After floods: Entrepreneurship as an important step in recovery

More than 200 families whose households were hit by catastrophic floods and landslides in 2014 are given an opportunity to improve their livelihood through project financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP and partners.

On that Monday at 5 AM, 32-year old Edina left her home in Zavidovići and travelled to Vitez, city 68 kilometers away. Four hours and eight busses later, Edina arrived on time to participate in the training on entrepreneurship implemented by the Flood Recovery – Housing Interventions Programme.

„It was a bit tiring to travel“, admits Edina. „But, when I wake up in the morning and think about not going to the training that day, I remember that everyone else will learn new things and I will not know them.“ Edina is unemployed mother of two who graduated from hairdressing school and sees this skill as a possible tool to improve her family living standard. „I would like to start doing it professionally“.

Entrepreneurship training is just the start of many activities implemented by the Programme with an aim of economic empowerment of socially vulnerable families from 2014 floods and landslides affected areas. With this training, selected Programme beneficiaries will acquire skills needed for developing and managing their own small business which will then help them provide for their families and support recovery of the whole community.

Besides activities on supporting beneficiaries with self-employment and small business start-up, through this Programme, financed by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP and its partners, beneficiaries who will receive support in agricultural assistance and employment were also selected. As a result, a total of 221 families from 35 municipalities and cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will participate in economic empowerment. Programme will also provide safe housing solutions for 2,800 people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in 2014 floods and landslides.

One of the participants of the training is Senija from Doboj, who together with her close family grows berry fruits. When asked about what she learnt during the training, Senija replied that she was afraid that the trainer would focus more on the topics she would not understand. „After all, I am only a farmer“, she says and adds „However, the trainings were very good and understandable to all of us who did not finish universities. The trainer cleared up a lot, I learnt about business, company establishing and also about how to look at all the aspects of work and the obstacles we can encounter“.

Upon the completion of the training, participants will prepare and present their business ideas and start with the registration of their small businesses. Through Programme, participants will receive necessary equipment and tools to conduct their business ideas, as well as mentoring and consulting during the first year of business.

Participants of the training have simple wishes for their future. „I would love to be able to earn a humble salary, to be able to pay my bills“ says Edina. Sanja dreams about having her own brand. „I would like to be able to process fruits, sell juice and earn pension“.

With the support from the Flood Recovery Programme, Edina and Senija’s road to entrepreneurship and better future will be made much easier.

Flood Recovery Programme – Housing Interventions, valued at EUR 15 million, is financed by the European Union in the amount of EUR 12.5 million, in cooperation with Government of Federation of BiH, Government of Republika Srpska, local authorities of partner cities and municipalities, and UNDP in BiH.

Programme is implemented by UNDP in BiH, together with the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM), Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), Hilfswerk International (HWI) and partner municipalities and cities.