218 000 BGN Distributed by the BFW for Strengthening the Capacity and Strategic Development of 7 Organizations Working for the Rights of Women and Vulnerable Groups

  •  December 21, 2021

BGN 218 000 is the budget of the second Competitive Procedure for funding the organizational and administrative needs (core funding) of organizations working for women’s rights and gender equality in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Fund for Women will support 7 out of 23 organizations that participated in the two phases of the selection to strengthen their capacity, expand their team and develop their activities to support different vulnerable groups of women and girls. The first such competition, which offers flexible funding that organizations can distribute according to their needs, was implemented in November 2020 and supported 5 organizations with nearly BGN 173,000.

The selected applicants for funding in the competitive process realized in 2021 were:

1. LevFem Association (62 points) – a left-wing queer feminist group working against structural and symbolic violence against women, trans and queer people, and representatives of other vulnerable groups. The organization’s main unique focus is increased work towards the recognition of women workers in feminized ‘key’ sectors such as health, education, care work etc. and representatives of marginalized communities with the feminist movement’s aims of championing demands for social justice. They are involved in political education and activist research, publications and mobilizations aimed at sharpening the messages of existing social movements and linking them to feminism, as well as connecting internationally and building solidarity with the international women’s movement. They will receive funding in the amount of 37 000 BGN.

2. Single Step Foundation (59 points) – supports, motivates and empowers young people from the LGBTI community, their parents, friends and supporters, in the process of self-realization, coming out and affirmation of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The focus of their work is to provide nationwide services for individuals, accessible and free support – psychological, legal, career and sexual health-related. Through their space – The Steps provides a platform for LGBTI artists, as well as public formats for the issue to be discussed and normalized. Single Step aims towards long-term supportive policies for LGBTI people regarding their physical and mental health – through advocacy and changes in institutional and legislative frameworks regarding gay men’s health (HIV program) and trans people. They will receive funding of 34 000 BGN.

3. Indi-Roma 97 Social Foundation (58 points) – established in the summer of 1997 by people from the Roma community in Kuklen, Plovdiv region. Their mission is of cultural and educational activities among Roma families, fighting unemployment by creating new employment opportunities, and overcoming traditional stereotypes about the role of minority women in labour and social processes. Through various programs, they work to prevent and overcome all forms of violence, early marriage, to support young mothers to prevent abandonment and for early childhood development, and to empower Roma women and girls by enhancing their professional and personal competencies. They also develop projects in the intersection of women’s rights and climate change. They will receive funding of 34 200 BGN.

4. Dignita Foundation (57 points) – works for the prevention of human trafficking, advocacy and victim support. The Foundation seeks to counter human trafficking by working with key groups at risk to prevent felonies. The Foundation also seeks to assist victims of human trafficking to restore their dignity by achieving justice for the exploitation they have suffered and their effective reintegration into society. Their long-term goal is to advocate and mobilize communities of professionals at the national level to unite their stands towards policy change and for the sustainability of services for victims of trafficking. They will receive funding of 30 000 BGN.

5. Association “Saffo – Bulgaria” (57 points) – a collective of young lesbian and queer women with different professional and backgrounds who are involved in multiple feminist projects. Their mission is to empower young LGBTI people by building a strong community, and by promoting feminist knowledge. By creating the first feminist media in Bulgaria, they aim to provide a platform and incorporate feminism issues into public discourse, as well as those of anti-racism, advocacy for the LGBTI community, the Roma community, the disabled community, etc. They strive to create and maintain a sustainable community that serves as a safe space for people from marginalized and vulnerable groups. They will receive funding in the amount of BGN 35 400.

6. Women’s Club “Rodopchanka” (55 points) – works to promote and protect the rights of women, girls and disadvantaged and marginalized groups in all ten municipalities of the Smolyan region, including the most remote villages. It supports the social integration and personal realization of women and stimulates their active participation in public life through various public events, trainings and platforms for expression, as well as through research and analysis. It carries out advocacy at a local level and works to create a peer network of supporters based on values such as solidarity, respect for human dignity and human rights and a belief in building a just and equal civil society. They will receive funding of 18 000 BGN.

7. Bibliofem Association (52 points) – a horizontal collective with a mission to distribute and promote women’s history around the world and at home and to raise issues related to the intersection between different struggles for equality and justice. It supports the building of a feminist community in Bulgaria through thematic events and discussion clubs in Sofia and online. Maintains and develops a platform for sharing resources and documenting and promoting women’s history/women’s movements, including through the publication of translated and authored feminist scholarly and artistic texts. They plan to start publishing and to create a physical collection of feminist literature available for sharing for free. They will receive funding of 29,400 leva.

The program team and the Board of Trustees of the Bulgarian Fund for Women confirmed the finalists after a two-phase selection process. For the second round of selection, 11 candidates were invited to develop a detailed strategy for the development of their organization: LevFem Association; Saffo-Bulgaria Association; Rodopchanka Women’s Club; Dignita Foundation; Bibliofem Association; Indi-Roma 97 Social Foundation; Single Step Foundation; Bulgarian Platform to European Women’s Lobby; Kazanlak Women’s Association; Youth and Civic Initiatives in the Rose Valley Association; Gender Education, Research and Technology Foundation.

The applications were evaluated on a number of criteria, including intersectional approach/ intersectionality of social inequalities, strategic planning and capacity for advocacy, the potential for social change, capacity for community mobilization, degree of knowledge of feminist discourse and contribution to the development of the women’s movement in Bulgaria, participation of vulnerable groups in the decision-making processes of the organization, budget diversification, etc. Among the priorities of the competition were also organizations that operate outside Sofia or work on a national level, newly formed and those with limited resources and an annual budget of less than BGN 50 000. Online meetings were also held with representatives of the organizations to discuss the goals, indicators of success, budget items, vision and opportunities for additional support.

The final funding decision was approved by the BFW Board of Trustees based on recommendations made by the Fund’s program team.

Thank you to everyone who participated with their concepts in this initiative! We wish success to the organizations that were not selected for funding and look forward to their applications in one of our next calls for proposals. Keep an eye on our website regularly for more information.

This competition has been made possible by the financial support and trust of Mama Cash, Sigrid Rausing Trust and Draft Kings.

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