16 Projects will Receive Funding under BFW’s Breath of Fresh Air Program

  •  July 13, 2022

The submitted projects are part of an internal competition announced for those who participated in the first-ever “Clean Air Academy,” bringing together 25 activists and local community leaders from 14 cities and villages. 

The participants in the Academy within the “Breath of Fresh Air” program had the opportunity to learn from top experts on air quality and enrich their knowledge on its impact on different areas of our lives, with a focus on the effects on women, children and vulnerable groups. All attendees were invited to apply for funding from BFW for up to BGN 2000 with which to implement their project idea for improving air quality. 

We received 22 applications which were reviewed by BFW’s team – Alexandra Stankova, Project Manager; Gergana Kutseva, Deputy Director; Zara Ranceva, Communications and Fundraising Specialist. 

The evaluation criteria were: the quality of the relationship between the described objectives and the means to achieve them; the innovativeness of the proposed messages/activities/campaigns; whether there is an intersectional approach/intersectionality of the issues related to air quality and women’s and children’s rights; whether the needs of vulnerable groups are addressed; whether the project involves and develops the community where there is poor air quality and awareness remains low; whether the budget is realistic; whether the project builds coalitions and creates potential for mobilization 

16 projects submitted by 8 organisations and 12 participants in the “Clean Air Academy”, from 11 cities and villages with a focus on partnerships between some of them, were approved. The committee evaluating the applications decided to reallocate some of the funds provided by the Clean Air Fund donor and increase funding for project ideas with the greatest potential for impact. 

We are excited to share with you which the 16 winning projects are:  

1. Blue Sky for Everyone – research, value: 2000 BGN, implemented by Dr. Zornitsa Spasova

“Blue Sky for Everyone” is a project of the Bulgarian Platform of the European Women’s Lobby, Dr. Zornitsa Spasova and the BlueLink Foundation, which will partner to produce an information brochure, produce a short video, hold discussions and raise the knowledge and sensitivity of young people, local community representatives and local authorities regarding the impact of polluted air on women’s health.

Based on research from around the world, Dr. Spasova will prepare information and conduct research on the most common diseases among women and children as a result of polluted air. 

2. Blue Sky for Everyone – video, value: 3000 BGN

Based on the research conducted by Dr. Spasova, the BlueLink Foundation will prepare a short video that will present the information using short interviews with women and girls whose health has deteriorated and/or had problems as a result of living in areas with polluted air. The video will reflect on the role of women in civil movements for clean air, referring to the women’s protest in Ruse in 1987 and a short interview with women from the Breathe Devnya Association.

3. Blue Sky for Everyone – discussions, value: 2500 BGN.

After the implementation of the first 2 stages of the project initiative, the Bulgarian Platform – EWL will organize discussions on women’s health and polluted air in two locations. During the discussions, a lecture will be presented by Dr. Spasova and the video made by the BlueLink Foundation will be screened. Discussions will be held with junior high and high school students, local government representatives, civic organizations, parent-teacher collectives, media, and business representatives. Participants from the “Clean Air Academy” and organizations working to address air pollution will also be invited. Discussions will end with concrete proposals to combat polluted air that will be shared with local government representatives.

4. Clean air – Clean Future, value: 2000 BGN

“Clean Air – Clean Future” is a project of the People’s Community Centre “Umenie” in Yambol, aiming to implement a volunteer initiative in the city to create hedges, plant ornamental living models and arches of different plants. The project presents the importance and benefits of herbal plants and the ways to maintain clean indoor air by vacuuming with a hepa filter. Another objective of the project is the construction of a bicycle playground to educate children and parents about the rules of road safety (RRS). Guest participants in the implementation of the project activities will be representatives of the municipal management, BCC experts, traffic police officers, OSH teachers and demonstrators of indoor air purification systems. 

5. The Start is Green, value: 3000 BGN.

Breathe Devnya Association’s project aims to involve mothers with children in important green causes by providing a friendly environment where to build community and realize their power to stand up for their rights. The project aims to support mothers in acquiring skills such as filing reports and complaints to institutions regarding polluted air and the environment, as well as involve young people in the activities. Some of the interesting activities of the initiative will be a green school, a green celebration, trainings, etc. “The Start is Green” project will give confidence to the local people about the positive transformation of the environment and will help the local government to notice the problems of mothers and children and subsequently to engage in resolving them. 

6. Play Climate Change, value: 2000 BGN.

“Play Climate Change” is an educational project of Ecological Manifesto – ManEco, aiming to increase knowledge on the topic of clean air among women, mothers and youth in Sofia. The project will be implemented through a series of presentations and playing a science-based activity game “Climate Fresco”. The game will focus on explaining the cause-effect relationships of climate change and better understanding the human role in these processes. Some of the communities that will contribute to the successful dissemination of the project are the Environmental University Clubs of the UNWE and Sofia University “St.. Kliment Ohridski, the youth volunteer movement “Young Caritas” and others. 

7. Friends of the Earth – Clean Air, Healthy Future, value: 2000 BGN

The “Friends of the Earth” project, through the “Clean Air, Healthy Future” campaign, aims to raise public awareness in Sofia about the link between air quality and children’s health both in the prenatal period and after birth. The project will give visibility to these issues, informing the most affected groups – mothers with children and pregnant women. This will be done by building a landing page for the campaign, producing an e-book on the link between air quality and children’s health, organising a competition for parents and children for the first day of school, and planning, recording and distributing a podcast about the “Clean Air, Healthy Future” campaign.

