Western Balkans

IOCC opened its Belgrade office in 1992 at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church; field offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina (opened in 1996) and Montenegro (opened in 1998) have supported response after Yugoslavia's dissolution and beyond. IOCC has helped millions across the region rebuild livelihoods and face natural and human-caused disasters.

Committed to Long-Term Growth

IOCC opened its Belgrade office in 1992 at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church; field offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996) and Montenegro (1998) have supported response after Yugoslavia’s dissolution and beyond. IOCC has helped millions across the region rebuild livelihoods and face natural and human-caused disasters.

Fostering Opportunity with Microloans

IOCC’s microloan program in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in 2002 and remains active. With a repayment rate of over 99%, loans to artisans and small businesses in agriculture, trade, and manufacturing grow family incomes and promote job creation in rural, underdeveloped areas.

In Kosovo and Metohija, IOCC helped revitalize vineyards and expand a winery owned by the Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren, creating a market for local grape growers. Current initiatives include constructing facilities, equipping new grain mills and an animal- feed-production line, plus technical advice to the Church and local farmers on modern agriculture techniques and production planning.

IOCC helped the people of Central and Western Serbia and Republic of Srpska recover after historic flooding in 2014 by providing emergency items, drinking water, and furniture, as well as by rebuilding and repairing local schools. In the flood-prone area of Kraljevo, Serbia, IOCC ran a disaster-risk-reduction program and offered assistance and training in emergency preparedness to over 3,000 people who live there.

Working with the Serbian Orthodox Church, the local Red Cross, and others, IOCC has provided emergency relief, including hygiene kits, school kits, shoes, and bedding to internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants from the Middle East, and local residents in need. IOCC also built new facilities and repaired existing shelters to improve living conditions.

As many displaced families returned to Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1998 on, IOCC helped foster economic development. IOCC also rebuilt hundreds of homes and repaired five schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, rebuilt and equipped two soup kitchens run by the Orthodox Church in Montenegro, and provided computers, lab equipment, and sports halls to village schools in Kosovo and Metohija. Insulation and building materials helped winterize homes for 500 families.

Your Gifts at Work

A Little Goes a Long Way

Before the breakup of Yugoslavia, Dragan (now 50) managed a hotel in Derventa, Bosnia and Herzegovina—a natural fit for his training in catering. But conflict changes everything, and it turned his family’s life upside-down.

Unemployment was Dragan’s biggest challenge once the conflict ended, and for years he worked short-term jobs while also farming to feed his family. Diligence paid off, and Dragan saved up money.

A small loan through IOCC’s microcredit program, plus Dragan’s savings, gave him the chance he’d been looking for: in 2014, he leased a café. Dragan now has a booming business of his own and three employees.

“With the help of IOCC’s loan, I was able to start a business, renovate the building, and buy a vehicle for deliveries,” Dragan said. He has big plans for the future, too. Now he aims to hire two more workers and add house-made pizza to the menu—expanding his business into a café-pizzeria.

IOCC’s microcredit program in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been running since 2002, giving over 11,000 families a chance to make their entrepreneurial goals reality, step by step.

Microcredit by the numbers:

  • Over $25 million in microloans disbursed
  • 16,000 microloans issued
  • More than 11,000 people helped
  • At least 2,300 jobs created
  • 99.1% repayment rate

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