Civil Sector is the Guarantor for the Assertion of Democratic Values, Experts Agree
The civil sector is the guarantor for the assertion of democratic and European values. Experts from non-governmental organizations agreed on this during the event “Values in Action: Sustainable Civil Sector for a Democratic and European Bulgaria”, organized by Bulgarian Fund for Women (BFW), the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL), and Impact Drive Foundation.
The event marked the beginning of a series of initiatives for the provision of financial support and capacity-building opportunities among civil sector organizations, which will be provided under the BIRDS in BG project of BFW, BCNL and IDF, with a total value of nearly BGN 5.5 million.
Representatives of four non-governmental organizations that started their activities from the position of newly registered, with short project history and small budgets, and grew into sustainable organizations with teams and strategic plans to achieve social change shared their experience with the guests. Marina Kisyova de Heus from the “Ekaterina Karavelova” Foundation, Denitsa Lyubenova from the Youth LGBTI organization “Deystvie” and Diana Radoslavova from the “Center for Legal Assistance – Voice in Bulgaria”, to whom BFW provides funding for administrative and organizational needs (core funding), as well as Ventseslava Kozhuharova from the Environmental Association “For the Earth”, with whom the Fund works in partnership on capacity-building initiatives, shared about their experience in defending European values and the difficulties they face along the way.
They confirmed the need for support for the civil sector that will provide it with both financial stability and capacity-building opportunities to meet challenges and attacks, do advocacy, plan long-term and strategically, do monitoring, communications, etc.
During the “Values in Action” event, the partner organizations BFW, BCNL and IDF presented the collaborative initiative “BIRDS in BG”, the goal of which, in the next two and a half years, is to provide exactly such 360-degree support that meets the recommendations and specific needs of civil society organizations in Bulgaria.
“Bulgarian Fund for Women will continue to prioritize organizations that incorporate gender equality and non-discrimination in their approaches, especially in the program for administrative and organizational needs (core funding). For us, this is a way to restore social justice, because studies show that globally only 1% of the funding allocated for topics related to gender equality reaches the organizations defending women’s rights”, explained Gergana Kutseva, Director of BFW. She added that two more funding programs are planned within the project. Find out more about them here.
The various capacity-building opportunities within BIRDS in BG have been designed following the partners’ philosophy that it is inextricably linked to the provision of financial support. BCNL and IDF unite their efforts and long-term experience to organize various academies, trainings, consultations and mentoring on topics such as legal framework, strategic planning, communications, work with European values, etc. Some of the planned activities will also be open to the general public.
“In 3 years we want civil society organisations in Bulgaria to know the legal framework concerning the sector, to be financially sustainable, to lead the change for the better and to be prepared to face all attacks,” said Aylin Yumerova, Program Director at BCNL.
“We will cover NGOs of various sizes and stages of organizational development. Everything we plan is tailored to the specifics of your work. That is why we will ask you – to ensure that our efforts are pointed in the right direction”, specified Teodora Ivanova, founder of Impact Drive.
For more information about the upcoming initiatives within the BIRDS in BG project, follow the communication channels of BFW, BCNL and IDF. A special page with information about the project is about to be created.
Photo source: Emil Metodiev.
BIRDS in BG project is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.