Bosnia and Herzegovina: A brighter future for children... and their nannies

A woman is training other women in childcare methods
A nanny training module with some potential new clients.

With an unemployment rate of nearly 45 percent, finding a job for many in Bosnia and Herzegovina can seem like a mission impossible.

This has particularly been the case for women, many of whom have spent years trying to secure a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Highlights

  • The unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is over 40 percent.
  • 125 women underwent 5 training modules prepared and taught by 9 experts between September 2013 and March 2014
  • This is the first analysis for a legal framework in the field of nanny employment made in the country.
  • The Project cooperates with 71 civil society organizations in 15 municipalities and cities.
  • The European Union is the principal donor of the project with local authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina providing co-funding.

Today, however, there is a project that is working to provide some of these women with an opportunity for a better life. In the city of Banja Luka, there are an estimated 4,000 women over the age of 40 looking for work. There are also more than 2,000 children waiting for a place in kindergartens. Organizing professional training for nannies emerged as an ideal solution to both problems.

"Women are the Strength"

“There is no systematic training of nannies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or legislation guiding their employment,” says Tatjana Kuruzovic, Executive Director of the ‘Civic Association Center for Creative Work and Work with Children – Dobri medo’, that started the project.

“The project, ‘Nanny Training – a safe way to work’, aims to find solutions to these problems and help women attain new skills and find a job while helping parents who need childcare services.”

The ‘Dobri medo’ association is just one of the more than 70 civil society organizations currently supported by UNDP through its Local Democracy Reinforcement project (LOD), with funding from the European Union. The focus of the project is to ensure social integration and assistance to vulnerable members of society in 15 municipalities and cities across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This project has enrolled 125 unemployed women have in classes taught by a team of expert psychologists, teachers, and pediatricians. A training manual for nannies was also developed, as was a website to assist with the hiring and promotion of the trained nannies.

This online database - the first of its kind in the country - will help parents to find a nanny safely and easily, while also offering a forum for parents to exchange experiences and get better acquainted with potential employees.

“Women are the strength of every society and these kinds of projects are extremely important,” said UNDP Local Democracy Reinforcement Project Manager Samir Omerefendic.

“A systematic solution to unemployment and, in particular, economic empowerment of women is one of the prerequisites for reduction of poverty and building a democratic society.”

The economic crisis and high unemployment rate, especially among women, are among the biggest issues facing Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aiming to ensure empowerment and economic independence of women, UNDP is working with both national and local administrations and civil society organizations by supporting initiatives such as this one in Banja Luka.

“The importance of this initiative has been recognized and co-financed by the Banja Luka City administration,” said Ms. Kuruzovic. “We hope that responsible ministries will develop the legislative framework related to this field, since there are many unemployed women in Banja Luka who are in extreme need of this kind of assistance.”


Borka Karalic was hired before the training even ended.

For one participant, the training paid off before it was over. Borka Karalic lost her job nine years ago after two decades of working in administration. During years of fruitlessly searching for jobs, she babysat for friends and acquaintances, but never thought it could become her profession.

Karalic decided to take the training and halfway through was hired by a family.

“This training would be very useful for others, too,” she said. “Because we are a jobless generation still capable of working. I am very happy that I was able to get a nanny job so soon.”

 

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