Youth Centers are “Accessible and adopted space for youth which continuously provides activities and programs for youth based on methods and principals of non-formal education with a goal to empower youth to become conscious, responsible members of their communities and thus create all conditions for developing their full potential.” (Official Gazette of the Republic of Srpska No. 1/12 from 5th of January 2012)
Youth centers offer an alternative to youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina who face a large number of challenges such as high national unemployment rate (60%); out of class free time that young individuals usually spend with little or no money on the streets which makes them vulnerable to passivity, depression, drug abuse, unprotected sexual activities, and participation in criminal activities; traditional theoretical education offered by schools in BiH usually do not meet the needs of contemporary job market; dedication of little or no time to questions that youth in BiH face such as: peer violence, inner relationships, sexual and reproductive health, etc. within formal education.
In order to ensure high quality and institutionally recognized daily work with youth, through our work we actively advocate for standardization of work within youth centers in BiH in order to ensure development of quality services within youth centers; advancement of program opportunities for youth, technical, staff and ethical standards; regulation of official status for youth centers when applying for calls within domestic and international funds; increase of youth participation within the society.
In 2011, Perpetuum Mobile conducted the first research of youth centers in BiH – Youth Centers – Bearers of Youth Work in order to monitor the situation in regards to the questions of form, capacity, status, and influence of youth centers. The research gathered 27 youth centers from 26 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and showed that:
“Youth centers are recognized as places that can gather the lagers number of young people, where young individuals can develop their full potential through socially oriented, educational and recreational programs, and thus increase their capacities for active involvement in the society.” Božić, Trninić – „Omladinski centri – nosioci omladinskog rada“ 2011