8. “Fresh Air Bus Stop”, value: 3000 BGN.

The project “Fresh Air Stop” of the “World of the Future” Association aims to transform a bus stop in the municipality of Tryavna, which with its unconventional appearance will attract the attention of citizens and passers-by. The bus stop will serve not only as a new and ecological facility for people using public transport in the city, but also as a source of information on the topic of air quality. Brochures and information boards will be provided for this purpose. Information will also be available in local newspapers, the association’s information portal, regional media and the association’s official social networks. Professionals such as a designer, photographer, ecologist and biologist will contribute to the successful implementation of the project.

9. Establishment of a Green Classroom for Mothers and Children, value: 4000 BGN.    

The project of “Hayachi” Association aims to create a green day-care centre for mothers and children in the “Druzhba” neighbourhood in Novi Pazar – a place for rest and trainings. The space will provide a safe friendly environment dedicated to mothers with children, but also accessible to young people who want to develop their interests related to the environment and community development. The project also aims to involve neighborhood residents in the process of building the space – painting, decorating, planting flowers with the children. The newly constructed “Green Classroom” is also planned to provide training for girls and youth on clean air advocacy activities. These activities will be accompanied by an information campaign, and information about the initiative will be available on the “Hayachi Association” website and Facebook page.

10. Act Locally, Impact Globally, value: 2000 BGN

The project “Act Locally, Impact Globally” is an initiative of the Institute for Health Activities and Technologies, which will be implemented in the cities of Plovdiv and Kuklen. Using an educational program, the project aims to stimulate civic activity among the local community of young people on the topic of air quality. Educational activities will focus on increasing knowledge about health problems caused by poor air quality with an emphasis on reproductive problems in women. Knowledge will be shared through accessible and engaging games to connect youth to the issue.

11. Walk for Clean Air, value: 2500 BGN. Implemented by Helena Hujeck

“Walk for Clean Air” is a project that uses tourism infrastructure and educational methods and will be implemented in the towns of Tryavna, Veliko Tarnovo and the surrounding villages. The aim of the project is to raise awareness about polluted air by placing information boards around four popular tourist routes and by presenting the “travelling exhibition” of the artist Desislava Ganeva. Besides the educational aspect, the project aims to promote healthy living and sustainable development. The activity will reach out to youth communities, but will also reach the general public, due to the tourist routes visited and the presentation of the exhibition around the summer festivals. 

12. We Can Be ECO, value: 2000 BGN, implemented by Evelina Arabadjieva

“We can be ECO” is a project that aims to raise the environmental awareness among the population of the village of Gorni Domlian and the surrounding villages by encouraging them to protect the environment and clean air through green practices. The project will include activities such as an information campaign, participation in a board game aimed at protecting the air against pollution, organizing campaign to clean polluted areas, an eco-walk in nature, a bicycle race, etc. The “For the Earth” Association and local authorities will contribute to the successful implementation of the project. 

13. Smolyan Breaths, value: 2000 BGN, implemented by Manoela Georgieva

“Smolyan Breathes” is a project in partnership with the youth NGO Young Improvers for Youth Development, which aims to create engagement among citizens in relation to air quality and to normalize the idea of using a bicycle as an alternative means of transport that protects nature. The project’s activities will include an awareness campaign, installing bike racks, and conducting a bike tour around the city – all with the aim of encouraging bike use and reducing harmful emissions from cars. The target groups of the project are the youth communities, but also the whole population of the city.

14. Networked Civil System for Sensor Monitoring of air Pollution with Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), value: 3000 BGN, implemented by Roman Rachkov.

The project aims to provide an alternative source of information on the levels of harmful emissions of nitrogen dioxide in the air emitted from various sources and to warn citizens about the dangers of pollution. To measure nitrogen dioxide levels, mobile mini-emission stations will be designed, assembled and delivered to seven locations. They will be operated by female activists, members of the network, who after the measurements will be able to inform the local communities about the levels and sources of pollution in the covered settlements – Veliko Tarnovo, Devnya, Plovdiv, Ruse and Burgas – part of the “Bulgaria Breathes” network. The developed software and hardware will be open source and will be shared for free use by anyone interested to replicate them in other localities in the country. 

15. #NoSmoke campaign, value: 3000 BGN, implemented by Tanya Dimitrova

The project will be implemented in partnership with the “For the Earth” Association and is a media campaign aimed at inspiring the citizens of Sofia to become part of the solution to the problem of polluted air. The campaign asks citizens to share a photo on Facebook and Instagram with the message #NoSmoke – for example using a bike or public transport as an alternative to driving in the city. The project aims to attract media personalities to join the #NoSmoke life and spread the word. 

16. Think Green, value: 2000 BGN, implemented by Veselka Stoyanova

The project aims to raise the awareness among young people in the Shumen region about air pollution. A questionnaire will be developed to explore awareness among different target groups regarding air pollution issues. Within the project mentors and trainers will hold a seminar with the participation of students from the Faculty of Artillery, Air Defence and KIS of the National Artillery University “V. Levski”, Shumen and “Sava Dobroplodni” high on the topic of air pollution. 

Congratulations to all the awarded projects. We are looking forward to seeing them come to life! 

The program is funded by the Clean Air Fund.   

“Breath of Fresh Air” by the Bulgarian Fund for Women aims to increase the activity of citizens, especially women and vulnerable groups who are most affected by polluted air in order to increase knowledge about the impact of poor air quality and to mobilize local communities to address the issue.

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