The town of Veliki Preslav suffers from illegal dump sites and difficulties in garbage management. People have mobilized around the issue, but we need financial support and capacity building. Our project will buttress local volunteers, while making residents more aware about the problems (and solutions!) of irregular waste dumping. Forging synergy between municipal structures and including the local Roma minority will be vital in maintaining a cleaner environment for all.
Veliki Preslav, north-eastern Bulgаria
Illegal dumps continue cropping up in Veliki Preslav but pollution seems tangential to local communities, marred in more pressing survival problems. Because of the dumps’ proximity to Roma neighborhoods, waste interlocks a plethora of issues such as ethnic segregation, environmental degradation and economic inequalities. Local citizens have already started volunteering in clean-up efforts but they need resources to expand their reach. Yet public spaces where people can organize are scarce. Eliminating garbage requires investment, cooperation with public authorities and involving the most alienated people. To this end, we want to back local volunteers materially, organizationally and by connecting them to stakeholders locally and nationally.
1)Volunteers in Veliki Preslav and the villages around - Roma residents near dumps, school children, non-Roma residents, local businesses, municipal councilors, operatives from the local waste collection company, active citizens with experience in volunteering in waste disposal initiatives who want to build their capacity and expand their reach, and citizens who would like to begin volunteering but are unsure how.
2)The municipality of Veliki Preslav and other municipalities facing similar problems with waste disposal. The aim is to develop a community based coalition around sustainable waste disposal and a cleaner environment that benefits social cohesion.
3)The wider public: a monthly brochure (of ca. 500 copies) will inform residents about volunteering and environmental issues.
We will empower local residents to become active citizens by way of 1) meetings connecting small towns and communities; 2) organizing volunteer cleaning events; and by 3) having the municipality to rent equipment for the bulky pieces.
This will be achieved through the following steps:
а) Using action research we will work together with Solidarna Bulgaria to properly assess the obstacles to forming a sustainable waste-disposal service.
g) By organizing volunteer cleanup events we will spread awareness on the topic and bring together members of different groups who don’t usually interact.
c) By providing economics & civic action training we will build capacity for creating a feasible action plan along with necessary measures that need to be taken by the municipality.
d) Building on the local knowledge we will have gained, we will publish a monthly bulletin with information about our activities and other waste disposal initiatives.
e) We will visit other cities in the country (Shumen, Targovishte, Smyadovo) which have dealt with similar problems to receive knowledge and create a coalition around the topic of sustainable waste disposal.
f) Through members of local authorities, a permanent round table will be formed on the topic with the participation of the civil sector with the long-term goal of creating a community center in Veliki Preslav to focus social initiatives
1) 4 volunteer squads with increased knowledge and capacity on circular economy issues and sustainable waste disposal
2) A concrete action plan and necessary measures for implementation on municipal level
3) Adequate engagement of municipality and local communities, permanent round table in Veliki Preslav on the topic - 200 people (decision makers, local communities, activists) partaking in discussions
4) Creating community center in the Roma neighboorhood through cooperation with the municipality in the future.
5) Monthly bulletin published in paper and online and distributed for free - 12 bulletins, 500 copies each
6) 6 meetings with other municipalities.
7) Regular trainings with local communities - 2 per month
8) Min 10 articles in local, and national media
9) Video coverage
1)Gives the means to those with low income to participate in the management of local waste disposal service and to meaningfully engage with, and protect their environment.
2)Building a local and a regional coalition will further equip small local communities with the tools to not only demand but actively pursue sustainable waste disposal and cleaner environmental goals.
3)The free monthly bulletin will help promote the topic, and will connect and engage concerned citizens. Civil society cannot thrive without a modicum of a public sphere.
4)The project will unleash a regional dynamic on the topic and make people join forces around a common goal - clean nature and community mobilizing.
We are a group of local citizens who understand that we have to help ourselves with the mounting illegal trash sites. We began a series of volunteering drives, engaging the communities most negatively affected by the waste, namely, the Roma, to clean up the sites around their homes. The promising results gave us the energy to escalate our efforts and seek funding to formalize, give structure and lend our initiative more sustainability. Our goal is to help buttress the local civil society by mobilizing volunteer squads and eventually a community center where the various stakeholders can meet and further similar initiatives. In this way we expect to achieve social cohesion and reduce the friction between Roma and non-Roma citizens because everyone benefits from a cleaner environment.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Coordination, administration, technical support - 10000 €
Expert support - 4000 €
Monthly bulletin - 4000 €
Meetings with other municipalities and experts (transport, accommodation, rent) - 7000 €
Technical equipment (rent of cleaning machines, protective equipment) - 5000 €
Meeting space - 3000 €
Promotion (social media, articles, videos) - 2000 €
Video Equipment (cameras, microphones, lighting) - 2000 €
Volunteer work 200 hours x 20 € - 4000 €
We welcome all ideas relating to the set up of a monthly bulletin (design, layout, article solicitation and editorial work) as well as how to better distribute it across nearby towns and villages where regular postal and distribution services are in short supply.