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Bosnia and Herzegovina
31% of women are unemployed
21% of parliamentary seats are held by women
97% are literate
Žene za Žene
*Bosnian translation of Women for Women
Women for Women International was founded in 1993 by Zainab Salbi and Amjad Atallah to offer financial and emotional support to women displaced by the Bosnian War. The legacy of genocide, sectarian violence, and systematic rape that occurred during the war remains evident today as the country struggles to rebuild and redefine itself as a 21st century democracy.
Today, Žene za Žene International Association Sarajevo continues this work as an independent organization, and in affiliation with Women for Women International, helps women create economic opportunities and strengthen their civic engagement.
From 1993 to 2015, Women for Women International served nearly 62,000 women in Bosnia and Herzegovina across 50 communities of various ethnicities. After graduating from our program, women reported positive changes in these key areas:
Women earn and save money: Women reported average personal income of $3.52 per day at graduation, compared to $1.12 at enrollment.1
Women create and connect to networks for support and advocacy: More than 63 percent of participants reported sharing information about their rights with other women at graduation, compared to 20 percent at enrollment.1
Building upon this work, the Žene za Žene (which means “Women for Women” in Bosnian) team has provided WfWI graduates with advanced vocational and business skills training to improve their ability to earn an income and support their families, as well as support women’s associations to contribute to their families and communities.
Its civic engagement program increases the participation of WfWI graduates, women's associations and young women in local government and in grassroots, issue-based advocacy organizations. For example, a Young Women in Leadership and Development project is providing in-depth training and mentoring for young women in leadership, advocacy, project design and fundraising to enable them to design community development projects and become active leaders in local civil society organizations.
Žene za Žene's strategic plan summarizes the current context and strategies — including programming, resources, and fundraising — for Žene za Žene's first three years of independent operations from 2016-2018.