Tijana Đokić – Sokolac: In the NGO sector she learnt that the effort ultimately gets recognition, and obstacles are a valuable experience
Tijana Đokić has an undergraduate degree in economics. She is currently, since March, the Head of the Sector for Local Development. She has a rich experience in writing and implementation of projects in the NGO sector, through the Youth Association „Mobilijar“ from Sokolac. She is accountant by profession and her working experience was earned in a private accounting and auditing agency. She told me that her NGO experience had helped her, and keeps helping her, in everything she does. As I reached her thanks to an article on the Mobilijar, this association was our first topic.
The Youth Association „Mobilijar“ Sokolac was established in 2013 by a group of young people and athletes who strove to expand the sports infrastructure i our town and to contribute to promotion of healthy lifestyles, so young people would gather more on sports fields, they would develop a sense of sportsmanship and thus develop their sensibilities for solidarity, teamwork and be able to strongly oppose inappropriate behaviour.
Let me describe the first project implemented by the Youth Association „Mobilijar“ – construction of an open air gym. This project led to a long-term increase of the interest of young people in sporsts and innovative forms of exercise and body building. We learnt a lot – that the effort eventually gets recognition, and that all problems and obstacles are a valuable experience. And that was also a wind under our wings that allowed us to consider new ideas, not only to keep the association active, but also to continue developing our project experience, which needed to be built up further.
We had to strengthen our knowledge and our skills, exclusively by attending training programs, to learn how to formulate our ideas in the clearest fashion and how to define an action plan for future activities. As I participated in these training workshops I made first contacts with coordinators of successful associations from Sarajevo, with whom we are about to sign our first cooperation agreement.
Following their experience, we are also introducing new types of activities in our association. We approached the problem of youth unemployment by making them realize that they need to empower themselves, to invest in their knowledge, and in this way distinguish themselves and achieve their goals on their own.
Let me mention our membership in the Peace Building Network as a key factor for access to information and the donor database. We also had a series of grant contracts for projects, but I need to note that these were mini grants. The results were considerably greater, which served as recommendations for attracting new donors, to motivate young people in our community through concrete work, all the way to the role of peace activists. When I say, peace activist, I mean a contribution to promotion of peace, raising awareness of the significance of peace for economic and social welfare of the country, all of this through „Pro-Future“ projects. We built ourselves through these Pro-Future projects, we developed cooperation with young people from other ethnic and religious groups, and from the other entity.
Let me bring up another project. That was the opening of the Local Volunteer Service in our municipality, which serves as a resource center. Its purpose is to motivate young people to use their free time for community service and thereby contribute to positive changes in their local communities.
I asked her about her plans for the future.
As regards the future plans, at the Department for Local Economic Development of the Sokolac Municipality, I will highlight the continuation of activities on adoption of the methodology for transparent funding of civil society, a more intensive cooperation with the NGO secto, to motivate them to work on the projects that are as high-quality and as competitive as possible, so that, as a local community, we can emerge as a champion of this type of cooperation with civil society organizations. We will also work on further strengthening of the cooperation with the NGO sector. That is a very important domain, and only as partners we can work on more productive and concrete development projects, all with the aim to address problems and burning issues in our community. It is of utmost importance that this involves attracting domestic and foreign investors.
We also planned work on advancing the coordination with young people in order to raise awareness about the need for greater activism on detection of priority problems in the community, as well as on their presentation to the same key stakeholders.
The Department for Local Economic Development will certainly work on promotion of successful NGOs, by providing technical and operational assistance in writing project proposals, organization of trainings in promotion of the NGO sector, project proposal writing and public advocacy.
I asked her about her thought regarding emigration of young people from BiH. Aware of all the issues, Tijana still choses to believe in a better future.
I would prefer to talk about the results that improved the position and rights of young people in BiH, primarily the FBiH Law on Youth and RS Law on Youth Organizations. What is missing is more such strategic documents. And young people ought to increase their activism to draw the attention of key stakeholders on all levels of government – to organize panel discussions and round tables, and to demand support programs. Certainly, they need to maximize their efforts.
In addition, in the Sokolac Municipality we have the Strategy for Youth Policy Development 2013-2018. In cooperation with the secondary school and the employment bureau, we plan to launch a promotion of in-demand and scarce professions on the labor market, so young people could timely plan their education and later professional training and align them with what the labor market is seeking.
Have you ever thought about leaving BiH?
No. I would prefer to focus all my activities here where I am and intensified efforts to make changes, to leverage some positive trends in society and all potentials this country has.