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Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - While state of emergency remains in place throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNFPA started Youth Barometer, an online weekly talk-show. Barometer is developed and produced by youth, for youth, and features young speakers discussing pressing community issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the COVID-19 prism.

Through Youth Barometer, we found that they do have concrete ideas and suggestions on how to transform the challenges Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing into opportunities and build a more resilient and equitable society.

“Young people are facing uncertainty, insecurity and lack of sufficient information on the overall situation. Our needs are not being taken seriously, we don’t have the opportunity to provide inputs into discussions around the future of this country. We are often excluded from decision-making processes and that is why we talk about all the ways COVID-19 is impacting us and what the way forward could be,” said Anes Osmić, a young teacher, journalist and activist who is also producer and moderator of Youth Barometer.

Youth Barometer is structured so that each new webisode is thematic and features new guests. The first webisode aired on 21st April and dealt with health and wellbeing. The second webisode covered the impact of COVID-19 on education, where a young teacher, and three students from public and private high schools and universities discussed how they are adjusting to this ‘new normal’.

“For me, Youth Barometer is the perfect platform for young people who don’t have access to mainstream media. I felt validated as a young person and as a citizen, because I was finally given space to share my views and opinions on the issues that are shaping our lives“ stated Dragana, one of the participants of the recent episode. 

Last night webisode discussed political participation and the role of youth in political processes. It has also featured a special guest, the British Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Matthew Field, whose Embassy is directly supporting the Barometer. The next one will talk about role of media during the pandemic. 

In Anes’s words, the future of this youth-centered talk-show will go beyond usual topics and will deal with issues of peace and reconciliation, gender based violence, stigma related to conflict related sexual violence, discrimination and isolation that people are facing as well as try to offer suggestions on how to best address these challenges.