Speeches Shim



USAID/OTI’s Croatia program was initiated in July 1997 with the understanding that progressive change in Bosnia and Herzegovina was partly contingent on the intentions of its powerful neighbors. USAID/OTI's efforts in Croatia were viewed as elements of a regional peacebuilding and democratization program.


In support of the Dayton Peace Agreement, USAID/OTI’s primary objective in Croatia was to identify key partners in Croatian society who would help to build democracy. To achieve this objective, USAID/OTI programs aimed to:

  • Increase public access to complete, objective and accurate information, fundamental to an informed and engaged citizenry;
  • Promote and support greater popular participation in public policy decision making and social debate on critical social, economic and political issues;
  • Improve the transparency and accountability of government and public institutions;
  • Contribute to the return and reintegration of displaced persons and refugees; and
  • Foster post-conflict reconciliation.


  • Ahead of Croatia’s parliamentary elections in 2000, USAID/OTI worked closely with GONG, a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1996 specifically to monitor elections and educate voters. Over the course of 1999, GONG planned an election monitoring campaign that fielded more than 5,000 trained monitors for each of three elections. The total number of volunteers was unprecedented in Croatia. GONG's success led the government to request that it become a permanent part of the electoral process in Croatia.
  • USAID/OTI worked closely with a nonpartisan NGO coalition, GLAS '99 (Vote '99), to develop a get-out-the-vote campaign. The campaign was bolstered by other USAID/OTI-funded activities, including "Week Report," a weekly radio show, and a weekly political magazine “5 to 12” that established close ties with the GONG and GLAS '99 campaigns. The get-out-the-vote campaign resulted in the highest turnout since the 1990 vote for independence, with estimates ranging from 73 percent to 78 percent of the eligible voters participating. In addition to ushering in an opposition government for the first time in 10 years, the election brought new prominence to the role of civil society in a democratic system.



Related Sectors of Work