As the Mercy Corps Bosnia and Herzegovina office closes today after 17 years, our feelings are mixed, of course. Sadness and nostalgia from one side, and pride and satisfaction on the other. Those latter feelings are much more intensive and important, because of everything we've done here over the last 17 years — because of the following. Today, we feel pride and satisfaction, because:
During the 17 years of working as a team, we all gave a significant and very recognizable contribution to the post-war recovery of this country through collective centers; reconstruction and maintenance of thousands of houses for refugees; rehabilitation of necessary infrastructure such as schools, health clinics, electrical grids and water supply systems; building a spirit of reconciliation and understanding between war returnees and local populations; and economic recovery for individuals and communities.
We were, through our work, recognizable and distinguished by all the actors: beneficiaries, local authorities, donors, international agencies and institutions, and a wide variety of partners. We built an organization that is truly devoted to its goals and which, through the highest standards of its professional work, helps individuals and communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the most effective manner.
During this entire time, we established high standards of team work and interaction in-country as well as in relation to the global Mercy Corps team. Many of our colleagues have gone on to other jobs around the world, taking a little bit of us with them.
We had a strength, willingness and desire to fight for our team's opinions, attitudes and vision, even when we were not understood.
We managed to — through all this period and having implemented dozens of projects — remain spotless, with only successful projects, with only satisfied clients, donors and of course headquarters colleagues.
We quickly gained the full trust of the global Mercy Corps team and, as a result, have worked strictly as a team comprised of local and national staff members that were able to achieve great results.
That trust has resulted in our team forming its own, local non-governmental organization — the Center for Development and Support. We realize that the time has come for our team to use its knowledge and vision in new ways. We will capitalize on the years of learning and collaboration to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path to membership in the European Union through responsible development, sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Even though our office is closing — a decision that was reached by all of us — we have many friends throughout Mercy Corps, the organization that helped us begin this great work. We will stay in touch with Mercy Corps and therefore remain part of the family.
Here at the end, I need to thank all of you at Mercy Corps — you've worked with us, you've supported us and you've believed in us. You've made it possible for this great story to happen.
That is the strength and legacy of Mercy Corps. And it will remain in our hearts forever. All the best!