11 New Initiatives to Focus on Climate and Gender Justice, funded by the Bulgarian Fund for Women

  •  September 1, 2021

A series of initiatives are being implemented from across the country as part of the Climate and Gender Justice Program of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. The program enables the participation of active people and leaders from local communities in the protection of the planet, overcoming climate change and social inequalities. The initiative raises awareness of the intersections between equality and climate justice, encourages civic participation and involves local communities and activists to tackle the problem. 

The BFW program consists of two parts – theoretical and practical. In the first stage, after the announcement of an open competition in March 2021, in which 34 applications were received from 14 different cities, 20 participants were selected to participate in a three-day training led by national and international experts. The second phase started after the training with the announcement of a competition 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 together implement an initiative that addresses climate change and overcoming social inequalities. 

11 of the 17 submitted projects were ranked for funding by Bulgarian Fund for Women. They are implemented by local activists and community leaders, who are currently conducting a series of events, actions, advocacy and volunteer activities in various cities in the country in the period of August – December. 

Find out more about the initiatives and get involved in those that take place near your locality or in which you recognize yourself the most as an active citizen! 

Asenovgrad – Project Old CLothes, New Life, implemented by Vladimir Geshev 

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 information campaign online; 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 of clothes, 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 clothes and second-hand clothes. 

Botevgrad – Project Climate Justice Map, implemented by Radostina Vuteva 

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 global climate change as a political and ethical issue. Participants will propose concrete local solutions to prevent the effects of climate change, considering 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. Join the event Map of Climate Justice in Botevgrad, which will be held from 1 to 3 September 2021 in the community center “Hristo Botev 1884” in Botevgrad. 

Nikyup, Veliko Tarnovo – Project Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Habits in Children and Development of Responsible Attitude Towards the Environment in the Local Community, implemented by Helena Hudjek 

The motto of the project is Think Globally, Act Locally! and touches on the topic of climate change and its impact on local communities, with a focus on children. Training for children dedicated to climate change and waste management, Green 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 trainer 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. They will also set an example to young people and the community of local activism and the role of women in science. The first event “Green School by the River” is held on September 4 in the village of Nikyup, and the next – “Children against Climate Change” will take place on September 11, 2021. Here you can hear an interview with Helena Hudjek in the Municipal Radio of Veliko Tarnovo. 

Bulgaria – Project Climate Change and Women’s Health, implemented by Zornitsa Spasova  

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. The female sex is vulnerable due to the more fragile physiology, the lower average income, the dependent position in the 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. 

Pomorie, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Durankulak, Sofia – Project Mapping of Sustainable Vacations in Bulgaria: Combine Volunteering and Vacation!, implemented by Tatiana Garkavaya 

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 ecosemiotics and will be available to the general public. 

Pleven – Project Planning Together in Green, implemented by Veronika Georgieva 

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”. 

Rudozem, Chepintsi, Madan and Smolyan – Project Summer Camps for Climate and Gender Justice through Camping in the Rhodope Mountains, implemented by Valentin Kehayov The 

The 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 happened in a fun and informal way, while the young people joined a tent camp in the area near the village of Mogilitsa, Smolyan region. The organization of the youth camp in nature aims to increase the interest and knowledge of young people about social inequalities and climate justice. The training was attended by young people from the informal youth community of Smolyan, as well as young people from all over the region, including vulnerable groups. See photos from the camp here: 

Ruse – Project Active Children and Parents Against Climate Change, implemented by Ivan Belchev 

The project aims to illustrate how children and their parents can work together to change the environment for the better, and thus their communities, and thus to counter global climate change. In the form of three thematic events “The garbage we create”, “Creating a playground for balancing and music” and “To have bees”, which will include games and eco-actions, will be interested in the topic 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. The first event “Games and sports for the whole family” is held in Ruse on August 28, 2021. Get involved! 

Sofia, Yagodina, Smolyan – Equal to Climate Project, implemented by Vihren Mitev 

The Equal to Climate Project focuses on the need to promote actions to help empower those most affected by climate change. justice for women and the elderly 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. Here are photos from the first event in mid-August, in which volunteers Young Caritas helped elderly families build eight new drip irrigation systems and work on daily tasks such as chopping wood. See here: 

In the next action, held on July 22 and 23, volunteers from Young Caritas, experts from Vitosha Park and a group of scouts from France organized volunteer action in the Simeonovski Lakes area. They refreshed the lane markings from the border of the Park to the low-mountain bypass path, cleaned the regulated hearths of the recreation areas and varnished 2 bridges and the shelter shed in the area. See photos from the action here: 

Sofia – Project “Together we can! Association for Social and Environmental Justice ”, implemented by Stoyo Tetevenski 

The project addresses the need for a cross-cutting 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 Plan for Recovery and Sustainability until 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 the ways of engagement; communication with government officials. 

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 stakeholders, which will illustrate the social aspects of climate change. 

Haskovo – Project Policies FOR the Climate, implemented by Milena Trendafilova 

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. 

Media partner of the initiative: Bulgarian National Radio 

Here you can hear an interview with Rada Elenkova from BFW on the occasion of recruiting participants for the program Climate and Gender Justice. 

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

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