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“Heroes of change” | Civic Europe
Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

“Heroes of change”

Imagine children have the skills how to influence the decision-making at local level and meet the local governments to voice their ideas about the community they live in. We believe every child can


Who is behind this?

Liuba Batembergska

The Small steps


Who is joining forces?

Hristo Botev School, the town of Mezdra


"Grigorii Tzamblak" School



Idea pitch

We invest in child power how to influence the decision-making process at local level via games and practical examples of how local government relates to everyone’s everyday life.We will engage children from remote area and a Roma neighborhood in Sofia into discussions about the area live in, provide a space to voice their ideas, meet them with the local governments. We support their ideas about the school, so at the end of the day, they become Heroes of change in the environment next.

Where will your project idea take place?

Hristo Botev Roma neighborhood, Sofia and the town of Mezdra, region of Vratza.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Our initiative tackles the lack of applied citizenship skills of children how institutions could improve the quality of life in the community they live in and their disbelief that the change in the society depends on them. 43 % of students in Bulgaria declare they have little or no knowledge on how to solve problems at the local level according to the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study. 45% assess the same way their abilities how to stand for their civic rights. The apathy and the mistrust are especially firm in Roma neighborhoods and the small remote areas, where the social exclusion is strongest and the civic society weak.

Who are you doing it for?

100 children at “Hristo Botev” school, Mezdra, 6th and 7th grade from a disadvantaged background, from Bulgarian and Roma communities, and 38 Roma children, at “Grigorii Tzamblak” School – 5 and 6 grade, engaged in the school-based program for civic education and child participation.
Over 500 children in both schools engaged in the debate, campaigns, and elections about initiatives to be implemented at school and in the improvement of the environment where they do spend most of their time.
Over 40 teachers trained and coached to support and facilitate child participation in the decision-making process.
Over 30 local governments’ officials familiar with the model of the school-based child participation and civic engagement program and its results.

How do you plan to get there?

1. Development of steps by step educational resources for civic education for the local government. The program will be based on a participatory learning methodology, interactive tools of non-formal education, storytelling, practical examples from the everyday life of children.
2. A 6 months school-based training program for civic education and child participation in decision-making process, implemented in “Griogorij Tzamblak” and “Hristo Botev” schools. The project team will deliver the program on the spot.
3. Meetings between children and representatives of the local governments of Slatina, Sofia, Mezdra. The in-person meetings are part of the learning by experience methodology. They are key for raising child confidence their opinion matters and for tackling the blurr notion of the institutions.
4. School campaigns and fairs for child initiatives related to the school. The small improvements in the environment will involve children in shaping the schools. More important will make them confident they could make a positive change in the environment.
5. Implementation of child initiatives with their participation. A small seed fund will be provided for support of the children's initiatives.
6. In service teachers’ training and seminars with local government officials for presenting the results and the model.

What are the expected results?

Children from a disadvantaged background will have increased knowledge about the local government and how it relates to their live. They will learn via playing and experience the decision-making process. The school community will be engaged in debates about topics of their concern related to the school and the community.At least 3 child initiatives for improvement of the schools will be implemented. Children's participation in both meetings with decision-makers and in transforming the environment next to will foster their self-confidence that a positive change in the environment is possible and could depend on them.Civic education and child participation model will be approbated in 2 underprivileged communities. This will provide evidence-based tools for the dissemination of the program

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

The school-based civic education and child participation program provide practical citizenship skills: 1) Interactive tools and activities (incl. photo walk) showcase how the responsibilities of the local government link with everyday life, the living conditions, and with the needs of different groups of people. 2) Role games and cases introduce to the children what the decision-making mechanism is. 3) The creative workshops explore child's perspectives on the town and the community. 4) Bring together children and decision-makers in local government and provides space to get engaged in the debate on how could the town become a better place for them. The program will provide applied knowledge on the responsibilities of the local government and will demonstrate the tools for participation

Why is this idea important to you?

We confront a wide shared understanding the child participation and civic education fits only to children with privileged background.We believe every child can and we have been looking for opportunities to prove it.We would like to contribute to the delivery of quality education in schools in small localities and in Roma neighborhoods.
We are a practitioner in Roma community development and non-formal education, 15 years of experience and a teacher in Citizenship education in the formal system for over 20 years. We have both the passion and the experience to create a space for child participation and civic education in the poor areas of the capital and in small locality in the most underprivileged region in Bulgaria.We would like to have the opportunity to showcase and scale up the model

€ 32367,-

Total budget

€ 32367,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Project management: 10296.6
Development of training program, design of training resources, handbook: 3563.9
Implementation of a school-based program for citizenship and child participation, incl, meetings with local officials: 6448.6
Seed fund children initiatives, campaigning, child advocacy, and implementation of initiatives: 4811.00
Dissemination: event for local governments’ representatives; teachers’ training: 3335.00
Travels: 1887.91
Visibility and dissemination: 2024.00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Feedback on our idea and recommendations how to present better the cause for child participation and civic education will be strongly valuable. Other experiences in implementing a broad child par


The Small steps



Idea created on April 25, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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