On 29 December CARE’s partner organization Youth Power organized a street action called “Let’s Stop Violence Against Women” where more than 60 young people, volunteers and students from the schools they cooperated with, marched through the streets of Mostar to raise awareness of citizens on preventing violence against women.
Youth Power regularly celebrates 16 days of activism each year by organizing online campaigns or posting promotional videos, and this year they decided to draw attention to this issue in a slightly different way. 60 young people marched through the streets of Mostar, carrying messages against violence and distributing information leaflets about the problem of violence against women. One of the goals of the action is to raise the awareness of citizens of Mostar that we are all responsible as a society when it comes to violence, and that we should all act together when we see violence and work to prevent it.
Nedim Mičijević, Program Manager of the non-governmental organization Youth Power, said that the action also represented a continuation of many years of collaboration with the eight secondary schools they were working with.
“Today’s action was implemented as part of the Young Men Initiative project and it represents the continuation of many years of cooperation with eight secondary schools in our Canton. The action was joined by students from all secondary schools and together we sent a message against violence against women. The action took place as part of 16 days of international activism to combat violence against women. The sad fact is that one in four women is a victim of violence, and it is suspected that this number is much higher because there are a large number of women who do not report violence. Therefore, with today’s action, we want to encourage the citizens of Mostar to respond to violence when they see it and to work to prevent it.” – said Mičijević.
Emina Jusufbegović, Expert Advisor for the secondary education in the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the HNC, mentioned that the ministry has been successfully cooperating with the Youth Power organization for 6 years and she also mentioned projects that they are jointly implementing.
“As educational institutions, we can work on raising the awareness of young people, starting at an early age, and implement various prevention programs in primary and secondary schools. For 6 years, we have been successfully working with the Youth Power organization, which put the biggest focus on secondary schools. There were also projects, in collaboration with them, that we also implemented in primary schools. Our mission is to raise awareness and create values that are long-lasting and that entail dignity and equality,” said Emina.
Expert Advisor Andreja Pehar from the Institute for Education emphasized the importance of continuous work with young people from an early age
“The Mostar Education Institute has been actively cooperating with the Youth Power organization for 5 years. Together we work on the professional development of pedagogues from eight high schools. Our goal is to empower pedagogues in knowledge and skills through these professional trainings so that they, empowered in this way, could return to their schools and implement the Young Men Initiative program. I would also like to emphasize the importance of continuous work with students in developing their skills, empathy, critical thinking and recognizing violent communication. It is very important so that later these students could timely identify and understand the reasons of those who commit violence and what to do with them.” Pehar said.
Alma Drljević, a school pedagogue at the Mechanical and Traffic Engineering High School in Mostar, spoke about the workshops they are conducting in collaboration with the Youth Power organization.
“We came today to support the action to combat violence against women and all other forms of violence. Our school has been implementing prevention programs for many years for the prevention of violence, which we carry out together with the Youth Power organization. Youth Power educates our peer educators who later pass on the acquired knowledge to all other students in our school in homeroom classes. We implement different programs, workshops and activities in order to say NO to violence,” said Alma.
Members of the Be a Man Club have said something more generally about the Be a Man Club and the activities they implement, as well as the actual implementation of today’s activity.
“I would like to highlight the work of our Be a Man Club in Mostar. I have been a member of this club for a long time, we meet once a week when we organize workshops and activities on the topic of promotion of gender issues and violence prevention. The Club is made up of a group of high school students who are trying to make some changes in the local community.” said Jusuf Mičijević
“Today’s action is organized on the occasion of 16 days of activism. We fight violence against women. We organized a march through the city we called “March of Peace”. Primary and secondary school students and guests from Stolac and Jablanica joined us. The route of the march is from the Spanish Square all the way to the Old Bridge. Since the Old Bridge is a symbol of the city, we have decided for it to be the end point because Mostar is unfortunately divided city and we precisely want to show the world and citizens that this is not the case and that we should fight these divisions and violence together,” said Lemeana Badžak.
The activity was implemented as part of the project Young Initiative II (YMI) “Promoting Healthier Lifestyles among Youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Challenging Gender Stereotypes II”, supported by the Government of Switzerland, OAK Foundation, Austrian Development Agency and CARE International Bosnia and Herzegovina.