July 8, 2014
The Old Bridge in Mostar
In mid-May, just as the multiethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team was preparing to make its debut in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and citizens were in a celebratory mood, the country was hit by historic heavy rain that seriously damaged the north and central part of the country.
People lost family members and homes. Even as they were reminded of their experiences in the Bosnian War that ended in 1995, victims received assistance from formerly adversarial neighbors and from neighboring countries that were fellow members of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency also arrived swiftly in the form of tents, blankets, electric power generators and other emergency relief supplies, and it will continue assisting with the reconstruction effort.
It was the latest in a history of assistance that goes back to the end of the war. JICA helped to rebuild damaged social infrastructure and today it is working to consolidate peace and develop the economy. Its current efforts under the Ethnic Reconciliation and Consolidation of Peace Program include the Project for Confidence-building through Rural Development, which encourages dialogue among ethnic groups through agriculture, and the Project on Informatics Curricula Modernization, in which students from different ethnic groups sit side by side learning information technology in a school system that otherwise keeps them separate.