20 Activists Took Part in a Training, Part of the BFW Equality and Climate Justice Program
A training, part of the Program of the Bulgarian Fund for Women “Equality and Climate Justice” was held in Bankya, between June 10 and 12, 2021. It involved 20 activists and leaders from local communities from 13 different places in the country.
The program is realized for the first time by the Bulgarian Fund for Women with the support of the Open Society Institute – Sofia Foundation. Its goal is to enable the participation of active people and leaders from local communities in protecting the planet and overcoming climate change. The program aims to stimulate civic activism in protecting the Earth, increase participants’ knowledge of the intersections between equality and climate justice, and involve local communities and activists in tackling the problem.
The three-day training focused on the most up-to-date practical and theoretical knowledge on how to effectively create, develop, mobilize and maintain communities. It provided the participants with the opportunity to meet other community leaders, exchange ideas and create new partnerships.
The training was led by international and national experts. Madlen Popignatova, an activist and trainer for social justice based in Amsterdam, presented the topic of intersectionality: what is gender, privilege and identities. She also presented the topic “Climate Justice: How did we get here and how are women and vulnerable groups affected?” It is known that women, young people and minority groups are most affected by climate change and therefore working with and involving them in overcoming climate change and the negative impact on nature is key.
The training facilitator was Kirilka Angelova, who has 14 years of experience in the development of NGOs and the business sector as an instructor for group dynamics and organizational behavior. She took care of group dynamics and developing case studies using the method of design thinking.
The Bulgarian reality and its challenges and opportunities were presented by two prominent local experts and activists – Georgi Stefanov, who heads the Climate Program of the Bulgarian office of the international environmental organization WWF and Milya Dimitrova, who has over 17 years of experience in expert and managerial positions in public administration ( MoEW and Sofia Municipality) and in the consulting business in the field of policies related to climate change and mechanisms for greenhouse gas emissions trading.
Through the training and the entire program, the Bulgarian Fund for Women focuses on working with regional communities at the local level on topics such as air pollution, recycling, climate refugees, deforestation, water pollution and women’s participation in nature conservation and management policies for climate change, because we believe that communities are the engines of social change aimed at protecting the environment.
The BFW’s Equality and Climate Justice Program consists of two parts – theoretical and practical. The training was the first stage, which provides theoretical knowledge about community mobilization and the intersections between gender equality and climate justice. In the second stage, participants have the opportunity to apply for financial support from BFW up to BGN 1 500. These grants will be invested in local communities to implement initiatives aimed in raising awareness, monitoring, advocacy, or strategies for participation of citizens in the processes of decision-making at local and national level on issues related to equality and climate justice.
Here is the feedback of one of the participants in the program, Stella Nedyalkova: “Everything I learned during these two days is extremely useful. I took something from everything and everyone and with great excitement and inspiration I am moving forward.
Rada Elenkova, BWF Program Director and Program Coordinator, commented: “The conclusion for our organization is that there are many active citizens in the country, full of ideas and energy to work at the local level for social change and climate justice. We are happy that the Equality and Climate Justice Program offers opportunities to support key causes and achieve real change. We, from the Bulgarian Fund for Women, are motivated to continue our efforts in this direction, to further develop the program and to seek opportunities for cooperation with all participants and future activists.
The media partner of the initiative is BNR – Bulgarian National Radio.