In the smallest settlements - the villages around Pleven, are living the poorest people, the ones with underdeveloped economic situation and lowest quality of life. In such places the civic activity is at its lowest due to the lack of information and civic culture. The project aims to foster a better civic culture in the local communities and to consolidate their informal leaders and their efforts to introduce mechanisms for civic participation in the decision-making process.
Pleven Province, Northern Bulgaria
The three villages in which the project will take place are a typical example of the villages in the poorest region of Europe – Northwest Bulgaria. The village of Koilovtsi is one of the ageing settlements, where youngsters do not find conditions for their personal and professional realization. What is more, there are no social services for the elderly people there. The village of Bohot is a multi-ethnic area where young people dominate the community, but the Roma men and women are utterly isolated from the national majority. The village of Yasen is located closer to the big city, which is also the regional centre. Its inhabitants work and study in the city but still live in the village. However, they do not take an active part in the life of the community.
The project is targeted at the three rural communities, which includes the local informal leaders and the increasingly fragmented at-risk social groups: the elderly, young people, Roma communities, people with disabilities, children. By establishing civic teams, the most active local citizens, who have an interest and motivation and want to help mobilize the inhabitants of their communities, will get the chance to be involved in civic activities, to the benefit of the local community development. Beneficiaries of the project results are the three rural communities.
PUBLIC FORUMS for presenting the project idea and discussing the priority problems of the three rural communities. Local informal leaders and civic teams will be formed.
TRAINING of the civic teams in order for them to get acquainted with the application of methods concerning research of the public opinion and attitudes.
RESEARCH on the priority problems of the three local communities and the attitudes towards civic participation in the process.
PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS about the results of the research and selection of a priority problem for each community and a working mechanism for its solution through participation.
TRAINING of civic advocacy teams.
ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS for establishing public bodies at local town halls.
TRAINING on communication with local authorities.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PUBLIC BODIES for participation of citizens in the management of the community.
CONFERENCE OF THE FUTURE for presenting the results and planning the future activities of the established public mechanisms for civic participation.
The main results of the project will be improving the civic culture, mobilizing the civic energy and involving the citizens in activities aimed at solving local problems. An expected outcome is also an increase in the capacity of local community centers to work with communities. As a result of advocacy campaigns, new mechanisms will be introduced for direct participation of citizens in the decision-making process at the local level. Achieving these results will affect the development of all three settlements. The conference of the future will spread the upgraded experience and will create conditions for multiplication of the results among the other villages in the region, through the local community centers, which are also members of our association.
The project is targeted at activating the inhabitants of the three villages in order for them to identify the priority problems of their communities and participate in finding and implementing their solutions. The main project activities are public events, which are aimed at all residents of the villages. This implies that all citizens will have access to participation without any discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, age, social status or any other grounds. Their participation will be voluntary, without restricting those willing to participate in any activity or event.
The project team will include: а project manager, coordinator, accountant, 3 consultants, 2 trainers, 3 moderators and 3 local coordinators. All of them have previous experience in project management, including such in the smallest of settlements. Our association has successfully completed 34 projects, which were managed and administered by the specialists who will be included in this project’s team. They are all interested in the project idea because civic participation is their personal cause - they know the reality of rural communities and want to help change it for the better. Moreover, they are all highly qualified professionals - each in their own field.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. Trainings - 10,512 EUR
2. Teaching aids - 1050 EUR
3. Public forums - 2160 EUR
4. Conference - 1140 EUR
5. Advocacy campaign - 3600 EUR
6. Book - compendium - 3800 EUR
7. Coordinators - 2160 EUR
8. Consultants - 7200 EUR
9. Management and administration - 3350 EUR
Total: 34,972 EUR
We expect an assessment of the relevance of the project idea to the priorities of the program. We would like to read comments on whether the introduction of mechanisms for direct participation of citizens in decision-making processes at the local level will catalyze local development.