and the society.

International Volunteer Day was mandated by the United Nations Assembly on December 5, 1985.     This day is an opportunity to promote volunteering and encourage competent institutions to support the work of volunteers and recognize their contribution to achieving sustainable development goals at all levels in the country.

The Institute for Youth Development KULT, in partnership with United Nations Volunteers and with the support of the European Union, celebrated International Volunteer Day by organizing a panel discussion to galvanize a dialogue on opportunities provided by laws on volunteering, the implementation of these laws in practice, and obstacles to fully implementing all legal mechanisms and supporting volunteers in BiH.

All the participants concluded that more effort needs to be put in implementing laws on volunteering and noted that cross-sectoral cooperation has to be improved. Competent entity ministries, and the relevant department in Brčko District of BiH have to be more open to working with CSOs, and organizations also need to show more interest in engaging in institutional dialogue. Participants of the panel discussion emphasized that abusing the Law and taking advantage of volunteers has to stop because volunteering is intended to inspire positivity and contribute to the development of communities and society.  Everyone agreed that volunteers are not all young people and that older volunteers are sometimes unfairly neglected, although their experience, knowledge and skills are a major contribution not only to the society but also to promoting volunteering.

ZOOM Together we can

Volunteerism is one of the most vital delivery mechanisms for social, environmental and economic transformation, ensuring a lasting impact with its ability to change people’s mindsets, attitudes and behaviors. Promoting personal and corporate volunteering will contribute to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers and integrating volunteerism into development programming”, said Mr. Gianluca Vannini, Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of the Delegation of the EU to BiH.

The Institute for Youth Development KULT worked on developing and advocating for the adoption of the Law on Volunteering of FBiH, which was adopted in 2012. The Institute has ever since been working on implementing and promoting the Law among government institutions, other organizations and young volunteers.  Over the past decade, the Institute has provided more than 3 million BAM for youth initiatives based on volunteer work.  Volunteers contributed to all of the Institute’s achievements over the past 18 years, and the Institute wants volunteers to know that their work is very important and that together we really can face all the challenges thrown in our way.  Another strong source of support in this context is the European Union, which is funding a project called “Improving Human Rights in the Business Sector” focusing on corporate volunteering.  We wish a happy International Volunteer Day to all volunteers and we hope that next year we will be celebrating this day with a large-scale voluntary activity.

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Last week, the project Improving Human Rights Corporate Accountability in the BiH Business Sector, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Youth Development KULT in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees held a work meeting to discuss the development of “Guidelines for Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”. The guidelines demonstrate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s commitment to protecting human rights in the business sector by promoting stronger involvement of institutions competent for human rights in business.

Deputy Minister of Human Rights, Ms. Saliha Đuderija, said that this is the first document of its kind in BiH, noting that human rights must be regulated and emphasizing that “The key part of the document are guidelines for protecting human rights, which will be included in the work plan of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH in 2021.”

This consultation meeting was attended by representatives of the Association of Employers of FBiH, Association of Employers of Brčko District and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of FBiH, represented by the Advisor on labor relations and workplace safety from the Ministry’s Labor Department.

The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Union of Employers' Associations of Republika Srpska expressed interest in taking part in the process of developing this document.

In order to improve the respect for human rights in the business sector, the Institute for Youth Development KULT, with the financial support of the European Union and in cooperation with the Employers' Association of FBiH, launched an initiative to improve corporate accountability for human rights in the BiH business sector.

The initiative's activities directly support and promote to the general public concrete programs for corporate volunteering. We support businesses and CSOs working on protecting human rights and promote an approach adapted to marginalized groups. We encourage and support businesses in the process of signing the Charter on Business and Human Rights.

The project “Improving Human Rights Corporate Accountability in the BiH Business Sector” funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Youth Development KULT in partnership with the FBiH Employers’ Association promotes and motivates companies and associations to sign the Charter on Business and Human Rights.

Project: Adam is a start-up whose innovative approach is gradually taking over the market. Project: Adam is built around a socially responsible idea of protecting the environment through the use of E-business cards.   Today they joined the ranks of many companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina that signed the Charter on Business and Human Rights.

In addition to upholding the values from the Charter, Project: Adam will be taking advantage of the opportunities provided on the volontiraj.ba platform for the systemic development of corporate volunteering in BiH.  They want to lead by example in showing the benefits of corporate volunteering when it comes to employee satisfaction. The Director of Project: Adam, Ismar Lačević, shared his motivation behind joining this initiative:

“This initiative builds trust in companies that invest their resources in doing good and acknowledge the importance of human rights and the rights of their employees. This is the first initiative of its kind in BiH, this is the first time I’ve seen the focus on employees and the communities that companies operate in. I believe this initiative is an opportunity for companies to uplift their employees and uphold their values.”

The Charter on Business and Human Rights and the web platform volontiraj.ba were created through the project “Improving Human Rights Corporate Accountability in the BiH Business Sector” implemented by the Institute for Youth Development KULT in cooperation with the FBiH Employers’ Association and with the financial support of the European Union.

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