Sarajevo Open Centre
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Finding a leverage point is key to advancing systems change. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, many laws and policies are set by “cantons”—a set of ten self governing, autonomous entities with their own legislatures. For our grantee partner Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC), the cantons are essential levers to advance feminist values.
In 2021, SOC celebrated a breakthrough: By working with local partners, it convinced three cantons to adopt Gender Action Plans, a set of comprehensive and inclusive measures to improve all areas of life and work for women and LGBTQI+ people. The plans are approved collectively by civil society organizations and the government, creating a strong foundation for change. Along with bold measures for gender equality, they offer clear plans to reduce discrimination among LGBTQI+ people, such as guidelines for medical workers to ensure fair treatment of transgender and intersex persons, and training for police officers on addressing and reducing hate crimes.
Just as important, they lay the groundwork for even more change ahead. As SOC reports, these newly-adopted plans can now “be used as a base for future advocacy” and leverage. That means even more concrete changes in laws—and lives—in years to come.