One spontaneous born and still non registered organization brought together a group of people who, ignoring prejudice and their own fears were ready to help. Inspired how people from different social, ethnic and LGBT groups came together around the initiatives of the Svilengrad Community, we at the Unity Association will help this young organization to build capacity and skills on how to attract, create and cultivate active people to help strengthening an active civil society.
Svilengrad municipality, Haskovo district, Bulgaria
The specific challenges in the region of Svilengrad are typical for almost all small border municipalities on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Svilengrad Municipality consists of 24 settlements for which it is typical:
- social exclusion of almost everyone outside the municipal center.
- the polarization of society reflected in the emergence of non-civil society.
- isolation expressed in the lack of opportunities to leave even the village in order to visit the municipal center.
- conservative attitude towards the different.
- lack of trust in the institutions.
- lack of multicultural understanding and understanding of diversity.
Our concept for activating the civic participation of the communities will be launched in the town of Svilengrad and in 3 small settlements. A key factor for development is local initiative and citizen participation in solving local problems. This will lead to a better quality of life in the community, increase the efficiency of institutions and public confidence by strengthening local democracy.
Part of the concept are also:
- clarifying freedom of expression, information, assembly and association
- educating citizens who, through their civic participation, contribute to a society based on tolerance, non-discrimination, justice and solidarity
- creation of civic which enables political participation and civic education.
- unifying society and strengthening social cohesion.
The idea is to encourage and increase the capacity of a young organization that has a real chance to activate local communities and various vulnerable groups in an isolated rural municipality. Through the experience that Unity has already proved that it increases civic activity, changes attitudes and solves critical problems of the community with the participation of citizens. The groups affected will be:
- youth leaders
- people with active citizenship
- community centers
- socially excluded groups
- minority groups
- public institutions
- local business
- people at risk of violence (in all its forms)
We plan to work with 5 to 15 people from each target group, and these activities will have a significant impact on the social behavior of all residents of the municipality.
1. building institutional and civic capacity (trainings for the team of Svilengrad Community and active people for civic participation, moderation of discussions)
2. peer support (contribution of the Utilities Association - training and sharing of good practices)
3. needs assessment at local level, creation of local civic teams, 10 discussions in the community
4. conducting 20 community initiatives
5. online Community Svilengrad - community center (innovation is an upgrade of the existing approach)
6. dialogue / Interaction with leaders in all 24 settlements in the municipality, municipal administration, local business, people with active citizenship.
7. organizing seminars, trainings, forums and initiatives.
Laying the foundation and upgrading sustainable civic participation, which leads to: successfully realized 20 local challenges, solved with the participation of the community, enabling the community to be more active and to have its successes; built organizational and civic capacity of local civic groups; established and established partnerships; improved interconnections in the community and with local authorities.
Legal registration for an already spontaneous born organization.
A new organization built and prepared to work actively in the right direction for the development of democratic European values.
Conducted public forums, trainings, interactions.
The most important result is the strengthening of the Svilengrad Community as a pillar of free civic initiatives.
The online center of Svilengrad Community connects people from the region with their friends and relatives who live far from their native places. The driving force of democracy in Europe is the 'little people' who form local active communities, who are the driving force for strengthening democracy in Europe. Building a young organization that is already supported by the "little people" in the local community is an undoubted indicator of contribution to all ideas of democracy.
The third sector in our country / npo-sector / is poorly developed, unknown and difficult to accept. we are an organization that has experience and has managed to gain capacity over time. With the establishment of the Community of Svilengrad we see a real chance to pass on experiences and ideas that will contribute to the development of active citizenship, as well as the development of the NGO sector as a whole.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. project management - 6500 EUR
2. publicity - 2500 EUR
3. Strategy for development of the Svilengrad Community - 5000 EUR
4. training - 8000EUR
5. organization of public forums - 3000 EUR
6. support for civic initiatives - 14000 EUR
7. office expenses - 1000 EUR
8. creation and maintenance of a web platform - 2000 EUR
9. Communication and information campaign - 5000 EUR
10. Travel and accommodation expenses - 3000 EUR
We from the Unity Association will be happy to know if our idea to support a young and still unregistered organization, such as the Svilengrad Community - https://vzemiotselo.com/helper/, could become a new model for support and development of civil societies in Europe.