About us

Hilfswerk International (HWI) is one of Austria's leading organisations for development cooperation and humanitarian aid worldwide.

It provides assistance to people in need and participates in the fight against poverty and hunger; it provides emergency aid and helps with reconstruction in the wake of wars and natural disasters. Particular attention is paid to helping children in need and their families as well as to providing support to women. It finances its projects through national and international project funding for development cooperation and disaster relief as well as through private donations and sponsoring.

Our values - what is important to us

Respect - We respect the culture, history, structures, traditions and customs of the communities and countries we are active in. We provide help for all people regardless of their heritage, gender, religion, or other differences.

Competent relief that gets there - We guarantee high standards of professionalism with the measures we carry out, competent project management, and efficient operation.

Motivated and responsible employees - Motivated employees in Austria and on the country/project levels are the key to HWI success.

Our objectives - what we want to achieve:

  • To promote social, economic, democratic, and ecological development
  • To provide help so others can help themselves in the long-term
  • Economic development as a basic prerequisite for the lasting reduction of poverty and an essential foundation for sustainable development

HWI programme is orientated towards:

  • Disaster relief after wars and natural disasters
  • Reconstruction and rehabilitation
  • Long-term development assistance

Countries of intervention

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HWI has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. HWI is a part of Hilfswerk Austria, which employs more than 9.800 people and has overall yearly turnover of over €250 million. HWI started its operations in Eastern Europe (mainly in the Balkans) has since then expanded to over 30 countries across four continents. Today, it is active in Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia, Nicaragua, Haiti, etc.), Africa (Senegal, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Libya, Tunisia, etc.), Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania, etc.) and Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, etc.).


25+ years of successfull HWI assistance to people in need in BiH

Hilfswerk International BiH

The Hilfswerk International (HWI) Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first established international mission of the Austrian HWA, that has been successfully and uninterruptedly providing support and relief in the country since 1996, after the first distributed humanitarian aid in 1994 in Sarajevo. In the following period of 25+ years, HWI has been providing help and expertise in BiH through sustainable support to refugees and internally displaced persons in housing, livelihood, social and technical infrastructure, minority reintegration, reconciliation and peacebuilding in the post-conflict period, as well as in job creation, agriculture, socio-economic development, support to small enterprises, social housing, social inclusion of minorities (Roma) and disabled persons, human rights and local capacity building.

HWI in BiH applies professional procedures, policies, strategies, and documents, ensuring transparency and high-quality services to those in need that have been replicated in all other HWI missions around the world.

HWI has strong and respectable references in BiH with various donors: Austrian government (ADA, BMI), European Union (EU) / European Commission (EC), the US Government (BPRM), UNHCR, the Dutch government, other Austrian donors, BiH government of all levels, in the management and implementation of 114 projects valued more than €81 million.

HWI BiH impact (1996 – 2021)

  • Around 19,000 persons have been directly helped by HWI BiH since 1996.
  • Secured income for 7,900 families through socio-economic support measures including sustainability grants. These persons mostly belong to vulnerable populations such as minorities, Roma, and displaced persons.
  • More than 5,300 apartment units have been reconstructed or built, along with 32 apartment buildings that were built according to the model of social housing, helping 278 families to have a home
  • Around 100 new jobs have been created.
  • A large number of educational programs, trainings, workshops, and prequalifications have been organized and held.
  • The local organisation Association for Help and Development „HAJDE“ was founded in 2009
  • 2 day centres for children with special needs were built.
  • Technical and social infrastructure – including homes for older persons, electrification, roadways, water supply, bridges, schools, daycares, veterinary offices – was restored, reconstructed or built
  • More than 600 persons and 16 institutions were directly involved and affected with the Action against ageism, and over 250.000indirectly through supported inclusion of elderly and their access to services in BiH, improved human rights and assessed mediaportraying and social treatment of elderly in BiH
  • Organized sustainable home care for elderly and estabalished Social Protection Institution “Hilfswerk House of support” as a service provider, based on Austrian model
  • Emergency support during COVID-19 in the form of packages with food and hygiene products, for more than 400 people, as well as other COVID-19 measures.

Since the beginning of its engagement in BiH, HWI has diversified activities in the country towards poverty reduction, socio-economic development, strengthening civil society role in human rights promotions, and support to the most vulnerable groups in reconciliation, reintegration, and social integration, thus contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fulfilment.

For all this time, the simple human happiness, which is the result of HWA work on provision of sustainable living solutions and development in the country, is the main guide and meaning of our work.

Lejla Hadžimešić
Lejla Hadžimešić Regional Director Balkans Mis Irbina 10, 71000 Sarajevo +387 33 525 369 hadzimesicl@hwi.ba
Stefan Fritz
Stefan Fritz Managing Director (HWI) Grünbergstraße 15/2/5, 1120 Wien +43 1 4057 500-111 stefan.fritz@hilfswerk-international.at