11 Projects of Local Leaders will Receive Funding from BFW from the Climate and Gender Justice Program

  •  July 27, 2021

In early March 2021, the Bulgarian Fund for Women launched the Climate and Gender Justice Program, which provides an opportunity for active people and community leaders to participate in initiatives protecting the planet, tackling climate change and addressing social inequalities. The initiative stimulates civic participation in protecting the Earth, raises awareness of the intersections between equality and climate justice, and involves local communities and activists to undertake the problem. 

The BFW program consists of two phases – theoretical and practical, and in the first stage the participants went through a three-day training led by national and international experts. 34 applications were submitted from 14 different cities in the country for participation in the first phase, from which 20 participants from all over the country were selected. The second phase started after the training and with the announcement of an open call for the participants, thus giving them the opportunity to practically develop a project and receive funding from BFW, through which to activate their communities and jointly implement an initiative that addresses climate change and social inequalities. 

Within the open call, 17 project proposals were received, of which the team of the Bulgarian Fund for Women ranked 11 projects for funding. The evaluation committee included Gergana Kutseva (Deputy Director of BFW), Rada Elenkova (Program Director of BFW) and Teodora Petrova (Communications and Development Director of BFW). 

The applications were evaluated according to a number of criteria, including significance of the problem that the project addresses, adequacy of the proposed activities to the indicated problem, realistic achievement of the activities, intersectional approach/intersection of social inequalities and climate issues, addressing the needs of vulnerable groups, sustainability of activities, development of local communities and reaching out to the general public and/or the local community. The initiatives will be implemented in the period August – December 2021.  

The following projects will receive funding from the Climate and Gender Justice Program: 

Project Climate Justice Map, scope: Botevgrad, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Radostina Vuteva – 82 points 

The idea of the project focuses on the joint work of a team of people with different professions and experience from the town of Botevgrad (ecologists, architects, IT specialists, foresters, NGO representatives, minority groups, local business, artists, local activists). They will participate in a hackathon-type event to create an image of the city of Botevgrad, which considers and reflects on global climate change as a political and ethical issue. Participants will propose concrete local solutions to prevent the effects of climate change, taking into account current trends in the fight for climate justice and equality. The product of the joint work will be the creation of various prototypes of an animated map of the city. A report will be prepared describing the work process and the results achieved. 

Project Old Clothes, New Life, scope: Asenovgrad, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Vladimir Geshev – 82 points 

The project Old Clothes, New Life draws attention to the problems that fast fashion and overproduction of clothes create both ecologically and socially. The initiative is aimed at young people from Asenovgrad and provides for the implementation of three main activities – an informational online campaign; conducting two training courses in which participants will be informed about the negative impact of the fashion industry on the climate and will be trained in habits for long-last wear, recycling and sewing skills. The final activity will be a fashion show that will showcase clothes, which have been redesigned, sewn and combined by the participants in the course, using mainly their own worn-out and second-hand clothes.  

Project Together We Can! Association for Social and Environmental Justice, scope: Sofia, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Stoyo Tetevenski – 81 points 

The project addresses the need for an interdisciplinary approach based on climate justice in the preparation and implementation of national policies for green transition and focuses on the left movement in Sofia, which works in and for local and vulnerable communities. The aim of the project is to develop, propose and defend inclusive policies that reflect the needs of such groups in the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan till 2027 through various mechanisms for civic participation such as the preparation of public positions to be disseminated to political representatives and state and local institutions; the preparation of articles explaining the issues and ways of engagement; communication with government officials. 

Project Equal Before the Climate, scope: Sofia, Yagodina, Smolyan, value BGN 1,500, implemented by Vihren Mitev – 80 points 

The Equal Before the Climate project focuses on the need to promote actions to help empower women and older people, who are more affected by the climate changes, through initiatives to prevent climate change. The project aims to expand the existing network of volunteers by uniting new groups through its activities. It promotes volunteering and active citizenship in the country as a driving force for positive social change, protection of human rights and the fight against climate change. All this will happen through the organization of four events – in the village of Yagodina, Smolyan and Sofia. 

