Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Gender Equitable Attitudes among Young Men and Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Attitudes and behaviors of the current generation of young people in BiH are still shaped by patriarchal values, which influence the lifestyles of boys and girls and their respective vulnerability to health risks. Young men are more inclined to engage in harmful and dangerous activities and are much more likely to use violence - against women and peers - than women. The proposed intervention will promote healthier lifestyles and challenge existing gender stereotypes by working with young men, as well as women, in schools and local communities.

Country/region Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
01.12.2017 - 30.11.2020
CHF 715'000
Background Political and policy context continues to be resistant to broader social change when it comes to addressing root causes of gender inequalities and addressing the health and wellbeing of young people, especially when in relation to positive sexual and reproductive health. Youth in BiH, representing one quarter of the total population, are exposed to high poverty rates, unemployment (48%) and significant brain drain. These increase risks for young men's and women's health and well-being and have direct implications for mental health and substance use. Patriarchal norms around gender and masculinity still prevail, influencing young men and women's attitudes, behaviours, social roles and relationships with peers, families, and !arger communities. Schools in BiH provide a mirror on the gender and social norms prevailing in society.
Objectives The project's overall goal is to increase the uptake of healthy, nonviolent and gender equitable lifestyles among young men and women in BiH. This would be done by addressing the issues on multiple levels through three main and mutually reinforcing directions of the intervention: a) Changing policy: gaining support and ensuring engagement of relevant government institutions for non-formal, but also formal recognition and application of the program, b) Changing practices at the school and community level: increasing capacities of youth organizations' staff and high-school teachers to deliver non-formal and formal life-skills education in schools and communities and c) Changing social norms: raising awareness and changing attitudes of youth toward various aspects of health, violence and gender equality.
Target groups The target beneficiaries are entity and cantonal ministries responsible for youth, education and health, educational professionals/teachers in 30 secondary schools and 3 elementary schools, youth aged 13-26 with an emphasis on boys and men and girls and young women in vocational high schools and elementary schools, marginalized and out of school youth, parents, university students and youth NGOs from smaller BiH communities. Public campaigns and other related activities will reach at least 50'000 youth indirectly.
Medium-term outcomes
  • At least ten youth NGOs use their capacities and resources to support Program Y implementation and work of BMCs in their communities and use Program Y+ and Program Y++ with the focus on marginalized and out-of-school young men and women
  • At least two additional cantons use Program Y as mandatory in the extra-curricular school program with its upgraded versions Y+ and Y++ being tested with out-of-school young men and women and elementary school students
  • Young men and warnen have increased awareness and improved attitudes related to health, violence and gender equality through participation in group education and youth-led campaigns, on healthy lifestyles, violence prevention and gender equality at the local and national level
  • Social movements/citizen coalitions are active in encouraging governments to actively promote gender equality, prevent gender based violence, and promote life skills and health education in schools
Results

Expected results:  

  • Youth NGOs deliver Program Y, Program Y+ curriculum focused on marginalised populations in their communities and Program Y++ in piloted classes in elementary schools
  • Two entity level steering groups (government representatives, professionals and the key local NGO partners), formed and actively support the program
  • Program Y expanded as part of educational and or youth strategies in at least 2 cantons and or entities
  • Life skills education implemented in schools with a focus on youth health, gender equality and violence prevention
  • Educators have capacity to implement life skills curricula in schools
  • Youth are exposed to lifestyle campaign activities in their school and/or communities
  • Movement platforms and advocacy activities developed and supported


Results from previous phases:   Phase 1 has supported the development of an inclusive training manual "Program Y - Youth - Innovative Approaches in Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and the Promotion of Young Boys and Girls Healthy Life Styles" and its official acceptance in the education system of Republika Srpska (RS) and Hercegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC). School-based peer education activities and Be a Man Clubs (BMC) engaged 15'444 direct beneficiaries (8'009 male and 7'431 female) from 17 high schools and two elementary schools. Moreover, 122'595 indirect beneficiaries were reached through various campaigns implemented by partner civil society organizations. The endline survey conducted on the sample of 654 young men and 639 young women who were included in the project showed the most significant progress in the area of attitudes towards gender relations and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health (10-20% progress compared to the baseline survey, depending on the city).


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign Non-Governmental Organization
  • Care International

Implementing partner
Local Non-profit Organisation

Other partners
Association XY, Perpetuum Mobile, Youth Power, Ministries of Education and Health, Gender Agency
Coordination with other projects and actors Cooperation and synergies will be ensured: with the Mental Health Project and with the Reducing Health Risk Factors Project.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   715'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   410'300
Project phases Phase 2 01.12.2017 - 30.11.2020   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.12.2013 - 30.11.2017   (Completed)