Committed effort and work are the key to any success. And the key to the success of the first woman of the Municipality of Jezero, Head of Snezana Ruzicic, is the discovery of the potential and time invested in the development of municipality of Jezero.
TST: For many you are the Mayor for example. Does that mean that women are better leaders than men?
RUŽIČIĆ: First of all, thank you for that opinion, it is very nice to hear that. I do not think that women are better leaders than men. I would say that the best teams are those teams that include both men and women, and also young and experienced people, which is something that I often say. The diversity of team is actually a guarantee of success. However, I believe that women are more sensible and they are more inclined to listen citizens because of their roles of mother, so maybe only that could be listed as an advantage of female leaders. Women as leaders probably has more sensible approach to problem solving and they are more transparent. The approval of it is that in the municipality of Jezero first web site was created in the 2017, after I became the Mayor. The site helped us to inform citizens about all the activities and thus invite them to join them. On the site we publish all the public invitations, results, activities and other important news, and everybody has the access to the site. People often tell me that I spoiled my citizens, but I believe it is because of that female approach.
In the previous two years, there have been held many important events and meetings in the municipality of Jezero. The municipality was visited by the President of Republika Srpska, Prime Minister of Republika Srpska and the majority of the ministers from the Government of Republika Srpska. Also, ambassadors and representatives of a great number of embassies visited Jezero. Such visits had not been practice before, and I believe that they are important because they widen the network of our contacts and thus provide opportunities for more projects.
TST: Which are the most significant projects that were implemented in the municipality of Jezero?
RUŽIČIĆ: The most significant projects that were implemented in the municipality of Jezero were definitely infrastructural projects. Currently, the building of the school sports hall is in the finishing phase. The value of the project is 200,000.00 €, donated by the Government of Republic of Serbia through the Government of Republika Srpska and we are very thankful for that. Also, infrastructure of the roads is very important and its value in the previous two years is 450,000.00 KM. Besides, we are working on the first phase of building a bridge on the river Pliva, a project worth 600,000.00 KM. Those infrastructural projects are very large and important, especially because the budget of the municipality is small, 640,000.00 KM. With the help of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria, we have realized a project which included reconstruction of school sports playground, building of one sports field and one playground for children.
Besides, the projects that makes me very happy and proud are those implemented by the young people of the municipality through the Foundation Mozaik. Namely, they have realized six projects which shows that young people can do good things for their community, because they had not shown their activism in the previous twenty years of the municipality’s existence. In the previous two years, I employ trainees, that is all young people who have graduated. It was those trainees who gave the strength to these projects. Among important projects, I would also list those in the field of culture, certain festivals which in a way supported life of the citizens. Some of them are “Baby Conference”, “Promotional and Touristic Days of Jezero”, folklore concerts, three plays performed by famous actors for Belgrade theatre. All of them were established and held in the previous two years and we found donors for almost each of them. One of the significant traditional projects is also “Epiphany Swimming for Holy Cross” that has been organized three years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019). All the projects were supported by the Government of Republic of Srpska and its institutions, especially the infrastructural ones, which is very important to us.
We are glad that Jezero, probably for the first time, shows that it is not on the margins of the society and that in coordination with the government we are making better life conditions in the area of the municipality of Jezero.
TST: What are the tourist potentials that can lead to the development and improvement of the situation in that municipality?
RUŽIČIĆ: One of the greatest tourist potentials is definitely “village tourism”, which we should further work on to improve it and to build some more accommodation units, promenades, and bike lanes. We already have hiking trailsthat are marked and paragliding services, but we would like to establish the association of paragliders as well as the association of scuba divers. All of that would be a part of the tourist package. But, what I often emphasize is that the nearby municipalities should be united in a tourist package and that united approach would be a good idea. The tourist potential that could lead to the development and improvement of the situation in our municipality would definitely be reviving of the narrow-gauge railway which would be panoramic. If we would get a certain project by the International organization to put the railway connecting Jajce, Jezero, and Šipovo back into use that would be a wonderful tourist story. Recently the Embassy of the USA in the Bosnia and Hercegovina had contacted us and we have started the realization of some ecological projects, and ecology is a precondition for tourism development. In the following period, we plan to ecologically educate citizens. One thing that the students ofthe Faculty of Architecture and Construction and Geodesy in Banja Luka recognizedas an interesting and possible idea is building a “film city” in Jezero. Namely, in the center of Jezero there is an unusual and interesting river island and in the past the people used a specific type of boats hewn from one trunk to get on the island. Reviving of such boats and using them for panoramic tours would be significant. As a very ambitious person, I see a strong tourist potential in a fact that on November 20, 2018, a crater on Mars was named after Jezero, which can be found on the NASA’s official web site. In 2020, NASA is sending a robot to explore that crater and I believe that, if we could create a replica of that robot in Jezero, it would be interesting for tourists. The main potential I see in the cooperation between the three municipalities located on the river Pliva, which are Šipovo, Jezero and Jajce. There is a traditional festival of bicycle riding called “Biciklijada” that has been held for ten years and organized by the mentioned municipalities.
In the following period, we will also work on organizing the half-marathon.I have a lot of ideas about the tourist projects that might be realized in Jezero, but we have to take step by step. The citizens have to participate in these activities, the accommodation units should be built and then we could start with realization of other ideas. I would like to repeat that the ecology and environment protection have to work for tourism, that is only if the river Pliva and environment are clean and if there are organized landfill sites, the tourism can flourish. However, tourism is very demanding branch which requests long time period of activism and education and work on economy, because the economy development attracts investorswhich further improves the budget of the municipality and provides opportunity for development of other branches.
In October, 2017, the movie about Jezero was shot. It is named “Nepoznato, a naše” (“Unknown, but ours”). The movie got amazing critics, the award for the best ecological movie on the festival “Vrmdža fest 2018”, and also a special award of the jury of the international Short Tourist and Ecological Film Festival “SILA-FEST 2018”. It was produced by RTRS as a part of the bigger serial, and shows touristic potentials and natural beauties of the municipality. The movie is available on YouTube and can be seen on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np16yl3Y87E
TST: What exactly does Jezero Municipality take to open to young people and create conditions for their ful engagement, and to stop the migration of young people?
RUŽIČIĆ: Since I had become the Mayor, I have opened the municipality to young people in a way that we employ trainees, provide many public calls for young people through which they can participate in projects and realize their ideas, invite them to give their contribution to all festivals in the area of the municipality and I always encourage them not to give up on themselves and their community. I believe that we should give them advantage. Since I am working on improving the municipality’s budget, I hope that I will have the opportunity to employ all the young people in the area of Jezero municipality. In the following period, with the help of the Government of Republic of Srpska, we will work on buying the industrial zone from the “Dušanić” company. In that way, we would attract investors and provide employment for many people. I would like to emphasize that since I became the Mayor, I managed to pay for some delayed scholarships. We are now paying them regularly, and in the last two years we have provided additional scholarships funded by the Federal Ministryof Displaced Persons and Refugees. As I have already mentioned, through the foundation Mozaik we invite young people to participate in different projects. We have also invited young people to unite and join the Youth Council of Republic of Srpska which offers many educative programs. The doors of the municipality are always wide open for all young people for practice, trainee program or any kind of services.
More information about the municipality of Jezero can be found on the web site https://www.opstinajezero.org/. I often say that here, in Jezero, the day lasts longer, so I invite all of your readers to come and visit Jezero.
Author: Danka Savić