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Help Wanted: Linking Job-Seekers to Jobs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 23, 2015

World Bank Group

Milena Kikic and Jasna Zilic both found work in small bakeries in the country following an extended period of unemployment. Both women received help from the Social Safety Nets and Employment Support Project, a $22 million World Bank Group project started in 2010. 68% of people who have found work through this program remain employed after 18 months, just like Milena and Jasna.

Drazenka Trklja owns Pera-Zdera, a small bakery in Bileca, Bosnia Herzegovina. Everyday people stop in for hamburgers, snacks, and soda but the shop specializes in Burek – a traditional meat pie sold in small businesses just like this one around the country.

“We opened this shop three years ago and we have been successful in what we do,” says Draženka , “We have four women working here -two working in sales and two in production. Because we don’t sell readymade meals, we need to produce everything fresh here.”

One of these employees is Milena Kikic, who joined the team after several years of unemployment.

“My favorite part of the job is slicing the Burek,” notes Kikic, who helps both prepare the fresh foods on offer at the bakery as well as works in the front helping customers, serving food, and cleaning up.


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The program links employers with potential employees, helping people find work following an extended period of unemployment. Here, Draženka Trklja, a bakery owner, with a colleague preparing dough for burek in the “Pera-Ždera“ shop in Bileća.


95 kilometers to the north, in the town of Mostar, Jasna Zilic also works in a bakery making and selling Burek. She also began working at this job after many years of being unemployed.

“I was unemployed for ten years,” says Zilic.

“Four years ago I started working here. It is great working here. Since I have two children I really needed to work.”

Both Milena and Jasna have more in common than their livelihoods. Both women began working after receiving help from an employment agency as part of the Social Safety Nets and Employment Support Project (SSNESP) - a $22 million joint project between the World Bank Group and the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


" I was unemployed for ten years... It is great working here. Since I have two children, I really needed to work.  "

Jasna Zilic

bakery employee, Mostar

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Nurija Ćušić baking the "burek" meat pie under the Sač in Višak burek shop in Mostar.


The project, launched in 2010, has helped people like Milena and Jasna by offering job-brokerage support, improved management of these and other support services, and rehabilitated facilities. By linking employers with potential employees, and by offering short-term assistance to defray these expenses, this program has helped more than 10,000 people around the country during difficult periods of unemployment.


" After the project ended, the employees proved to be of exceptional quality, and we therefore kept them on the job. "

Mirsad Lavić

owner of the Višak Bakery


With 68% of the employees hired as a result of this project working at the same job 18 months after receiving assistance, this project is showcasing the effectiveness of matching the needs of employers with eager and committed employees – helping to bridge the labor gap in a country with an unemployment rate greater than 40% and creating employment opportunities designed to last.

“I found out through the employment agency that there is an employment project to employ people listed in the employment bureau, so we applied for the project and employed four women,” says Mirsad Lavic, owner of the Visak Bakery that employs Jasna – along with three other workers who participated in the SSNESP.

“After the project ended the employees proved to be of exceptional quality, as they improved in their job and we therefore kept them on the job, and we don’t plan to change that anytime soon.  It is hard to find quality labor in today’s world.”

10,000
people around the country found work through a program linking employers with potential employees
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