Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to experience high levels of youth unemployment, social exclusion and irregular youth migration. In response, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to implement the Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP).
The programme addresses high unemployment and social exclusion by focusing on improving the employability and social inclusion of youth, and providing them with new entry points into the labour market.
UNVs involvement in YERP creates a platform for national UN Volunteers to promote volunteerism and play a part in enhancing the economic participation of their peers. Since the start of the project in January 2010, 23 national UN Volunteers (YERP Counsellor-Advisors) have offered counselling, job search training and assistance, career development assistance, and help in the preparation of individual employment plans.
UN Volunteers provide workshops in many areas including CV writing, interview, job search, computer, and language skills. They promote the Youth Employment (CISO) Centres by engaging in outreach activities targeting youth, schools, local officials and other community members.
To date, the YERP programme has established and equipped 16 CISO Centres, 14 of which are working with national UN volunteers. From their base at the CISO Centres, UN Volunteers helped to provide services for over 5,900 young people (of which 160 in turn became volunteers) and over 4,000 community members. Over 1,470 individual work plans were developed, and 480 young people completed courses in IT and English. Volunteer outreach activities also included 106 presentations on volunteering, participation in 49 community events, activities at 80 schools, and the publication and distribution of a brochure promoting volunteering.
This programme experience has highlighted a strong and continued need for services provided by the CISOs. The high level of commitment and enthusiasm displayed by the national UN Volunteers has contributed significantly to the programmes achievements and the increased employability and social inclusion of youth. In turn, their work helps to address prevailing misconceptions in Bosnia and Herzegovina about volunteers and volunteering.
About the programme: The Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP) addresses high unemployment and social exclusion by focusing on improving the employability and social inclusion of youth, and providing them with new entry points into the labour market. National UN Volunteers contribute significantly to enhancing the economic participation of their peers, and help to address misconceptions about volunteers and volunteering.