Project “Social Entrepreneurship for Better Dialogue and Stronger Economy” is a project implemented by NGO Bosnian Handicrafts/BHcrafts whose activities are realized within the project “Dialogue for the Future” implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO in partnership with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The “Dialogue for Future” project is funded by United Nations Peace Building Fund (PBF).

Project Description:
The local community has been struggling with a high unemployment rate, as well as the inclusion of marginalized groups into labor market, especially women.
Tuzla city is the center of the most populated Canton in FBiH and the economy of the city and the canton is characterized by industrial production, therefore the employment opportunities of women are rare, if any. At the same time, these women possess the skills of traditional handicraft, which they have nowhere to use, present or sell, except for home purposes, and it is part of their unpaid work. After the war, Vlasenica municipality is one of the most underdeveloped municipalities of Republika Srpska, and demographic trends show permanent population migration towards more developed cities and municipalities, with the aim of finding a job and generating higher income. According to the strategic document of the Vlasenica municipality, for the period 2014-2023 year, is focused on the development of entrepreneurship, as well as the development of partnerships.
Therefore, the co-operation of these two local communities is more than necessary, given the proximity, and the fact that women are facing the same challenges – unemployment, labor market discrimination and social exclusion. At the same time, all these women possess traditional handicraft skills, which can be the basis for generating basic or additional income, and economic empowerment of women.
NGO Bosnian Handicrafts/BHcrafts intends to engage women, the unemployed and ones with poorer socio-economic background coming from Tuzla and Vlasenica in advanced training of knitting and crocheting traditional skills. In addition to advanced training in traditional handicraft skills, participating women will also be provided with basic training on social entrepreneurship and small business development, tailored to the target group, presented in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
The duration of advanced training in knitting and crocheting skills is 5 days, 4 hours per day, and takes place in Tuzla city. Training on social entrepreneurship and small business development lasts two days, four hours a day, and will be held in Vlasenica municipality. After the advanced training in handicrafts skills, the group of women will be enabled to gain additional or basic income through work engagement within BHcrafts ltd or independently, through self-employment.
As a final activity, two handicraft’s fairs (one in Tuzla, and one in Vlasenica) will be held, which will present some items produced during the trainings or work engagement, or products/items that are home-made after the business training. During the fair, women who were part of the project will receive certificates on successfully completed trainings, and local authorities and media will be invited, as well.
The aim of both fairs is to raise awareness of women’s entrepreneurship and the opportunities for self-employment of marginalized women using the cultural intangible heritage of peoples and ethnicities in BiH. This project also networks women, regardless of their ethnic-national differences, because what connects them is mutual concerns – social marginalization, unpaid home work as well as love for traditional handicrafts and passion and devotion to it.

Project goals:
The goal of the project is to provide income for women, through well designed trainings and possible work engagement with the only Fair-Trade producer in the region – BHcrafts ltd. Also, through these activities, we aim to connect women from Tuzla and Vlasenica, having in mind that, despite ethno-national differences these women face the same or similar challenges of unemployment regardless of the size of the local community they come from (urban/rural area). Apart from the direct economic empowerment of women, by linking these two local communities, the town of Tuzla and the Vlasenica municipality, we will establish the cooperation of women’s groups from the mentioned communities.
Also, as a final event of the project, in cooperation with the town of Tuzla and Municipality of Vlasenica, two fairs will be organized in two local communities, with the aim of promoting BiH handicrafts as well as women’s entrepreneurship. In this very attractive way, we raise awareness of the affirmation of tradition and cultural heritage of peoples and nationalities in BiH and put the focus on women’s work.
Target group of the project are women currently living on the margins of BiH society; unemployed or hard-to-employ women, displaced persons, single mothers and generally women who, using their skills, want to provide any basic or additional means of living.

Target group of the project are:

  1. at least 20 up to at most 30 women from the town of Tuzla and the Vlasenica municipality, aged between (25-55) currently living on the margins of BiH society
  2. A wider local community, that will, through the media campaign, be introduced with the cooperation of two local communities; and by combining Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tradition of peoples of BiH, show how through business ideas, marginalized and socially excluded women that are skillsful, can contribute to social cohesion, regardless of ethnic-national differences and a good example of inter-entity dialogue.

The local community also benefits from this project because after the mobilization of a group of women from both communities – women are connecting, empowering, learning from one another and providing an example of how overcoming an unfavorable economic situation does not have to depend on local authorities, while at the same time reducing economic migration of population, thus providing women with the opportunity to engage in work.

Expected results:

  1. Organized advanced training in traditional knitting and crocheting skills, for at least 20 and up to 30 women from the town of Tuzla and Vlasenica municipality. Training is held in Tuzla.
  2. Organized basic training (for the same group of women) on social entrepreneurship and small business development, offering a completely new approach to the idea of self-employment using the traditional handicraft techniques that these marginalized women possess or using some other type of producing home-made items. Training is held in Vlasenica.
  3. At least 7 women from the training will be engaged in BHcrafts production, from the area of Tuzla and Vlasenica municipality. Past experience shows that 30% of trainees are willing to use the new knowledge for their work engagement in BHcrafts, and thus begin to acquire basic or additional resources for life.
  4. Two fair of handicrafts and homemade products will be organized in Tuzla and Vlasenica with the support of the town of Tuzla and the municipality of Vlasenica.
  5. Strengthening women’s solidarity and linking women at the inter-entity level, with the same unfavorable economic and social background from the two local communities, the town of Tuzla and Vlasenica municipality, in order to jointly acquire knowledge for the purpose of future co-operation and income generation for themselves and/or their households. The nearness of the two local communities, regardless of entity divide, is the advantage of this kind of cooperation. This cooperation will also be presented to the wider community via a media campaign.

Duration of the project:
5 months (January – May 2019).

Ms Lejla Radoncic, executive director of Bosnian Handicrafts/BHcrafts, 033 551 535
Ms Naida Kucukalic, project coordinator, 033 551 535