Jul 6, 2017, 1:22 PM | Reports

In 2001, Community Building Mitrovica was initiated by PAX, and since has been in close partnership with the founding organization. During 2016, in Mitrovica, CBM and PAX helped civil society to affect local policies by raising their voices and demanding to be part of the decision-making process.

Click the following link, and find the annual report that covers the work of PAX in 2016, and its 87 partners and allies in 14 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, including Community Building Mitrovica, and the personal story of CBM’s representative Milivoje Raicevic, which you can also check it unfolded below:




‘It was November 2012, and the first time since 1999 that I was going to cross the main bridge again from North Mitrovica, where I live, to South Mitrovica. Ever since the war, this bridge has been a symbol of division rather than connection. I had applied for a position as programme officer with Community Building Mitrovica (CBM). Its office is in South Mitrovica. I was excited, but a bit scared. I asked my friend who was already working with CBM whether it was safe to cross to the other side. He said not to worry, but I still felt anxious.

The images from the war had remained vivid in my mind: the bombings and shootings that took place on the bridge, people from the North and South attacking each other. The fact that those images were still haunting me shows how divided our city still is. People from either side, who haven’t had a chance or reason to cross the bridge, fear they will be killed if crossing it, simply because they are Serbs – or Albanians. The day my interview was scheduled I crossed Mitrovica Bridge with my heart racing. But once I was in the South, I found people just passed me by without noticing. People were walking the streets, enjoying the sun, chatting to each other. I was surprised and relieved.

Life on the other side looked the same – marked by the same daily struggles of regular people who lack so much, socially, economically, culturally... Already during the interview, I knew I was in the right place. These were people who really longed to see change and who were committed to improve the daily lives of citizens regardless of their ethnic background. I feel lucky to have been part of the cooperation between PAX and CBM since that day.

Both PAX and CBM want to hear everybody, all parties involved, all sides of the story. Their common approach is their secret for success. Not that success always comes easy. We have encountered many challenges, made worse by the divisive political situation. But that is exactly why we want to work with all groups, to remind them that there are still people who are not painted by the contentious colours of politics.

In 2015, CBM and PAX began developing a unique new partnership with UN-Habitat. With support from Sweden, the programme was launched in late 2016.It continues our efforts to build the capacity of civil society in the Mitrovica region, but situates that work within a broader programme of support to strengthen the planning capabilities of northern municipalities, their responsiveness to citizens, and their ability to cooperate with each other and the authorities in Pristina.

Although there are days when I feel we are running around in circles, I strongly believe in the importance of our work. Wounds are still fresh and I cannot make everyone love each other, but I can see that we are helping to normalise relationships between the two opposing sides of our city. We are showing people that they can raise their voices, that they can demand the changes they long for. We all believe in our impact on the community and the small, everyday steps towards reconciliation.’