Genesis Project Western Balkans

The Genesis Project was set up in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in June 1996, with the main goals to educate children and adults about peacebuilding, tolerance, coexistence, child safety, violence prevention and injuries prevention. The Genesis Project is working in the field of conflict prevention and resolution, as well as promoting environmental protection, gender equality and healthy lifestyles.

Since 2005, Genesis Project has been implementing projects in divided primary schools (primarily located in Middle Bosnia Canton). BiH is characterized by the phenomenon of divided schools, most visibly symbolized by the “two-schools under one roof”. Those schools are segregated on the basis of ethnicity in cantons and areas of BiH where the population is mixed. The organisation believes this emerges from distrust and fear fuelled by irresponsible nationalist politics. They see ”two schools under one roof” as the most explicit form of division within an education system that is itself characterized by division and decentralization on administrative and political grounds. Cultural and ethnic isolation is built into the educational system. This stands in sharp contrast to existing human rights treaties which have been signed and ratified by BiH, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In these divided schools, Genisis Project are implementing activities in ethnically mixed groups of children / adults, trying to decrease level of prejudices and stereotypes and to rebuild trust and confidence among major ethnic groups, Bosniak and Croats.

Since 1996 the organisation has conducted over one hundred projects and educated approximately 100,000 children and 1,000 teachers. They state with confidence that they have made significant changes throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina concerning teaching children about the conflict prevention, peacebuilding, dangers of landmines as well as their rights as children and health topics such as disease prevention. Other goals of Genesis Project included teaching communities about freedom of speech, democracy, basic human rights and peaceful conflict prevention and resolution.

Projects are primarily implemented in primary schools and always in close cooperation with entity / cantonal Ministries of education, who are in charge for primary school education (children age 6 – 15).

Last updated: July 2015