Terms of Reference


  1. Background

WB countries tend to be stuck in transition; our economic and financial instability creates fertile spaces for retrograde and conservative policies. War rhetoric of WB leaders is still strongly present and shapes public opinion. The situation of human rights is deteriorating, especially in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, organizations and activists are attacked. Only a small percentage of citizens participate in community initiatives aimed at solving the community's problem. We live in times where uncertainty and a production crisis have become a new norm, while nationalist and war rhetoric dominates the news headlines. The political agenda in the countries of the region is hijacked by right-wing political elites and warmongers, resulting in shrinking the public space for peacemakers and alternative discussions about peace and conflict resolution. Therefore, one of the challenges we want to address is shrinking the space for a public debate on peace and conflict resolution.  

Secondly, creating good neighbor relations, effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding policies continues to be a challenge without meaningful participation of women in the peace processes. Five peace agreements have been signed in the Western Balkans during the past two decades, however, women were dramatically underrepresented in all peace talks, including the Dayton Agreement in 1995. Women have taken on greater roles in creating links between divided communities and building peace in the Western Balkans since the end of the Yugoslav wars. Women peace activists from different backgrounds have worked to forge a path toward peace and women’s empowerment for over two decades. Throughout the process of designing and implementing women, peace and security agenda, women peace activists from the Western Balkans have supported cross-border reconciliation, overcoming the ethnic distrust and hatred that characterized the war years and the nationalist’s politics that justified ethnic cleansing. Their efforts, however, are not visible and acknowledged by political elites and in their communities. Moreover, a recent conservative backlash against gender equality now risks undermining these gains. Bearing this in mind, we would like to ensure that women’s voices on peace are heard and acknowledged. Besides, we would like to take steps to create a network of women peace activists and create a network of similar value driven organizations to FJS in the region, to ensure women’s and activistic meaningful representation and participation in formal peace negotiations and settlement of conflicts and ensure that they are high influencers in such processes and in the implementation of the resulting agreements.

Additionally, the situation with COVID 19 pandemic pointed at two important issues which the project also tends to address. One is shrinking the space of freedom and gathering during the initial phase of the pandemic, which highly proven that we live in a deeply polarized and totalitarian society, having one man as a decision maker for all relevant policies. Another one concerns the pressure on women in terms of their challenge to balance online work and family care/duties. The survey (Ipsos and UN Women, 2020) showed that Across the 18 countries, on average, women were 4% more likely than men to say they strongly agreed that their care load had increased during the pandemic. We want to point to the fact that women were again those that carry the greatest burden of the crisis situation and to allow them to reflect on it.  

Demonstrated gender awareness Peace processes represent exceptional occasions for the societies that have been affected by armed conflicts to end direct violence, but also, to act as the starting point for more profound transformative processes. In this sense, peace processes can be incomparable scenarios for the alteration of the structural causes that led to the armed conflict and for the design of policies aimed at addressing issues such as exclusion, poverty or democratization.

The Jelena Santic Foundation (FJS) launched the project “Activist Heritage – Women Stories Beyond WB Conflicts and Crisis” with the aim to tell the untold women’s stories and unveil roles of women activists in the history of peace-building process in the post-Yugoslavia. FJS particularly wants to contribute to better understanding of relations between Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina, their common history and the impact of civil movements in peace building process and reconciliation from women’s perspective.

In order to achieve aforementioned goals, the first milestone activity will be conducting a field research in Serbia and Bosna and Hercegovina that will shed the light on women’s roles in peace building and normalizations of relations between post-Yugoslav.

  1. Objective

FJS requires the services of two experienced researchers in the field of gender equality and peacebuilding from Bosnia and Hercegovina and Serbia to conduct field research and prepare a baseline research study that will amplify women’s voices and stories, in order to be equally heard and acknowledged.

  1. Tasks and Responsibilities

Two Researchers – one from Bosnia and Hercegovina and one from Serbia, will be engaged on a short-term basis during the implementation of the project to conduct the research baseline study. The researchers will be responsible for data collection and desk research on role of women activists in peacebuilding. In consultation with the project manager and the project coordinator the researchers will also be responsible for the selection of women activists for the in-depth interviews and conducting up to four interviews in each community. On the basis of the main findings from the background research and interviews, the researchers will be in charge of preparation of the study.