Project Summer Camps for Climate and Gender Justice through Camping in the Rhodope Mountains, scope Rudozem, Chepintsi, Madan and Smolyan, worth BGN 1,500, implemented by Valentin Kehayov – 79 points  

This adventurous research project is aimed at creating knowledge and sensitivity to social inequalities and climate justice among young people from the Smolyan region. The main methods used are experiential learning, movement learning, creativity as a way of self-expression and role-playing games. The idea is related to the construction of an eco-camp for training young people on environmental protection, gender equality, connection with nature and active civic participation. All this will be done in a fun and informal way. The young participants will live in tents, and the training will take place in an area near the village of Mogilitsa, district Smolyan. Organizing a youth camp in nature will increase young people’s interest in social inequalities and climate justice. The training will be attended by young people from the informal youth community from the town of Smolyan, as well as young people from the whole area, including from vulnerable groups. 

Project Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Habits in Children and Development of Responsible Attitude Towards the Environment in the Local Community, scope: village of Nikyup, district Veliko Tarnovo, value BGN 1,500, implemented by Helena Hudjek – 75 points 

The motto of the project is Think Globally, Act Locally! and it touches on the topic of climate change and its impact on local communities, with a focus on children. The project consists of training for children dedicated to climate change and waste management, outdoor school for children and parents with an emphasis on the biodiversity of the protected Rositsa River area, as well as a proposed model to the local municipality to improve the quality of waste collection and disposal and to improve waste management and support poor families. The leading expert of the project has international academic experience and together with the local community will carry out observation and study of demersal invertebrates, amphibians, fish and birds, demonstration of fishing techniques, kayaking along the Rositsa River and contact with local institutions. She will also set an example to young people and the community of local activism and the role of women in science. 

Project Climate Change and Women’s Health, scope: National, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Zornitsa Spasova – 73 points 

The World Health Organization identifies climate change as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century. Several demographic groups are particularly affected – the elderly, low-income people, the chronically ill, children and women, especially pregnant women and those in menopause. Women are more vulnerable due to their physiology, the lower average income, the dependent position in society, the specific activities in the performance of family duties. This project envisages the issuance and publication of a leaflet on Climate Change and Women’s Health based on an overview of current literature sources – scientific publications and WHO materials related to climate change and gender inequality. 

Project Active Children and Parents Against Climate Change, scope: Ruse, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Ivan Belchev – 73 points 

The project aims to illustrate how children and their parents can work together to change the environment for the better, and transfer that to their communities, and thus to counter global climate change. In the form of three thematic events The Garbage We CreateCreating a Playground for Balance and Music and To Keep Bees, which will include games and eco-actions, the participants will be engaged in the topics of climate change, conservation of nature and social inequalities. The project also includes the construction of the first public compost in Ruse and an awareness campaign for separate waste disposal. 

Project Mapping of Sustainable Vacations in Bulgaria: Combine Volunteering and Vacation!, scope Pomorie, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Durankulak, Sofia, value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Tatiana Garkavaya – 69 points 

In many countries, volunteering is a prestigious and respectable activity. Unfortunately, in Bulgaria volunteering is underestimated. According to Eurostat, Bulgaria has the lowest level of formal and informal volunteering in Europe. The project focuses on the participation of different social groups and generations in solving environmental problems through volunteering. An online book and a series of blog posts with a practical application for visiting and promoting “sustainable vacations” in Bulgaria will be created. It will showcase voluntary activities for environmental protection with a focus on the care of bird habitats. The product will include elements based on ethnography, cultural anthropology and eco-semiotics and will be made available to the general public. 

Project Planning Together in Green, scope: Pleven, value: BGN 1426.90, implemented by Veronika Georgieva – 68 points 

The project Planning Together in Green provides for a survey among local communities and training of students in Pleven. The research will focus on assessing the needs and attitudes of local communities for involvement in voluntary activities and initiatives related to climate justice and equality. It will also be presented to the municipality of Pleven. The project also envisages environmental education of young people aged 14-18 through the method of “learning by doing” in several high schools in Pleven. As part of the training, students will learn about the nature of climate justice, waste reduction, participate in an environmental quiz with prizes, recycle and plant trees in their schoolyards, and break the stereotype “young people can’t do anything”. 

Project Policies FOR the Climate, scope: Haskovo value: BGN 1,500, implemented by Milena Trendafilova – 67 points 

The project aims to increase the capacity of representatives of municipalities and NGOs from Haskovo district in implementing effective local policies related to the ability to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change and address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized local communities. Among the main activities is a two-day training for professionals and the community, which will illustrate the social aspects of climate change. 

The media partner of the initiative is the Bulgarian National Radio. 

The program is implemented with the financial support of the Open Society Institute – Sofia Foundation

Photo: Greenpeace 

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