Law, advocacy and policy, Social inclusion

The Voice Of The Unheard



Who is behind this?

Yashar Asan

Hayir Foundation


Who is joining forces?

Descover and develop/Otkrivam i razvivam


The project is communicating and has the support of Plovdiv Municipality.


Idea pitch

Building a new type of civil society, based on equal opportunities for all communities. Establishing Civic Councils - contact groups of elected representatives of the community for a permanent contact with the Municipality, supporting the activities of the local sectoral policies in order to solve various minority problems, the affirmation of their equal social position and the opportunities for economic and social realization.

Where will your project idea take place?

Plovdiv, Plovdiv Region, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Representatives of different ethnic communities live in Plovdiv, with the largest of them being the Roma community. For the minorities in segregated neighborhoods, there is a progressive distancing and rejection by others. Plovdiv is a developing city - industrial and commercial center, the cultural capital of Bulgaria. The city participates in many different projects for integration and inclusion of the minorities, unfortunately with minimal or no results. Mainly because a large group of the stakeholders does not participate in the project preparation and implementation. The direct participation of the stakeholders /The Roma community and other vulnerable groups/ must improve the overall situation of the city and through the results of the sectoral policies.

Who are you doing it for?

Plovdiv has more than sixty thousand citizents part of the Roma community, divided into 4 segregated neighborhoods, the largest of which is Stolipinovo neighborhood - about 50 thousand. The main characteristics are:
- low level of education.
- Difficulties with the Bulgarian language.
- social and economic isolation
- zero participation in the local government
- an object of political interest only during.
European projects intended specifically for the desegregation and integration of minorities are written without the participation of representatives of the target groups and, unfortunately, a large number of the population does not even know about them. This creates a negative stereotype that the authorities think "only for the minorities", without having real results.

How do you plan to get there?

1:Conducting Community assembly with broad-based representatives, individuals with authority, who have proven their commitment to the problems of the community. Platform goals and rules of operation will be conducted. A road map to the sector policies will be designed.
2:A community assembly will nominate a frame of the Civic Councils. The Civic councils will be representative contact groups, which will work directly with the representatives of the local authorities based on the sectoral departments. Each of the members of the civil council will have responsibilities as a member of a group for a certain sectoral policy in the field of health care, social work, education, ecology, culture and sport, infrastructure. The group be 3 members each.
3:After announcing to the public the established the civil councils, the groups on the respective sectoral policy will hold meetings with the relevant deputy mayors to specify the rules and the common goals for their joint activity.
4:Representatives of the local government will conduct training on civic competencies, trainings by sectors on the current rights and obligations of the citizens and the opportunities for their participation in the implementation of sectoral policies.
5:Publishing a guide of best practices in civic relations and creating an environment for developing equality and better feedback from the stakeholders.

What are the expected results?

The project will achieve
1 / Improving the communication with the local government through direct contact with the representatives of the community and from there - more successful problem solving and better planning of procedures and projects directly aiming to the vulnerable groups.
2 / increasing the trust in the institutions without negatively affecting the social identity of the minorities.
3 / Raising the role and increasing the civic activity of people from different ethnic and marginalized groups in the socio-political life and a sustainable integration into it.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

On the one hand, the representatives of the minorities and the vulnerable groups will acquire basic knowledge and competencies about the effective functioning of the civil society, the number of trainees and volunteers will constantly increase, and the educators will be the community experts themselves.
On the other hand, the society and policy makers will be informed about the real problems of the community from the original source and about their desire of participation in order to solve the issues together. The representatives of the Roma community will be more engaged and convinced in this process and the policy makers will be aware of the needed measures.

Why is this idea important to you?

Plovdiv - The European capital of culture in 2019 needs to be an example for a developed civil society. Our civic councils are a democratic tool to improve the sectoral policies and involvment.

Yashar Asan - president of Hayir Foundation, long standing member of Plovdiv municipal council, respected community leader.

Dr. Asen Kolev - community leader, PhD in Philosophy, a long standing activist for equality and human rights, educator.

Totka Genova - president of Otkrivam i razvivam NGO. Mediator and tutor for cultural and innovative art initiatives.

Mariana Nikolova - educator, expert in Human resources, mediator and coordinator of various European projects.

Alex Levi - leader and board member of the Jewish community, educator, human rights activist, HR specialist.

€ 30600,-

Total budget

€ 30600,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1. Management costs, administrative and office expenses - 6,500 euros.
2. Costs for specialists and experts - 2,600 euros
3. Expenditure on training the civic groups for sectoral policies and
advocacy - 10,500 euros
4. Expenses for information and publicity, PR, media policy, conferences - 6
700 euros
5. Development and maintenance of a project website - 1,500 euros
6. Publishing a handbook with the good practices and case studies, in Bulgarian and
English - 2,800 euros.

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We want to hear and understand how other regions and communities successfully get involved in the process of policy making. Our teams wants to hear how an advocacy and stand-up initiative can make a real impact on the local society.
We will be happy to get feedback and learn about good practises.



Idea created on April 22, 2021
Last edit on April 24, 2021

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