Geographically the Capacity Building program is going locally in 4 countries and concentrating on regions in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania. Within the countries, it focuses on regions with poor ”civic infrastructure”, where citizens’ participation is low. Poor civic infrastructure is characterized by the need of community spaces and by civil society actors lacking capacities to make the change they strive for. ”Civic literacy”, the understanding that citizens are active members of their communities and can contribute to positive change, is very low or missing in these regions. Usually such areas, so-called “civic deserts”, are outside of and far from capitals and urban centers and even the physical infrastructure there is poor.
The program is co-developed and implemented with one partner in each country region. Partners will be identified as part of a context mapping process.
In Bulgaria the Capacity Building Program was launched in July 2019. It is implemented by Sofia Platform. The focus is on developing the competences of those who care for their local communities and aim for a change, but need support in order to achieve that.
Capacity Building Modules
The Bulgarian Capacity building (CB) program is a pilot based on a preliminary mapping phase of needs of the civic sector outside big cities. It was kicked off in a milestone year for Bulgarian education and civil society – in 2020 civic education is being introduced as a separate subject in Bulgarian high schools. The Bulgarian part of the CB program differs from the ones launched in Hungary, Poland and Romania – while they aim to develop the capacities of teams of local organizations, the Bulgarian one puts individuals under the spotlight.
Two cohorts of participants of various backgrounds will take part in the training program in Bulgaria held by Sofia Platform. After the training is completed, the participants will be able to apply for a small grant from Sofia Platform in order to realize their local projects. Each participant will receive the support of a mentor who will guide them for 6 months throughout the carrying out of their project. The same process will be followed by the second cohort later in 2020. All projects will be completed by mid 2021. (maybe we can link the first story somewhere here)
To help participants, as well as all citizens involved in civic education, Sofia Platform is invested in building an online platform for civic education and civic engagement in Bulgarian. This online platform will respond to a demand by the formal educational sector, created by the first-time introduction of civic education as subject. This demand has different forms and shapes, ranging from needs for teacher trainings to students’ project work with non-formal means. The platform is expected to go online later in 2020.
Civic Health Index
A civic health index will be developed and run as a one-off pilot in Bulgaria. Its aim is to measure the civic health of a community in order to identify the variety of measures that need to be taken to improve the civic cohesion. 2020 is a milestone for Bulgarian civil society, but in order for civic education to meet everyone’s high expectations, the whole of society and above all teachers should have confidence in its ability to change attitudes. The civic health index will thus study the correlation and possibly causality between different forms of civic education and civic engagement (political and civic participation and activity).