Creating a digital platform which supports the Bulgarian folklore and traditions as a spirit of the Bulgarian modern civil society, allowing locals to state problems; to receive a legal support in communication with authorities; to initiate local events; to share ideas for local issues that do not require contact with institutions; to create a local space for supply and demand and exchange of handmade/household made products and services connected with Bulgarian folklore and tradition.
The "New Megdan" project will take place all over Bulgaria, because it is an online-based idea.
The majority of the Bulgarian society feels as being in a social isolation, because there is no successful practice to state their needs and there is no adequate space for free speaking. Thus there is need to make little and well measured steps to overcome the distrust in society and most likely this self-isolation in the direction to become more confident about building a stable local communities and afterwards more effective social society.
This project tries to find a solution through contemporary restoring of social achievements and practices found in the folklore and traditions which were destroyed or corrupted due to the past regime, and in particular an old-time social experience of the local community–the village Megan (square), where everybody could come and discuss everything.
The "New Megdan" platform is a free access web space for sharing ideas, views, suggestions and solutions for the community and this is its main goal. There will be 3 general sections on the platform: new ideas sharing; problem stating and pesonal interests in folklore and traditions, all of them ofering space for discussion. Participants from all the country regions could form their own devision containing the same 3 general sections.
The platform combines the personal interest of every citizen (at least to the Bulgarian folklore and traditions) and a natural way to get involved into the life of the community because of the opportunity to participate in decision making and step by step establishing a social habit for active participation in the daily routine of the community.
The initial focus group of beneficiaries consists of people who actively pay interest to Bulgarian folklore and traditions in their everyday life (amateurs and pros; over 400000 people in Bulgaria). The project gives them a tool to communicate effectively in their common field of interest and along with this to state social issues outside it. The project will use this already existing group with high social potential to attract every other citizen to the opportunity to give ideas, state problems, debate on solutions and perform real action at local level. Through supporting the civil processes of that naturally formed social group the project aims to develop a good social practice for the whole society.
The general steps are:
- Digitization of the task and creating the platform;
- Working on the popularization of the platform. In the very beginning, along with online advertising, that includes personal/direct contact with all the suppliers and content makers in the “New Megdan” platform: craftsmen, leaders of folklore arts groups, performers and other. The first steps will be made in Sofia, and only after having a critical number of participants on the platform, we expect it to start filling itself on the principle of the snowball effect.
1. Strengthening the processes in the informal social sector based on the interest in Bulgarian folklore and traditions.
The expected specific results include higher number of locally organized events based on folklore culture (dance, music, arts); higher exchange rate of locally handmade / household-made production and services; completed requests to the authorities due to the "New Megdan" platform.
2. Recognition of the “New Megdan” platform as a working tool for communication on every kind of problem of the local communities and putting it in the local public agenda.
3. Increase the level of social trust of citizens so that they will become more involved in solving the problems facing their communities.
This project is about about the overcoming the democracy gap between Central Europe and the post soviet societies which still suffer from significant deficits in freedom of speech, public financial transparency and political trust. This gap can be overcomed through developing a civil society, developing civil alertness and the civil habit to speak. An important issue that has to be overcomed seems to be psychological – overcoming the bad habit of social latency, the impression that it is meaningless to speak publicly. This initiative tries to involve people in civil processes, taking the citizens to the point that they feel free and responsible to state problems in their communities, participate in real civil actions and that is the way to live democratically.
It is important for us because we believe that the growing intensity of the social interest in our country in Bulgarian folklore and traditions in the last 20 years is itself a desire to form a working social society and to find alternatives to the bad social and political practices. The big problem before the Bulgarian society is how to speak this out and how to organize for civil action. We believe in and it is important to carry through such initiatives just to help this society to build up its communication skills and to find out how to trust and cooperate for better society.
It is important for us because folklore is our field of interest and because we see how to connect it with modernity and how to support building a better society.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Creating an internet platform – 22000 EUR
Financial costs (bank and administration taxes) – 2500 EUR
Remuneration for a developing team of four workers – 24000 EUR:
(Technical administrator; Content administrator; Responsible officer for cooperation, PR, commercials, sponsorship; Responsible officer for administration, financial and legal issues.)
Purchase or hiring technical devices for data base operation – 1000 EUR.