This is a pilot project. A social experiment is conducted in 3 small settlements with a high level of Roma population on the territory of Northwestern Bulgaria. The experiment develops and tests a practical and innovative model for stimulating the civic engagement, civic participation, self-government and development of local communities.
Northwestern Bulgaria – 3 settlements up to 20000 inhabitants with a high level of Roma population.
The Northwestern Bulgaria is the poorest region in the country and the EU, with reduction of the amount of industry, with high levels of unemployment, aging population and depopulated settlements. The negative consequences affect mainly the Roma population in small towns and villages, among whom are increasingly uneducated and unemployed, families rely on social benefits, the number of children dropping out of school is getting higher, the level of domestic crime and domestic violence is rising. It is difficult for the local authorities and institutions to deal with all these problems. Our challenge is to identify the authentic leaders and practically to activate the citizens in these communities to become empowered, self-organized, self-governed and responsible for their own development.
The aim of this social experiment is to turn the citizens in segregated Roma communities in small settlements from a passive object into an active subject of their management and development:
1.Increasing of awareness and civic engagement in the local communities.
2. Approbation of the models for self-organization and self-government with direct participation of the citizens.
3. Increasing of citizen`s solidarity and responsibility for the development and well-being of the local community.
4. Affirmation of the principles and values of the civil society and increasing the quality of life in these communities.
Target group in this current project are the citizens of small settlements with a significant level of Roma population.
1. Authentic leaders in the local community - 18 participants go through a training within the project. For a period of 6 months they are organizers and coordinators of local advocacy campaigns and initiatives, they provide support to their fellow citizens in their relations with the institutions, in the implementation of their civil rights and responsibilities.
2. Citizens from the local communities involved in the implementation of local initiatives and campaigns - about 300 participants.
3. Representatives of local institutions and stakeholders - 60 participants in forums and working meetings.
1.Information campaign and working meetings with stakeholders-identification of leaders, motivation for participation and cooperation.
2.Training for leaders - 18 participants:20 hours of theory:Topography of power, interaction with institutions. Advocacy and lobbying. Team interaction and conflict management 10 hours practice-design and project of a campaign/initiative.
3.The leaders appointed for a period of 6 months carry out advocacy, mediation, organization, coordination, activation and involvement of over 300 citizens in the implementation of specific local initiatives.
4.Evaluation and dissemination of the results among all stakeholders-a study is conducted /on the effect and evaluation of the applicability of the model/ The results are discussed and promoted in a public forum.
1. No less than 18 local leaders and 300 citizens will raise their civic awareness and competence.
2. Over 300 citizens will become organizers and participants in 3 local campaigns / initiatives - their civic engagement and responsibility for the development of local communities will increase.
3. A local model for self-government and citizen participation in the decision-making process will be implemented and approved.
4. Intercultural interaction will be improved and value will be added to the implemented policies and practices for empowering citizens at the local level.
5. In the long run: Social conflicts and contradictions will be permanently overcome, the quality of life in local communities will be improved.
Our initiative will increase the awareness and competence of the citizens. It will empower them and encourage their engagement and participation in the decision-making process at the local level. It is fully in line with the principles of good governance at local level adopted by the Council of Europe. The initiative affirms universal European values - respect for diversity and tolerance of ethnic differences, democratic governance with and for the benefit of the citizens.
Implementing its Statute and targets the Association conducts activities in encouraging and development of equality of different social groups: including unemployed, socially-isolated and marginal communities and their integration in the civil society, political and economical life. Our organization helps improving social, health and demographic status of the population, development of labor market, increase professionalism and social realization of specific target groups. The association works for sustainable development at local and regional level and has well-established partnership with the organs for local self government, police, local institutions, business and media. It develops wide research, information, educational and consultancy activities.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Information campaign: 2000 €
Training of leaders: Remuneration for trainers, training materials, rent of halls, transport and accommodation 7000 €.
Remuneration of local organizers/mediators for 6 months and
funding of local initiatives 27000 €.
Representative survey to evaluate the results in 3 local communities with 2100 respondents, data processing and report 8000€
Reproduction of a report and conduction of a final one-day forum 3000€
Project management -3000€
Every feedback, opinion and recommendation for the improvement of our initiative will be useful to us.