Supported by the Swiss Government and private donations, Caritas Switzerland will assist approximately 2,000 households (6,000 household members) with emergency aid for a period of three months, between April and June 2020.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has Bosnia and Herzegovina firmly in its grip. Especially disadvantaged population groups are severely hit by the consequences of the crisis. This includes persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses, pensioners, single parents and persons belonging to ethnic minorities, such as Roma, who are already strongly affected by marginalisation and exclusion. Many households have lost their incomes due to economic restrictions. They cannot benefit from a continued payment of wages or other financial support as most of them are in precarious employment situations, unemployed, or not covered by social insurance. Prior to the crisis, many households were already living close to or well below the poverty line.
Supported by the Swiss Government and private donations, Caritas Switzerland will focus on
19 municipalities in Bijeljina, Višegrad, Novo Goražde, Rudo, Čajniče, Foca RS, Foca FBiH, Pale FBiH, Kakanj, Zenica, Zavidovići, Vogošća, Ilijaš, Hadžići, Ilidža and Sarajevo (Novo Sarajevo, Novi Grad, Centar, Stari Grad).
All targeted municipalities have been or are currently cooperating with Caritas Switzerland in other projects. This allows for a coordinated, effective and efficient emergency aid for families in need, in close collaboration with the municipal authorities and other local partners in order to select the most vulnerable households. In three municipalities, the purchase and the distribution of aid packages (non-perishable food and hygiene articles) will be supported. In 16 other municipalities, Caritas Switzerland cooperates with local supermarket chains and organises the distribution of shopping vouchers through the municipal administration to households in need. This allows them to purchase food and basic hygiene items such as soap, which are essential to reduce the spread of the virus. In total, the project will support approximately 2,000 households with 6,000 household members for a period of three months, between April and June 2020.
For the duration of the crisis, our usual project activities are reduced and emergency aid is provided to help vulnerable households to bridge the period of economic restrictions. As soon as the restrictions are eased, Caritas Switzerland will resume its regular project work with a special focus on income generation for households that have lost their livelihoods due to the crisis. Similarly, small-scale food production for self-consumption and sale in local markets will be promoted to compensate for losses from the missed planting season and to improve food security throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.