The Center for Development and Support (CRP) is a one of the leading organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Recognised for its creative and dedicated approach, CRP is a prime example of the significant role that civil society organisations can play in the green transition.

Established in 2005 by a team of professionals formerly associated with Mercy Corps, it aimed to continue the momentum of economic and environmental development initiatives in the post-humanitarian aid era in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The founding team, well-known for their collective expertise in economic development, human rights, and environmental protection, wanted to work differently.. “From the beginning, our goal was clear—to transition from international aid to sustainable, local initiatives that address our unique challenges,” recalls Edin Zahirović, CRP Director and founder.

As CRP evolved, it became evident that its most profound impact and expertise were in environmental protection, specifically in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

This focus not only aligned with global sustainability goals but also addressed the immediate needs and potentials within Bosnia and Herzegovina. CRP’s dedication to this cause has led to the implementation of numerous projects, each contributing to the broader mission of environmental protection and sustainable development.

The Smart Schools Initiative: A Beacon of Success

One of CRP’s hallmark projects is the Smart Schools initiative. This project, co-financed by the European Union’s ERDF and IPA II cross-border funds under the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro 2014-2020, was realised in partnership with the government of Tuzla Canton and Brod-Posavina County, Republic of Croatia focused on renovating schools to improve energy efficiency.

The initiative’s success is measurable in terms of both energy savings and educational impact. With the installation of 19 biomass boilers and 26 photovoltaic plants, the project has significantly cut energy costs while introducing sustainable energy practices to school communities. “We have achieved remarkable energy savings, generatinaround 557,006 kWh/year; over its lifespan, it is expected to save approximately 13,925,150 kWh,” explains Amir Zahirović, CRP.

Through meticulous planning, strategic investment, and community engagement, CRP transformed educational facilities, directly impacting students, teachers, and the broader community.

The project’s reach extended beyond immediate energy savings, fostering an environment of learning and awareness about green technologies among students and staff. The feedback from the initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, with improvements noted in indoor comfort levels during winter, a decrease in the need for additional heating, and overall satisfaction among the educational community.

Looking forward, CRP is determined to replicate the success of the Smart Schools initiative, including in universities and other public infrastructure. “The future holds more challenges, but with our foundation of successful models like Smart Schools, we are optimistic about scaling our impact,” says Edin Zahirović, CRP Director.

While the Smart Schools initiative is a flagship project, it is only one side of CRP’s efforts. The organisation’s projects span across various sectors, showcasing a holistic approach to sustainable development.

A key to CRP’s success has been its ability to provide expert technical assistance to various levels of government. By preparing strategic documents, action plans, and development strategies, CRP has played a pivotal role in shaping Bosnia and Herzegovina’s approach to energy efficiency and environmental protection. This collaboration extended to the creation of ENKON DOO, a company focused on energy and economic consulting, further exemplifying CRP’s commitment to social entrepreneurship and sustainable economic models.

Edin and Amir, key figures at CRP, offer deep insights into the organisation’s strategic approaches and achievements.

Edin speaks about the intricacy of their work with the government, noting the importance of building trust and demonstrating the tangible benefits of their projects. “Working with various levels of government, we’ve managed to break down the barriers that often exist between public authorities and civil organisations,” Edin reflects.Our projects, especially the Smart Schools initiative, have shown that significant impact can be made towards sustainability and energy efficiency through collaboration, dedication, and a focus on clear, achievable goals.”

On the other hand, Amir emphasises the significance of personal connections and the network CRP has cultivated over the years. “The strength of our organisation lies not just in the projects we execute but in the relationships we’ve built,” Amir explains. “Our EFEKT network of experts, associates, and partners is central to our ability to respond effectively to environmental needs. This and our proactive approach to creating and participating in multi-functional investments have been key to our success.”

As CRP looks to the future, its alignment with the EU Green Deal and the Sofia Declaration underscores its role in driving the green transition in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the broader Balkan region. Through projects like the Smart Schools initiative and partnerships with Universities to develop energy transition centres, CRP aims to continue to lead by example, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of sustainable practices.

As Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region strive towards green transition, CRP’s story serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the impact that dedicated individuals and organisations can achieve. Their success story has shown that civil society organisations can be central players by bridging gaps between the government, the private sector, and the community. Through its impactful projects, strategic partnerships, and network of dedicated professionals, CRP is not only contributing to a greener future for Bosnia and Herzegovina but also inspiring others to take action toward a “greener” world.