14 Women Activists Took Part in a Training within the BFW’s Equality and Climate Justice Program
Between 12 and 14 April 2022, training was held in Plovdiv as part of the BFW’s Equality and Climate Justice Programme. It was attended by 14 local women community leaders and activists from 11 different locations across the country.
This is the second time that the program is being implemented by the Bulgarian Fund for Women. This edition is supported by Urgent Action Fund. Its aim is to empower active people and leaders from local communities to participate in protecting the planet and addressing climate change. The program aims to stimulate civic engagement in Earth conservation, increase participants’ knowledge of the intersections between equity and climate justice, and engage local communities and activists in addressing the issue.
The three-day training focused on current practical and theoretical knowledge on climate change, intersectionality theory, and equity. It provided an opportunity to meet other community leaders, exchange ideas, and create new partnerships.
The training was facilitated by international and national experts. Madeleine Popignatova, who is a social justice activist and trainer based in Amsterdam, presented on the topic of intersectionality: what is social gender, privilege and identities. Also, she presented the topic “Climate justice: how did we get here and how are women and vulnerable groups affected?” It is well known that women, young people and minority groups are the most affected by climate change and therefore working with them and involving them in addressing climate change and its negative impacts on nature is key.
The facilitator of the training was Vladislav Petkov. He has undergone a practical training program for community organizing in the USA, as well as a training for human rights trainers of the Council of Europe. He has worked on various initiatives to empower young people, Roma and the LGBTI community. He looked after group work and case study development using the design thinking method.
Zornitsa Spasova spoke about climate change, the Bulgarian context and challenges. She is a senior assistant at the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis (NCPHA) at the Ministry of Health. Zornitsa has a PhD in Climatology from Sofia University. Her main research interests are related to the impact of climate change on human health. She is also a participant in the first edition of the training program and passed on her valuable experience related to project application to this year’s participants.
Through the training and the entire program, the Bulgarian Fund for Women focuses on working with local communities at the grassroots level on issues such as air pollution, recycling, heat waves, deforestation, water pollution and women’s participation in policy making on nature conservation and curbing climate change because we believe that communities are the drivers of social change aimed at protecting the environment.
BFW’s Equity and Climate Justice Program consists of two parts – theoretical and practical. The training was the first stage, providing theoretical knowledge about community organizing and the intersections between gender equality and climate justice. In the second stage, the participants in the training have the opportunity to apply for financial support from BFW of up to 2000 BGN to activate their communities and together implement awareness raising, monitoring, advocacy or participatory strategies for their communities in local and national decision-making processes on issues related to gender equality and climate justice.
We share the impressions of one of the participants in the program: ‘I think everything I learned here is very important for us. I want to pass on what I have learned as much as possible and involve more people to work together for us and for the common good. I borrowed many new ideas from the participants, everything I heard would be useful for developing my ideas and how best to implement them.”