Young women participating in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political life – Camp Movement “1325” realized

During the Movement “1325” camp, based on the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations – Women, Peace, and Safety, we worked on encouraging young women, and helping them recognize their skills, to get involved in political life, and actively advocate for peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Primarily, participants shared to what extent they feel encouraged and invited to social and political participation, possibilities to act in their local communities, and their views on the position of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

We defined values participants are guided by when it comes to their social and political involvement, as they will try to transfer these values to their local communities and advocate for them after the camp, to empower other young women to act. 

It’s significant to note that, being introduced to the 1325 resolution, participants expressed disappointment because their rights and fields in which women should participate, aren’t possible to find within the formal education, nor are they taught in local communities. 

With the support of the mentor, psychologist, and youth worker Azra Frlj, participants recognized collective trauma in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reinforce difficulties and challenges in the implementation of the 1325 resolution. We mapped joint narratives, emotions, and values in BiH, to get close to the symptoms of societal trauma which strengthens established patterns and attitudes about women’s role in our country. 

We worked on adopting psychological resistance mechanisms, on providing resistance to society, which carries within itself the potential for progress and transformation. Transformation processes are exhaustive and long-lasting, but they can result in a society based on solidarity, activism, empathy, and inclusiveness. Through the process at the Movement “1325” camp, the participants create models of peacebuilding that correspond to their time, they walk the path of their future. 

Two panel discussions were organized with Bosnian heroines and activists, pioneers of the women’s movement in the former Yugoslavia. Participants moderated the panel, so they had the opportunity to ask questions that shaped and expanded their knowledge about peace processes. They got an insight into practical solutions, experiences from the movement, and tools useful on the path of visibility. 

The transgenerational exchange of young women with activists and survivors of wartime sexual violence is crucial for their empowerment, and understanding of history, but also in the creating process of a functional memory of war heritage and women’s fight. Creating safe spaces for transgenerational dialogue creates quality foundations for a culture of remembrance of women’s struggles and victories in the former Yugoslavia. 

The participants also tried their hand at conscious dance workshops implemented in cooperation with the Mohanji Foundation Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the guidance of coordinator Ana Raos. This technique is specially adapted to work with groups of people who have a certain traumatic experience, so in our context, it was used for empowerment, self-acceptance, and giving new meaning to such life experiences. The workshop also played a role in building group cohesion and bonding, which is an important factor for harmonious teamwork. 

Young women united their creativity and devoted time to designing and developing ideas they will implement in local communities, with the mentoring support of the “Forgotten Children of the War” Association, Bosnian heroines, and regional activists, as well as their mentor Azra Frlj. Through activities, they will gain experience and try themselves out in working on the implementation of resolution 1325, and with quality content at the local level, participants will encourage other young women in Bosnia and Herzegovina to act. To upgrade ideas, and repeat and consolidate everything that was learned and experienced during the camp, the participants will gather at the end of July. 

The initiative Movement “1325” is implemented with the support and cooperation of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sarajevo.