The Foundation of Local Democracy (FLD) is an NGO located in Sarajevo with more than 18 years of experience in the design and coordination of different projects and social programs. Its main focus is the protection, promotion and development of human rights —particularly the rights of victims of gender violence—, the construction of the community, institutional capacity-building for development and networking, as well as team management.
The Foundation of Local Democracy is rooted in the international organization Embassy of Local Democracy Barcelona-Sarajevo
. The embassy was founded through an initiative from the European Council in 1996, in the post-war context after the Dayton Agreement, with the aim of connecting and twinning Sarajevo and other European cities in order to promote democracy, cultural exchange and socio-economic development.
During its existence, this body depended on the City Hall of Barcelona and implemented around 300 humanitarian projects and initiatives aimed at rebuilding Sarajevo and enforcing a wide program of training, entertainment, cultural and sport activities. From January 2003, this organization was reshaped and turned into a local institution. This institution took the name Foundation of Local Democracy in order to emphasize its position as legal successor of the Embassy of Local Democracy Barcelona-Sarajevo.
Since 2003, there have been several lines of action; however, the most important is the work carried out with to aid women victims of gender violence during the war. There are no concrete figures, but it is estimated that between 20,000 and 50,000 Bosnian women, mainly Muslim, were victims of gender violence, systematically planned and executed by the Serbian forces. This violence, used as a means of terror aimed to force civilian retreat, was used in the strategy of genocide and ethnic cleansing applied against the Bosnian population. There are several aid projects enforced by the FLD and aimed to help these women, ranging from the reception of refugees to health and psychological support, to legal assistance and support for a quick reintegration. All these projects attempt to lay the ground for an exhaustive process of recovery and dignity aimed to relieve the deep social impact of those actions.
The FLD is an institution involved in the social reconstruction processes that began immediately after the war. The improvement of the living conditions of the involved groups is a key prerequisite for the conservation and transmission of the collective memory. Similarly to other examples, particularly in the case of women, the efforts are aimed at repairing the damage caused by exile; recovering their independence and self-confidence; and to overcoming the fear of rejection in order to turn all those common experiences into a collective narrative that strongly embodies the need for justice, reparation and truth in the present.