The EU Floods Recovery Programme has invested EUR 1,6 million to provide furniture and equipment to a total of 124 kindergartens and primary and secondary schools, which are attended by an estimated 58,500 children and pupils across the flood-affected areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This investment is additional to the Programme's post-flood rehabilitation works in educational institutions to repair the structural damages caused by the floods. The EU's implementing partner in furnishing and equipping schools is UNICEF, which has extensive global experience in creating safe and stimulating learning environments for children.
The investments per facility range from EUR 2,000 to EUR 54,000 depending on the extent of flood damage and number of pupils, with an average investment of EUR 12,800 per facility. The EU funds are utilised for purchasing educational materials such as textbooks and teaching equipment for classrooms, laboratories and workshops, as well as for classroom furniture, gym equipment and toys. As of today, 85 educational institutions are fully furnished and equipped while an additional 39 institutions are due to receive their equipment and furniture in the course of the spring.
“For the European Union, it was very important from the outset that the post-flood rehabilitation of educational institutions is treated as a holistic process where all aspects of education and learning are addressed. Physical rehabilitation of school buildings is not sufficient on its own, and hence we pledged funds also to equip and furnish all the educational institutions included in the Programme, which a quality learning and teaching process requires“, said Andy McGuffie, Spokesperson of the EU Delegation to BiH/EU Special Representative Office.
In Janja, the EU Floods Recovery Programme invested around EUR 31,000 for furnishing and equipping the primary and secondary schools in the town, thanks to which the school experience for the pupils has improved: “This is now a more stimulating learning environment which reflects the needs of a student in the 21st Century better”, said Sandra, a high school student from Janja. The impact is also visible in the Prva Primary School in Maglaj, which received furniture and equipment worth of EUR 20,000: “This assistance will help our pupils to acquire the proper knowledge and facilitate the work of us, the teachers”, said Mirza Bradarić, a teacher at the School.
In accordance with the Programme's 'Build Back Better' principle, the EU funds are not only used to purchase new furniture and equipment for schools where classrooms were wiped out by the floodwaters, but also equipment and furniture which survived the floods but which were found to be broken and obsolete are being replaced out of health and safety considerations.
With classroom furniture, learning materials and teaching equipment already purchased and largely in use, the Programme is currently focusing on equipping school gyms and laboratories to complete the process.
“We are now finalising the needs assessment for school gym equipment and subsequently we are launching a procedure to procure this equipment. The next step is to equip the chemistry and biology laboratories across the flood-affected areas,” said McGuffie.
The EU Floods Recovery Programme was launched to restore normal living conditions in local communities and ensure that the aid reaches the most vulnerable ones in the aftermath of floods in May 2014. Funds are used to restore public services and infrastructure, rehabilitation of housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall programme is 43.52 million, out of which 42.24 million is provided by the European Union. This assistance is a part of the funds that the European Union pledged at the donor conference in Brussels in July 2014.
The programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).