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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Support to CSO social service providers in Bosnia and Herzegovina -BIH964

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been undergoing post-war recovery and transitional processes ever since the war in the nineties. The devastating effects the war had on the economy, infrastructure and social setup of the country are still visible. The country’s population is composed of three major ethnic groups (Bosnian, Serbian and Croat) and its territory is divided into two entities: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the Republic of Srpska (RS). FBiH is also divided into 10 Cantons, each with complex organisational structures and large administration apparatus. This fragmentation is being replicated in all segments of public life, such as the judicial system, social services, political and economic spheres of influence and others. The complicated and complex setup of the country gravely influences its efficiency and functioning. Thus, BiH has an inefficient and fragmented administration, and an insufficiently functional market economy that hinders quicker development of the private sector. Public debt is high and growing (38% of GDP in 2017). Unemployment is high, at around 25.5% (EC Country Report 2018), especially among youth (54.3%) and women (30.2%, as opposed to 22.6% for men).

Social welfare institutions in BiH are under-capacitated and underfunded; access to social protection and services they provide vary in different parts of the country due to the fragmented administrative structure of the country. The State government has no mandate in the realm of social welfare and social protection. The competencies lie with the entity governments and institutions and are also divided between entity and cantonal level governments in FBiH. The differences in the economic activity and ability to generate public revenues among entities and cantons have a marked effect on their ability to provide social protection services.

Overall Objective

Develop effective, sustainable, accountable and transparent civil society institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) working towards the empowerment and socio-economic inclusion of poor and marginalized groups.

Project objective

Strengthen the role of civil society actors in BiH in providing social services for marginalized populations and participate in the design and implementation of relevant policies.

Expected Results

ER1 – Organisational capacity, income generation capability and management of 6 target civil society organisations (CSOs) in BiH is strengthened, contributing to the achievement of SDG 1.3 and EU GAP II’s Thematic Objective 18.

ER2 – Service provision of 6 target CSOs is improved to meet the needs of their target groups (people with disabilities, marginalized women, Roma people), contributing to the achievement of SDG 10.2.

ER3 – 6 target CSOs have strengthened their advocacy position and improved policies in specific areas of their mandate, contributing to the achievement of SDGs 1.B, 5.C and 10.4.

Main Activities
  • Assessment of the current organisational, managerial and technical capacities and practice of the 6 CSOs
  • Training and mentoring activities aimed at increasing institutional capacity and management capabilities to 6 targeted CSOs
  • Develop (2) and update/review (4) business plans for the sustainable development of partners’ social enterprises/ cooperatives
  • Grant/investment scheme for the targeted SCOs to implement activities from the business plans and address gaps from the needs assessment
  • Mentoring/coaching of partner CSOs on the implementation of their social enterprises/cooperatives business plans (including marketing support).
  • Complete the service and needs mapping exercise for two CSOs and review the existing service mapping document (4 CSOs), using participative data collection methodologies (e.g. consultations with target populations, Focus Group Discussions).
  • Desk review on innovative approaches in service provision and sustainable service financing within EU.
  • Study visit to EU (i.e. Austria) to learn about best practices in provision of social services by CSOs
  • Design and implement the tailored made capacity-building program for targeted CSOs based on the service mapping exercise and Study Visit learnings to address gaps and encourage innovation.
  • Develop (2) and update/review (4) communication and advocacy strategies for the target CSOs.
  • Formulate specific advocacy messages related to the mandate of each targeted CSO and produce policy papers to lobby for positioning of CSOs as legitimate service providers.
  • Contribute to public debates related to the mandates of each CSO



Federation of BiH – Herzegovina- Neretva Canton and Bosnian-Podrinje Canton, Republic of Srpska, Municipalities of Bijeljina, Modrica, East Sarajevo, Rudo and Bratunac


Through ER1 activities, it is expected that approximately 20 partner CSOs staff members (average of 3 per CSO) will directly benefit from training and coaching.

Under ER2, taking into consideration the partner CSOs’ current portfolio and the project’s planned interventions, it is estimated that the partner CSOs will reach a target of:

  • 200 direct beneficiaries through their income generation activities (social enterprises, cooperatives), of which 20% Roma people, 10% people with disabilities, 55 % vulnerable women, 15 % unemployed youth;
  • 400 direct beneficiaries as users of the expanded and improved social services.
    In addition, the project is expected to reach circa 1.300 indirect beneficiaries – e.g. direct social services beneficiaries’ family members.

Lastly, under advocacy oriented ER3, it is estimated that 160 people from different stakeholders will directly be engaged in at least 2 policy influencing campaigns. Thematic lobbying streams shall be further defined during the project’s early implementation stages. However, the potential impact reach of advocacy on, for instance, the regulatory framework of social entrepreneurship would be of circa 10.000 people benefitting from these changes.


01.07.2019 – 30.09.2021

Total Budget

€ 384.615,00


This project is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) (with funds of Austrian Development Cooperation) and the Czech Development Agency (co-financing).


This project contributes to the following sustainable development goal (SDG):