Civic engagement in Bulgaria is low,people feel disconnected from their communities.Our goal is to inspire people to play an active role in their environment and to provide them with tools to have their “voice” heard in decision-making processes.Through an online platform and establishing local initiative groups we will open a two-way communication between municipalities,citizens and organizations allowing them to discuss community issues,co-create solutions and work together to solve them.
Tervel and Beloslav municipalities, North East Bulgaria
Bulgaria has still a long way to go to earn the trust of the people and involve them actively in political and community life.People feel disengaged,”forgotten” (by the state),powerless(consider just 42% activity in the last elections and 7% volunteers nationwide)
People don’t have a “voice”,opportunities to participate in decision-making on a local level are very low.At the same time we seem to have lost our spirit of belonging to the community that drives us to contribute to its development,always waiting for someone else to fix things.
These problems are valid on a national level but especially noticeable in smaller communities where there are few NGOs,division between ethnic groups is more tangible and people are facing economic difficulties such as the NEast region.
Our goal is to empower people to build their awareness,to raise their voice,to come together to change their environment.Change is a process that should slowly progress from the bottom up.Stirring people to think,act and care,starting with small steps,later combining efforts for larger scale changes for the community
The project will help
Get a perspective on the issues considered important by local people
Provoke people to act on local issues,see the improvements they create and benefit from this more active role
Allow for exchange of ideas between organizations,individuals etc
Make the results of community work more visible
Allow the municipality to build a connection with local people,make its work more transparent and earn their trust by collaborating to solve important issues
We realize that even if we create the best platform to promote active citizenship,no meaningful results will be accomplished without motivating local population from all walks of life and background to become actively involved by sharing their issues and finding solutions together.So our plan is to initiate a series of events,meeting locals,discussing the most important issues,inspiring action.
Young people:we expect this group to be most engaged in the beginning and “infect” others with their enthusiasm.
Adult Population (includ.elderly):have experience,knowledge,desire to contribute
Marginalized groups:such as ethnical minorities and people with disabilities are the ones affected the worst by any local issues-economic,democratic,educational etc
Municipality and institutions
Establishing partnerships with local authorities,NGOs,schools
Building the online platform and integration
Meeting with local people and creating initiative committee in each city.Appoint a physical location as a meeting point
Series of events,meetings etc to promote active citizenship,inspire people for action and introduce the platform
Promoting the platform by various marketing channels:online and offline
Support local committees with the implementations of the first local initiatives,sharing good practices,expertise etc
More people will become involved in their community by caring,acting and participating
At least 100 local initiatives will take place through connecting all actors on the platform and with the support of the initiative committees
A growing mindset of "This is my/our business" will be established with the help of the local committees,events and sharing positive results
People in each community will have a space to share their opinions and ideas, to look for support to solve an issue or to share the positive results of a local campaign
Local municipalities will build a lasting connection to their citizens,will understand better their problems and needs and also will be able to share information about their activities making their work more visible and transparent
Trust in democracy is declining and many EU countries put in efforts and initiate solutions that allow their citizens to play a more active role in society and allow more direct routes into decision-making:from participatory democracy, tools that allow citizens to express opinions on certain topics to directly involving citizens in decisions through public debate. We believe our project provides a much needed space for people to “voice” their needs and views,be heard,co-create solutions and make positive changes to their community.Our goal is to start with Northeastern Bulgaria later expanding nationally but the open source platform and know how could be easily replicated in any EU country and help support the process of strengthening democracy.
We strongly believe that change starts with each one of us,it is no coincidence that our first project was “Change begins within”.We created Orenda with the vision to inspire positive change,promoting social inclusion,youth empowerment and active citizenship.Since 2011 Orenda has successfully realized many projects aimed at fostering participation,such as “Yesterday,Today,Tomorrow” in which young ppl received mentoring to realize their own social initiatives.Orenda is the organizer of Charity week in Varna,a series of events that unite businesses and individuals around a common cause.
This project is an opportunity to fulfill our mission for a lasting change by both fostering a change in mindset and attitudes and providing the tools for citizens to play a meaningful role in society life.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs:19000 EUR
Building and maintenance of the platform:15 000 EUR
PR and marketing:5000 EUR
Travel,accommodation, local events organization:4000 EUR
Office expenses, supplies, materials, equipment: 3000 EURO
Print materials:1000 EURO
(3000 EURO own contribution: office materials, equipment,office rental etc)
We would appreciate any feedback on: the idea ;good practices from other countries;contacts of interested partners;ideas on scaling the impact
Any other comments you decide to share as feedback on how to improve or enrich the project are more than welcome!