Nongovernmental, non-profit organization “United Women” Banja Luka was founded on 16 August 1996, in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with key objective to work on improving social position of a woman, and her right to live free from violence in private and public life.
Initial activities were directed to empowerment of women in urban and rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina through work on programs of humanitarian and educational character (distribution of cattle, egg-laying hens to women in villages in border areas between two BiH entities, distribution of greenhouses to women returnees and women refugees, gynecological exams, basic courses of using computers, modern secretary, and English language courses, sewing courses, etc. to women in urban and rural areas of Republika Srpska).
We worked and we are still working with women of all age groups, national affiliation, social and educational status, without discrimination on any basis, with principal aim to protect women’s human rights in the practice.
During the past years, “United Women” Banja Luka developed into recognizable civil society organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina that works on providing direct services for women victims of gender based violence through free and gender sensitive legal counseling, SOS telephone, and safe house for women and children victims of violence. We initiated and implemented numerous public advocacy programs aimed to improve laws and public policies in the area of protecting women’s human rights and gender equality in the practice.
Short Up to Date Overview of Results of “United Women” Banja Luka Programs and Activities:
Fighting Violence Against Women and Gender Based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Provided direct assistance to more than 7500 women from wider Banja Luka region, through free legal counseling and assistance, psychological counseling and support, SOS telephone, Safe House for Women and Children Victims of Violence in Banja Luka and multi-disciplinary Team for Assistance and Support for Victims of Domestic Violence in Banja Luka, in which we participated until 1 May 2012;
– Direct contribution through expertise, public advocacy, and amendments in adoption of important laws and public policies directed toward prevention and fighting violence against women:
-Improved public awareness of women and men citizens and public officials of Banja Luka and Bosnia and Herzegovina on violence against women and gender based violence as the public issue through 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, numerous television and radio programs, billboard campaigns, round tables, public discussions, and conferences;
– Capacity building of more than 300 women and men professionals in police, health institutions, and centers for social work in Republika Srpska, with objective of providing direct support to women and children victims of violence, through workshops, trainigs, and joint initiative of multi-disciplinary approach for assistance and support to victims of violence in Banja Luka;
– Direct contribution in preparation of BiH Shadow Report on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1997, 2004, 2010, 2013) namely in part related to violence against women and trafficking of women and girls;
– Contribution in networking, capacity building, and developing common agenda of women’s nongovernmental organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina for working on prevention and fighting violence against women and gender based violence through contribution in establishing and work of BiH Women’s Network, Network of SOS Telephones for Victims of Violence in Republika Srpska, and BiH Safe Network.
Gender Equality in Public and Political Life of Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Building of capacities and skills of more than 700 women and men politicians, regardless of political option, and improving their knowledge in the areas of public advocacy, media presentation, political participation, improving laws and public policies in the area of gender equality, and women’s human rights, etc. ;
– Direct contribution through expertise, public advocacy, and amendments in adoption of important laws directed toward ensuring gender equality in public and political life;
– Increasing awareness of women and men citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, public officials, and journalists on importance of women’s participation in governance and decision making in BiH through organizing more than 100 television and radio programs, workshops with women voters, conferences, round tables, street campaigns, public discussions, billboard campaigns, etc.
Media and Gender Equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Organizing more than 50 television and radio programs on women’s human rights and gender equality in BiH;
– Increasing awareness for issues of gender equality and women’s human rights of electronic and printed media in Bosnia and Herzegovina through gender sensitive education and capacity building of more than 100 women and men journalists, editors, and management structures in media of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
– Increasing public awareness on gender based discrimination in media of Bosnia and Herzegovina through participation in the global initiative Gender and Media Monitoring (GMMP) (2005, 2009/2010) in relation to access and representation of women candidates and gender equality issues during pre-election campaign, field researches directed to influencing improvement of position of women journalists in BiH media;
– Increasing gender sensibility of programs of the Radio Television of Republika Srpska (RTRS), as one of the key public broadcasters in Bosnia and Herzegovina through advocacy for usage of gender sensitive language, continuous organizing thematic programs on women’s human rights and gender equality, direct participation of “United Women” Banja Luka representative in the Program Council of RTRS, direct contribution of RTRS in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign in BiH;
-Initiating and coordination of an informal network of women’s nongovernmental organizations and women journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and capacity building for gender sensitive media programs.
Advocacy Against Trafficking of People in Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Education of more than 2700 girls and boys secondary school students, 120 women and men school pedagogues, school directors and teachers throughout Republika Srpska on the issue of trafficking of people, through interactive workshops, brochures, comic book, and broadcasting movies on this topic;
– Networking and public advocacy for ending trafficking of women and girls through RING NGO Network Against Trafficking of People in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
– Contribution to the development of public policies and improving work of governmental institutions in BiH on ending trafficking of women and girls through active participation in coordination meetings organized by the BiH Coordinator for Ending Human Trafficking.