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vEDEN - the Eden of opportunities is Vidin | Civic Europe
Community development, (Social) Entrepreneurship

vEDEN - the Eden of opportunities is Vidin

Shaping the future of rural communities in Vidin municipality - food, nature and culture as potential boosters


Who is behind this?

Dessislava Dimitrova

Slow Food in Bulgaria (SFBG)


Who is joining forces?

Vidin Fund "Chitalishta"



Idea pitch

With vEDEN we want to break the the persistent narative that Vidin region is the poorest and most redundant area of Europe. Our project will demonstrate that each and every member of rural communities in the area are guardians of knowledge and expertise and brought together can create a prosperous model of life. Our intervention will attract the support of public authorities and will focus the attention of the Bularian and international society to the opportunities and not to the deficiencies.

Where will your project idea take place?

Rural areas in Vidin municipality, North-West Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Rural areas are the shelter of cultural and gastronomic heritage that can be a resource for community development through social entrepreneurship. The challenge is to reconsider this resource through the multiple lenses of various stakeholders and to involve local inhabitants in reflection and conversation grounded in the day-to-day experiences thus valorizing and preserving diversity of backgrounds, opinions, and skills. We want to channel our capacity into practical vehicles such as critical questions, needs-assessment tools, frameworks, and community-engaged learning to support rural communities to transform their own heritage into Slow Food tourism offers that will sustain it. We want to establish clear values and principles, and sense of belonging and ownership.

Who are you doing it for?

30 rural communities in Vidin municipality the cultural centres of which are in the network of our partner Vidin Fund "Chitalishta". They reflect the socio-economic environment of the region. We will classify them according to their needs and capacities so that we can best tailor our approach to the local context. We will invite all members of these communities to discuss together how the existing capacity can be mobilized for sustainable development of every place and the region as a whole.

How do you plan to get there?

With the local communities: With the help of our partner we will classify the villages in Vidin municipality according to their capacities and needs. We will organize 5 workshops evenly distributed in the area. Each community cultural centre will nominate participants according to their skills and capacities so that all groups of the local communities are represented. The workshops will be based on the SMART approach in order to achieve the specific goals of the project.

With local authorities: A manual for participation in decision making and advocacy for local communities will be prepared. It will be presented to local communities and the feed back from them will be used to adapt it to their specific needs. Together with the authorities will
be identified appropriate measures to support rural communities.

With tourist agencies: Prior to the workshops a survey among tour agencies and operators will be implemented to understand their needs for diversification of their offers. These
needs will be the corner stones in the workshops and will help to tailor the outcomes from them.

With the general public: The project will end with a conference to present the results of the project. All stakeholders will be invited to participate.

What are the expected results?

The rural communities will be empowered by 5 workshops with local communities organized and moderated by the community cultural centres
Public authorities will be involved by 1 manual manual for participation in decision making and advocacy for local communities
Tour operators will be involved by 1 survey with tour operators to identify their needs for diversification of offers
General public will be informed through 1 conference to present the results

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

The project will:
Enhance social cohesion in rural communities in Vidin municipality and will mobilize their resources for social entrepreneurship
Will strengthen the network of community centres in the area and will promote them as local social growth incubators and drivers for change
Engage different parts of local communities in a dialogue to identify common challenges, strengths and approaches;
Create bondages between communities, authorities and business (in tourism) for multifaceted development.
Create a new image for Vidin municipality - from the poorest region in Europe into an example for multi-entrepreneurial development
Foster the international popularity of the region and involve media of different scope.

Why is this idea important to you?

Dessislava Dimitrowa is the coordinator of Slow Food in Bulgaria and is an expert in community networking, promotion of bio-cultural heritage and Slow Food Travel methodology. She will be responsible for the international communication.
Teodora Ivanova is an expert in biocultural diversity and a member of SFBG. She will be responsible for the shaping of biocultural capacity for rural development.
Sivana Suleiman is representative of the partner organization. She will be responsible for the classification of the rural communities and will coordinate the cooperation with public authorities and regional media.
An expert in community management and organization of workshops will be hired after the identification of the specificities and needs of the local community.

€ 40000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Management and administration - 4000
Experts - 12000
Trainings and netwroking - 6000
Travel and accommodation of the team - 6000
Visibilty and promotion - 7000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We will appreciate feed back on how to make more efficient the collaboration with public authorities and to learn of good examples of involvement of volunteers in community work (max. 300 characters) This section will be published in the idea space.



Idea created on April 26, 2021

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