Marina Kisyova de Geus
Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation
A civic engagement hub, which will serve as a common ground for our network of local community leaders in the country. The hub will be the place where new solutions to social problems are invented, created and implemented. Building on our track proven experience and success in community building we will create the Hub, where citizens will be equipped with the right tools and skills to advocate for solutions. Outside the capital city active civic participation is still very much underdeveloped.
In the Civic participation Index Plovdiv scores lower than the average and extremely low on the institutional environment and cooperation among stakeholders. In our city, which is known for its cultural heritage, social activism on topics apart from culture is very rare. There is no space for facilitated civic dialogue, where citizens (incl. those from underrepresented groups) can engage and build their capacity for active political participation.
Our organization was recently identified by two of the major NGOs in Bulgaria as someone who could be supporting the growth of the civil society sector in the city. However we are primarily volunteer based and lacking some essential resources- such as an office space/event space and full time employees who could take on such a grand initiative.
We have a diverse network of community leaders in 11 cities in all 6 regions in the country with over 40 women volunteers with leading roles and self organised work on a local level. All of them represent different ethnic and age groups and come from various socio-economic backgrounds. We have the potential and strategy to grow geographically (in more cities). But before growing in terms of quantity, we need to build knowledge, resources and think about sustainability. This project is towards combining theoretical knowledge and practical learning by our volunteers to be better community builders, trainers in our programs and advocates for solutions on local challenges through gender sensitivity lense.
Indirectly we impact local communities through our social events “SHE in … “in 11 cities
1.Rent a space that will be turned into the “She in Bulgaria - Civic engagement Hub” where trainings and events will take place. The Hub will be a safe space for our network of community leaders to build capacity for civic engagement and develop further their local communities. (October 2021)
2.Develop and implement a training program that will cover capacity building. (October 2021-September 2022)
a)Trainings for community leaders on how to address the issues faced by women on a local level such as difficulties with navigating the economic environment that often is hostile to them, lack of opportunities for personal development and self-awareness, lack of supporting environment. (Start: January 2022)
b)Trainings on how to plan and conduct advocacy campaigns (incl. PESTEL analysis, strategizing, monitoring, evaluation, etc.) (Start: April 2022)
3.Public discussions and events to put in practice the outcomes of the training programs, to reach a wider audience and engage a variety of stakeholders. (Start: May 2022)
4.Develop and implement a communications, visibility and outreach strategy (October 2021-September 2022)
The following methods are essential in our work: non-formal education, community organizing, external expertise, experiential learning, storytelling, action research, blended learning approach.
1. Sustainable community hub for civic engagement - the Hub will continue to exist after the end of the project and will engage more people and other organisations out of our network.
2. The hub will be recognised as a place for public and dialogue between civil society actors and relevant officials.
3. A new generation of female civil society leaders who will be equipped with the right tools to make social change. They will be able on their own to create successful advocacy campaigns. Increased motivation to engage in political life.
We are going to apply a multifaceted approach to active citizenship. Our capacity building efforts are aimed at both developing practical advocacy skills and sensitivity towards the social schemes that reproduce gender inequality and discrimination in society.
The pool of multipliers will be equipped with a skillset to develop and strengthen the local communities to be able to propose new perspectives and solutions. They will share insights into the current obstacles that prevent certain segments of society from participating in the decision making processes.
On the advocacy side, we will have women volunteers who can plan and strategize an advocacy campaign, act to identify and find supporters, build coalitions, organise and participate in public forums, write policy recommendations.
As a founder, Marina, born and raised in Plovdiv,brings back her solid international experience from working with communities on social issues in Dublin,Ireland, Burlington, VT,USA. NGOs representative in the Regional Council for Development for South Central region of Bulgaria gives ground for cooperation between officials and public actors, which is of most importance to this project.
Joining forces with Margarita, a qualified civic education expert, with educational and professional experience from Sweden,Poland and Luxembourg, brings focus on human rights as well as fostering active citizenship participation for the benefit of local communities outside of the capital city in the last 5 years.
Both believe in a change by strengthening the women’s participation in solving civic issues
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Employment ( Hub Coordinator, Project Coordinator ) - 23 000 EUR
Rent - 9 000 EUR
Training facilitators - 2 800 EUR
Materials - 600 EUR
Communications and outreach - 3 000 EUR
Travel and accommodation costs - 7 500 EUR
Accounting - 1 200 EUR
Thank you Civic Europe for the presented opportunity.
Any constructive comments on any part of our proposal are welcomed and will be reviewed and discussed within our team.