Updated: 17-Jul-2002 Week of 1-7 July 2002

1 July 2002

Small field, big idea

Security and stability come in many shapes. For Buci, a small community of about 800 people in central Bosnia, what was missing was a safe place for children to play sports. Courtesy of combat engineers from the Portuguese SFOR contingent, a brand new sports field is ready since the beginning of July.

The director of the local school, Selim Ferhatovic, explains that drugs and alcohol are a problem in the community, mainly because youth has nothing else to do. He hopes that access to the sports facilities will help bring a change. "One more time we would like to say thanks to these good people because they are the only ones who did something after they heard our story and helped with contributions."

Building ties

Captain Luis Costa, civil affairs officer, Portuguese Battalion, explains how such initiatives help to build ties between SFOR and the local community and are pertinent to the wider mission. "We try to develop small projects like this and deliver some aid - some food and things to the city," he said. SFOR - numbering about 18,000 troops from NATO, Partner and other non-NATO countries - is tasked with providing a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Developing good relations with local communities is part of the task of civil-military cooperation (CIVIC) teams within the various SFOR units. Past projects from other contingents have included supplying materials to schools, rebuilding infrastructure and aid to displaced persons.

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