BiH Diaspora Platform
Switzerland is host to a significant diaspora from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), including representatives of all nationalities constituting BiH. Since 2017, the i-platform serves as a bridge-builder among the heterogeneous members of the BiH diaspora in Switzerland and between the two countries, facilitating partnerships, know-how transfer, and investments. Through this exit phase, the i-platform shall gain full financial sustainability and become a meaningful and effective diaspora engagement model for development.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Diaspora for development
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
- Other Swiss Non-profit Organisation
|Background||A 2014 study estimated the BiH diaspora in Switzerland at 60,000 people (out of 2 mio BiH citizens living outside their country). While in the 1960s and 1980s rather unqualified (seasonal) workers from the former Yugoslavia found their way to Switzerland, in the 1990s numerous refugees came to Switzerland in connection with the war. Against this background, the BiH active “diaspora” in Switzerland remains very heterogeneous: most of the 80 BiH associations are oriented along ethnic and religious lines and thus have different visions about the future of their country. There are however individuals, especially among the youngest generations, who wish to make a contribution to BiH beyond their ethnic and religious affiliations. While the BiH diaspora in Switzerland contributes a significant share of the remittances to BiH (10.9% of GDP in 2019), the potential arising from its immaterial contributions (transfer of knowledge, connecting and networking capacities) remains largely untapped for the development of the country.|
|Objectives||To foster and enhance the BiH diaspora’s contributions to BiH's economic, social, cultural, and democratic development.|
The ultimate beneficiaries are women and men living in BiH who benefit from the material and immaterial contributions of the BiH diaspora to their countries of origin.
Direct beneficiaries are organizations and institutions in BiH (Government at various levels and in different sectors, businesses, academia, and NGOs).
Outcome 1 (institutional):
The i-platform functions as a financially sustainable, professional, ethnically and religiously neutral hub that facilitates in an inclusive way cooperation and partnerships between different actors in Switzerland and BiH.
Outcome 2: (operational):
The i-platform is used as a contact point and source of information by the BiH diaspora in Switzerland and by interested public and private institutions in BiH, offering exchange, networking opportunities and supporting initiatives that serve the economic, cultural, social and democratic development of BiH.
· The i-platform enjoys a positive image and is seen as a professional, useful and trustworthy platform that promotes the exchange of talents and information between Switzerland and BiH.
· The initiative further gathers and networks experts and professionals from the BiH diaspora in Switzerland and involves them in development initiatives for BiH. The results and impact of the match-making activities and joint initiatives in relevant development sectors are well-documented.
· Thanks to a convincing fundraising strategy and proactive outreach to potential sponsors, the i-dijaspora has managed to diversify its source of funding to maintain a reasonable level of activities by 2024.
- The i-platform provides a useful model in the field of diaspora for development, and its experience is shared regionally and globally.
Results from previous phases:
· In 2014, a study provided information on the profile of the BiH diaspora in Switzerland and the idea of a BiH platform was born.
· In 2015/16, the Swiss Association i-dijaspora was founded by 6 active members of the diaspora representing the different communities in BiH. The role of the Association is to host and operate the i-platform supported by the SDC.
· Since 2017, the i-platform has developed a solid network of experts among the BiH diaspora and with relevant institutions in Switzerland and BiH. It has gained recognition as bridge-builder through numerous match-making events and joint initiatives in 3 priority sectors of interventions: economy, education/science and culture. (ex: BiH Swiss Business Forum, 2017; BiH at Swiss Travel Days in 2018, followed by a press travel in 2019 promoting tourism in BiH).
- The website of the i-platform provides relevant informations and contacts to promote and inspire new initiatives driven by the BiH diaspora to the benefit of BiH.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
|Coordination with other projects and actors||Partnerships will be further sought in the framework of the migration partnership between Switzerland and BiH (e.g. with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, in charge of the BiH diaspora policy). Coordination is ensured within the GPMD portfolio in the areas of diaspora for development and financial inclusion, with relevant M&D and (youth) entrepreneurship programs supported by the SDC and SECO in BiH and the Western Balkan.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 230’000|
|Project phases||Phase 99 01.07.2020 - 31.12.2025 (Current phase) Phase 3 15.07.2020 - 30.06.2024 (Current phase) Phase 2 01.01.2017 - 30.06.2020 (Completed) Phase 1 01.08.2014 - 31.12.2016 (Completed)|