As I live in Zenica I am quite sensitive to pollution, not just air pollution but also the environment in general. As I was trying to find someone to talk to in Kakanj for my “Humans of BiH” project, I saw there was something called the CEKOR Association, as an abbreviation for the Centre for Ecology and Sustainable Development in Kakanj. My interest grew since I wasn’t aware of their existence before and I didn’t know what they were all about. I arranged for a meeting with them and talked to one of the founders of the association, Elmir Delibašić, who told me a lot of things I didn’t know about. Perhaps I was a bit too focused on the pollution in Zenica, so I didn’t really have a chance to hear about pollution in, for example, Kakanj. Yet, Kakanj faces many other problems in terms of pollution, which is something that the CEKOR is trying to change, and the most interesting of all is what they are doing in an attempt to show Kakanj citizens how much their every activity is important for their clean environment. They have interesting activities, organise quizzes, often organise some cleaning, they’ve been active for just over a year and I believe we will still hear of them.

After talking to Elmir, I cannot shake the impresssion that probably every community in BiH should people gathered around an idea that will work actively to teaching even those who are ignorant about the importance of care for the environment we live in.

Elmir Delibašić:

The Association Centre for Ecology and Sustainable Development was formed in April 2016, and the main idea was to work on improving ecology and environmental awareness and generally to do something for our hometown Kakanj. We’ve had a number of projects immediately after registration. I would single out ‘Let’s do it’ cleaning, then the ‘From Days of Kingdom to Present Days’ project and ‘Keeping Youth in our Town and Country through Employment Education’.

Perhaps I should say a few words about this project since young people are generally marginalised, and nothing is done on this issue. We had the idea to educate them, to learn how to write business plans, and so they could apply for funds in the municipality or higher levels of the federation or canton. So, with a business plan they have, they have an option and in case they have an idea, this is a way to expand it.

As far as our association is concerned, we are not just an environmental association but we are dealing with other issues as well. Primary focus is on youth and ecology. Reactions in general are positive, we are also well-accepted by citizens, we have a lot of members, mostly youth. We have a good support from the municipality and other institutions and citizens of Kakanj, especially the Cultural and Sports Centre in Kakanj.

As for our future plans, we always have some ideas. We are trying to see these through, apply for calls, mostly hoping we will have more projects.

I would like to stress some projects we’ve done so far. For example, we are implementing an eco-quiz Eko plus in cooperation with the Kakanj Municipality and the Independent TV IC7, covering primary schools in a knowledge competition on environment. There are prizes for winners. So the goal is to raise general awareness of the viewership and the citizens of Kakanj about the environment and its importance. We are also working on the project “Peer Education on Selective Waste Collection and Separation”. Schools also educate children who will become peer educators and continue to further educate their peers.

Basically this is a summary of our projects. We still have a lot of plans, hopefully they will come true. There are some that were left out, for example, I just remembered again that we were leading the “Let’s do it – one million seedlings in one day”. Our association was again the main coordinator for this action where we planted about 3,000 seedlings in one day. Although there were few of us, and weather conditions were bad, raining the whole night before and out of 180 volunteers who applied, 60 of us actually showed up, so it was a significant success.

You can follow the Kakanj Ecology and Sustainable Development Centre at https://www.facebook.com/udruzenjemladihcekor/