Red Cross Mobile Teams: Hope for many citizens of Bosansko Grahovo, Glamoč, Drvar and surroundings

UN project means a lot to municipality since majority of population is elderly persons from rural areas - with no means of transportation to get to the city

Nadežda Bilbija, a returnee from the village of Bilbije, nearby Bosansko Grahovo, has been bed-ridden for several years now. In the past 20 months, apart from her neighbour who comes to visit and help with the basic needs, she has also been receiving support from a mobile team of the Red Cross, set up as a part of the project Applying the Human Security Concept to Stabilise Communities in Canton 10, funded by United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and implemented by UN agencies in BiH - IOM, UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR. The team comprises a nurse Zorka Gašić and a driver Nenad Đurić, who also has a role of a repairer, often helping their beneficiaries with household choirs that they themselves cannot do due to their age or condition. “We mostly visit the elderly, as there are not too many children in these remote areas, except for a few families that we have visited,” says Zorka, while we recall feature stories about boys from Pribelja near Glamoč and Tiškovac near Bosansko Grahovo, as reported earlier, and who were also visited by mobile teams. “All efforts should be made to ensure continuity and sustainability of the project. The functioning of mobile teams must continue by all means,” stressed Draško Dalić, Prime Minister of Canton 10. “Nadežda is in a serious condition, and we try to visit her as much as we can,” adds Zorka.

We visited Nadežda in her small and modest home in the village of Bilbije, together with the mobile team, in one of the last visits within the project, while the mobile team members, joined by representatives of local authorities, all hope to be successful in continuing the organisation of visits by the mobile team, given the great need. “Born in 1938, I was a refugee but then I returned and now for five years I am bed-ridden. Doctors are as good as gold to me! They come and visit, help out and talk to me”, says Nadežda. “It is all good, managing somehow. Please just tell the mayor to get me firewood, summer will be gone soon, and winter is at the door”, Nadežda told us at the end of the visit. The mobile team has also been visiting the family of Bojan Marinković in suburban Grahovo. He works in agriculture and Bojan received a machine for land cultivating as a part of support within the project, which, according to Bojan, will be of good use. As of recently, he found a job, and the situation now is much better. “I work in agriculture, and I received a power tiller which means a lot to me in agriculture. There are seven of us in the family, my wife is unemployed, we have two children, the older girl is to start school this year, the school is a close distance, while the younger one is two and a half and still some time left before starting school”, says Marinković.

Dragana Damjanović-Đurić, a secretary of the Red Cross in Bosansko Grahovo, says that the mobile team was perfectly well received during all 20 months of project duration, with as many as 1,860 services provided. “This project means a lot to our municipality since our population is mainly elderly, people from rural areas with no transportation to get to the city. Our vehicle was also used for emergency assistance; we worked on distributing aid, in addition to all other services provided by a nurse in her line of business and a driver-repairer on tasks that he could attend to. We did well with this part of the job and it would be quite something if local authorities could help us now to continue even after the completion of the project, by securing funding so that we could take on with these activities,” says Dragana Damjanović-Đurić. Canton 10 Prime Minister Draško Dalić also joined in a visit to one of the families and affirmed absolute commitment for the mobile team to continue functioning as it has proven very useful and much needed. “All efforts should be made to ensure continuity and sustainability of the project. Given the activities of mobile teams in municipalities of Bosansko Grahovo, Drvar and Glamoč, as well as a part of Kupres, the functioning of mobile teams must continue by all means. Also, bearing in mind the size of Grahovo and areas of other municipalities, coupled with the population comprising mainly elderly living in remote areas, there must be functional mobile teams in future as well. We will do everything on our part to have it continued, but will also ask higher levels to acknowledge our canton and municipality of Bosansko Grahovo, just as everyone else in the country, instead of concentrating all assistance on larger municipalities only. These emptier municipalities, empty of people and content, seek and expect assistance from higher levels.” Duško Radun, Mayor of Bosansko Grahovo hopes to receive the necessary support from higher levels of government, and also mentions earlier commitment of this municipality in providing support to the mobile team: “Mobile teams have provided major support for the elderly and those in need in this municipality, and we made an effort to hire an additional doctor who comes every two weeks, in cooperation with the Red Cross, going to the field in their vehicle,” stressed Radun.

UN entities involved in this initiative
International Organization for Migration
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund