Our Village

City, Country:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014)

History of the city/location/crisis (i.e. earthquake, typhoon, flood)

  • Heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in rural villages

Why was this project chosen (urgency, lack of media coverage, amount of people affected)

  • Lack of media coverage
  • Scarce resources in the country
  • Most relief efforts was focused on neighboring countries (Serbia especially)
  • Found many villages not receiving adequate emergency aid and being forced into refugee camps in nearby cities
  • Villages of 500+ people were totally wiped out by landslides

Key objectives of the project (what were the hopes/ predicted outcomes)

  • Short term:
    • Provide water and other basic necessities for victims in villages who were not receiving outside aid.
  • Long term:
    • Help village residents to rebuild farm land which had been destroyed by the flooding and landslides. Rebuilding farm land would help develop the economy and provide a needed area to base future recovery.

Description of the project (steps taken on arrival/on the ground)

  • Project took place in:
    • Željezno Polje near Zenica city (central Bosnia)
    • Janja and Cerska in East Bosnia
  • We contacted 3 local, grassroots NGOs prior to arriving and held meetings with members of each group upon arrival. Found HARRIS to be the group that would benefit the most with international assistance and thus partnered with them
  • Emergency Phase:
    • Through local sponsorships, we purchased all emergency goods at the local Konsum grocery store. The store paid for delivery to the affected areas.
    • We took the goods to Zeljenzo Polje to be distributed by us to the families who remained.
  • Recovery Phase:
    • We negotiated with local nurseries to provide highly sought after seedlings to Our Village at reduced rates
    • We purchased 1-million cucumber seedlings which was to be distributed to the communities who were affected
    • We also purchased new dirt and fertilizer for the families we were assisting.

Time spent on the ground, number of people on team, where they come from, local assistance given from…

  • 2 weeks in Bosnia
  • 3 members of the Our Village Team including Ali Manek
  • the other two were local volunteers.

Key Points to success/failed:

  • Didn’t anticipate the delay in starting to plant seeds as a result of the landslides
  • Didn’t anticipate the importance of rebuilding land with new soil


  • Main sponsors
    • No major contributor
  • Finances
    • Total cost of project
    • Where money was spent i.e. supplies, food, microloans