  1. Qualifications
  • Citizenship of or permanent residence in Serbia/Bosnia and Hercegovina;
  • Doctoral degree in social or political studies, humanities;
  • Minimum 5 years of professional experience in the field of gender and security issues;
  • Outstanding knowledge of gender equality, women’s movement and activism in former Yugoslavia, relevant international documents concerning women, peace and security;
  • Knowledge issues related to the security sector reform, reconciliation and peacebuilding initiatives in Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina;
  • Proven ability to conduct in-depth interviews and produce assessments and studies;
  • Professional fluency in Serbian/Bosnian, both written and oral;
  • Ability and willingness to work with people of different cultural, national and religious background;
  • and sensitivity, as well as the ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities;
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, analytical and organizational skills with the ability to self-motivate and to work under pressure.
  1. Deliverables

On the basis of the main findings from the background research and interviews with women activists, the researcher will be in charge of preparation of the baseline study.


STRUCTURE of the BASELINE STUDY   Length of paper: up to9.000 words in BHS.   Questions for research: Below is a guiding list of questions that the author(s) will try answer in the study.   I INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND (up to 1000 words): This section will provide a clear and concise introduction to the contents of the paper.  It will concisely introduce the reader to key FINDINGS of the paper and respond explicitly to the main research question:What are the key roles of women in peacebuilding?What implications can this have for improving peace processes?It should present context and key issues or debates that have framed women’s participation in peace building, reconciliation and normalization of relations in the country. In addition, this section will indicate the methodology, scope and limitations of the analysis conducted.   II WOMEN’S ROLE IN PEACEBUILDING AND NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA AND BOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINA (up to 3000 words)   This section should provide an overview of the women’s roles and initiatives linked to peace building and normalization of mutual relations (triggers, participants, process of development and implementation) and a streamlined analysis of the concept of peace and security that women promote through it.It should also identify key agents of change, including achievements and challenges regarding women’s involvement in peace building and normalization of mutual relations. It should also address the key issues that relevant institutions find most beneficial in the future women’s engagement, and the challenges they envision.   Guiding questions for research:   What has been women’s involvement in peace movement and peacebuilding processes in Yugoslavia?What implications can this have for improving peace processes?What are the gender issues that remained under-addressed in the current political agenda?Was their contribution to reconciliation and peacebuilding visible and valued by society and the political elite, and included in formal peace processes?Have women formally or informally participated in the process of reconciliation or normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina?How to include more women in the formal peace processes?What is a women’s perspective of reconciliation/peacebuilding/normalization of relations?Can women change the mainstream political discourse and existing peace and security paradigm?   III WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE IN PEACEBUILDING (up to 3000 words)   The third section aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the roles played by women in peace processes. This section should provide a qualitative input from the interviews with up to six in total women activists from Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina from different professional, activist and generational background.   Questions for research:     IV CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS (up to 1500 words) The conclusions section shall point, in a concise manner, to the main findings of the country chapter and present a few recommendations that will target the findings identified.   V SOURCES (up to 500 words)   The baseline study will be based upon: Secondary sources (such as scholarly books and articles, newspaper articles, reports, analysis, studies done by other civil society organizations etc.) Primary sources (individual interviews and original documents, such as laws, government policy report, papers etc). Findings will be also verified in interviews with women and their organizations.  
  1. Deliverable Deadlines (proposed dates, subject to change)

The whole research should be conducted in the period April 2021 – August 2021:

  • Data collection and desk research on role of women activists in peacebuilding (end of April 2021);
  • Conducting up to four interviews with women activists for in each community (end of May 2021);
  • Writing of the first version of the baseline study (end of July 2021);
  • Final version of the study should be submitted by the end of August 2021.
  1. Fees and mode of payment

Payment will be made as follows:

  • 50% after signing the contract (following the availability of the finance officer)
  • 50% on completing and submitting the baseline study.


NOTE!! There is no standard format for the proposal.

All applications should be submitted by e-mail to the following contact:

CURE Foundation

Stela Kovačević


phone: +387 33 207 561

Sarajevo, March 30th 2021.

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