Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

Action for Transformation Initiative

Verbalizing a problem and advocating for a solution are first steps that lead to a transformation so that people are motivated to associate and reload their energy for democracy.


Who is behind this?

Milen Gechovski

Zakrilnitzi Association (Protectors Association)


Who is joining forces?

Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law



Idea pitch

It’s difficult to teach adults the culture of participation when they are immersed in everyday problems. It’s naïve to rely on the thinking that such a culture will grow in children on its own when there is no profound civic education at school. In such context the only tool to shape the environment is to act bravely dreaming for the TRANSFORMATION. Acting together will provoke members of different communities living in one place to meet, talk and act for our own benefit, for our own future.

Where will your project idea take place?

Montana, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In Montana there is a lack of knowledge and understanding how citizens could participate in more attractive and inclusive way in the decision-making and contribute for the positive transformation in their communities. The civic education is not developed and young people lack knowledge and skills to be active citizens. The pessimistic attitude among different community groups is a challenge which could be overcome only by constant and innovative forms of dialogue and activism which provoke common understanding and solidarity for action. The initiative will provide space for various instruments for civic participation in practice and will show that even in poor and underdeveloped areas interesting ideas could involve more people to stand together and lead the change.

Who are you doing it for?

I am doing it for those who bring the future – the children, the young people in the region and their families. The specific activities within the Action for Transformation Initiative will be designed with respect to their needs and interests. The young people are those who have the believe that the future depends on them. Through the project they will learn how can actively participate in the community life – through volunteering for civic causes, developing creative local projects, meeting and discussing local problems, advocating for solutions and action before the authorities. We aim to provide them with civic educational practice and know-how. The second group – families with children are those who have chosen to raise their children in a small town and need a perspective.

How do you plan to get there?

The design thinking group will act as a local task force that will involve various community groups to be active within the implementation phase of the project- an open public event that will serve as a space for various stakeholders to meet and discuss community life. The public event will combine several types of activities:
-an event where SEs present themselves among the local community (a Bazaar) - a facility is going to be provided for them as part of the event hosting.
-there is going to be an open call among young people and children for ideas for art installations representing civic education and civil participation. One of the conditions will be the idea to transform somehow any public environment (example: the old metal gray electric transformers in the town to be painted). Through online voting the best are going to be created during the public event.
-The community talks on civic education and civil participation led by CSOs with schools, young people are going to be invited to join the community talks without knowing that representatives of the local municipality
-The public discussion with local authorities will be focused on How to better the civic education and civil participation on local level. The aim of the discussion is going to be to have concrete commitments made by the municipality.
- a concert of local bands and musicians as an end of the event.

What are the expected results?

All groups involved in the Action for Transformation Initiative will be one step closer to the activism, participation and understanding of the community diversity. All of them are going to know better which CSOs are actively working on local level and how could they support them; what is the strength of art – to gather and provoke people; how could jointly talk and think on solutions not only on problems; and that together we could do better. A success would be that on local level they know what civic education and civil participation mean and how they work in practice. The target groups will be equipped with specific knowledge but also – with skills that could be used further on within the community life in Montana.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The most economically distressed communities are the least likely is to invest resources to address participation and activism. Learning-by-doing and showing immediate results is the only method which can strengthen active citizenship on local level. Each of the activities is focused on people understanding that together they could create ideas and participate in transformation of the community life. For the young people the initiative is going to be their practice in civic education and so their skills will last longer. The families with children will get the hope that joint and positive events which combine different community participants are possible and could lead to a positive transformation for the future of the Montana town.

Why is this idea important to you?

Milen Gechovski, local coordinator, is actively advocating for a better civic participation. He is participating in public discussions in the social sphere and civic participation in decision-making. Maria Gechovska,local coordinator assistant is responsible for the coordination of our social services and supports the organization of all our initiatives on local level and is keen on developing new ideas and forms of community meetings with the participation of people with disabilities and young people. Anna Adamova, design thinking event developer, BCNL, has experience in developing different advocacy campaigns online and offline. Aylin Yumerova, BCNL, coordinates activities forsocially engaged art and is constantly communicating with different CSOs and social enterprises from the country.

€ 28000,-

Total budget

€ 28000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Partners’ Personnel costs – 14 000 EUR

Travel and accommodation – 2500 EUR

Local meetings expenses – 500 EUR

Design branding and promotion – 3000 EUR

Production – 2000 EUR

Facilities and equipment – 6000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We’d like to hear any ideas and advice on the public discussion with the local authorities – how to make it more interactive, provoking interest of the auditory, how to combine offline and online discussion (any suggestions for specific digital tools we could use during the discussion).


Zakrilnitzi Association

Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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