The Balkans - the path to change is through young people
In the Balkans, we work with two youth organizations, one in Serbia and one in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Balkans, the alcohol culture is strong - home-brewed spirits are considered a national treasure. There is a lack of studies on alcohol-related effects on public health, accidents and violence, and awareness of the negative effects of alcohol on the individual and society is low. To bring about a change, we need to reach out to those who want and can change the culture. That is why we choose to work together with local organizations with a focus on young people.
We help young people to go against the flow
When we mobilize young people and work with youth organizations' alcohol culture, we strengthen people to dare to go against the norm. There is a social stigma attached to not drinking and many people do not want to be perceived as odd. You have to be confident in yourself to make that decision.
CEM, one of our partner organizations, says: “By talking about the alcohol culture with young people, we quickly get to other important topics, such as violence against women and children. It will simply be a starting point for discussing gender equality and the equal rights of all people. "
Our partner organizations work to get people at all levels to start talking about how alcohol affects individuals and society. They organize camps for young people, fix non-alcoholic bars, write policy proposals for youth boards and form opinions of officials and politicians.
The work gives results
In just a couple of years, there have been rapid changes. Maybe because no one has noticed the alcohol problems so purposefully before. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, municipalities have begun to monitor the age limits of bars, the link between alcohol and men's violence against women has been highlighted, and in Serbia, authorities have adopted guidelines to prevent alcohol from being used in the activities of youth organizations. But there is still a worrying alcohol consumption among minors. As many as 12 percent of young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina start drinking before the age of 12.
Our partner organizations are:
Bosnia Herzegovina: CEM - Centar za edukaciju mladih
Serbia: CZOR - Centar Za Omladinski Rad