new grant from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will make the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) the largest United Nations' implementing partner in Bosnia.
The $15 million project -- UMCOR's largest to date -- covers local production of "self-help shelter reconstruction materials" and provides for monitoring and maintenance of collective centers. Additional funding of another $15 million is possible at a later date, UMCOR officials said.
According to Dirk Van Gorp, UMCOR's project director in the former Yugoslavia, the establishment of new offices in Tuzla, Medjugorje and Bihac and hiring of additional staff began in February. Work on the project will start this month.
Goals of the new UNHCR project include having refugees help reconstruct homes; procuring materials locally to promote self-reliance and the Bosnian economy, and monitoring and repairing refugee centers, where displaced citizens currently are housed.
For nearly three years, UMCOR has provided shelter, collective center management, facility reconstruction and other services in the former Yugoslavia, working with UNHCR and various U.S. government agencies, such as the Agency for International Development and the Department of State Refugee Programs.
March 4, 1996