“Even today” was the symbolic name of the online campaign, which was organized on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on the social networks by the Association XY’s Be a Man Club and the Real Girls Sarajevo, in the short period before the declaration of the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal of the online campaign was to draw public attention to the importance of preventing gender-based violence and any other form of violence. Members of other Be a Man Clubs throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina were involved in this campaign of the renowned Sarajevo youth club, who have contributed to the campaign with their photos and videos. The activities were implemented within the project Young Men 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 Balkans Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to Youth Coordinator of the Association XY, Amer Džekman, the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the peer educators of the Association XY’s Be a Man Club and Real Girls Sarajevo to get along very quickly and continue to support first of all each other, but also young people who have been involved in the work of the Be a Man Club for years or in some way follow the work of our group.
“After the extraordinary circumstances were declared, we reacted very quickly. We realized that the mental health of young people in the circumstances of uncertainty in maintaining the personal and health of loved ones and everyday isolation would be under great pressure. In this but also in the following period, the mental health of young people will be in focus. We started with the realization of activities through digital platforms. Our priority was to provide young people with enough quality information to help them stay healthy, but also to divert their attention from current happenings and bad news with tailored educations from home in order to enhance their knowledge and skills,” Džekman said.
All social networks followers of the Association XY’s Be a Man Club and Real Girls Sarajevo could read useful information on Facebook and Instagram daily, view photos or infographics aimed at youth who, in circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are not currently in the focus of social priorities.
“We had three daily columns: tips, tricks, and lessons. In the first column, tips, peer educators posted the content that instructed young people on educational, useful, and fun things to do from home. Tricks is the name for a column that involves hands-on and creative work, something like do it yourself. And the third column is BMC lessons. In this period, we focus on the content of this column, because it is the material we use when implementing workshops in schools. It is intended for young people who have not been able to fully attend the Program Y sessions in their schools, but also for all those who wish to improve their life skills. I would like to point out that all the activities in the past have been implemented through one of the best-rated youth programs in Europe, Program Y,” Džekman explained.
Young men and women, leaders of the Be a Man Club and Real Girls Sarajevo when creating online activities that continue in the future do not miss the fact that they are young people in a life period that brings with it new challenges and a great need for socialization and friendships.
“Instead of our once-a-week meetings, we have introduced online meetings that are held several times a week. This way young people can communicate and talk to each other, exchange opinions, share fears and concerns, but also learn something new. First of all, have fun. We put in the focus the campaign “Are you OK?”, aimed at preserving the mental health of young people. In addition to our in-house club meetings, we also hold online meetings with other Be a Man Clubs from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina because in this way young people are expanding their perspectives and making new friendships.”
All activities of the Association XY’s Be a Man Club and Real Girls Sarajevo have been implemented under the project Young Men 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 Balkans Bosnia and Herzegovina.