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First field activities under the Project “My Body, My Rights”

Group photoSofia, Montana, Yambol, February 18-28, 2019

 Partners in the project ‘My Body, my Rights’ (2018–2021) gathered in Sofia on February 25 and 26, 2019 to exchange experience and information. The initiative for health care, information and services for vulnerable people from marginalized families is implemented in Sofia, Yambol and Montana. The meeting gathered the team of BFPA, local project coordinators and health mediators form the three locations, as well as municipalities representatives.
So far, the project team conducted 24 focus groups in the three project locations Montana, Sofia and Yambol - 6 in each one. Participants in the focus groups were girls and boys aged 12-15, 16-25 and over 25 years old. The aim is to explore the attitudes of young people in the communities (especially marginalized groups) towards the family planning services offered and whether they can take independent decisions about their reproductive health.

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Coffee and Condom with a Cause

CampaignFebruary 14, 2018

Everyone choses which of the holidays to celebrate on February 14th. Wine complements love perfectly, especially shared with real friends.
We from BFPA and Sexwell Condoms wink at you together with your coffee today: create your  own unforgettable moments, but do not forget our message:
#THINKwithYOURhead
We honor Saint Valentine and Triffon Zarezan so that to mention the day of people in love, wine and vines in a nontraditional way, but still with care for health in the frame of our campaign Condom with a Cause.

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The first module of the Sofia Academy for peer educators was finalized successfully

AttendeesLozen, February 4-6, 2019

3,2,1, GO! The “Health Education” Youth Academy is officially under way. On February 4th at the Bulgarian Red Cross’s training and logistics center in the village of Lozen young people from 5 schools in Sofia (1st Secondary school, 1st ELS, 144th Secondary school, 119th Secondary school and the PSTFD) and their school councils began their education on topics vital for growing up, such as: changes during puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted and blood-transmitted infections, prevention of HIV, family planning and contraception, sexual and reproductive health, addictions prevention, etc. The initiative relies on the method that has proven itself most successful with time – peer education. The Academy trainees will learn how to create and disseminate specific to the auditorium health messages, how to be most convincing in their communication with their class- and schoolmates and which interactive methods they could use when sharing knowledge – all this in three educational modules after which there will be a public presentation of the acquired knowledge and perceived skills. The team of young people from the 35th secondary school will join them in the second module, having already passed the first one.

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New Year, new training opportunities

Interactive training moduleSofia, January 2019

From the beginning of 2019 BFPA provides new training opportunities: Interactive trainings 1 ½ - 3 hours in the organization premises for groups of 6 to 15 people and for 15 to 30 participants to other working spaces. Details and confirmation at least 5 days before event is needed. Sessions can be conducted on the following languages: Bulgarian, English, French, Russian. Here are some of the proposed modules:

Topic: Delivering health messages

Appropriate for schools students and for young people who are or want to be peer educators in the field of health and sexuality education.
One, two or three from the following can be chosen (by choice):
- Communicative skills. Team building
- Puberty changes
- Hygiene
- Contraception and Family Planning
- Sexually transmitted infections including HIV
- Prevention of trafficking of human beings
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The shared knowledge: Peer-to-peer education

Fire on air showStara Zagora, December 17, 2018

Students, trained by BFPA in peer education, made a memorable presentation for their schoolmates and teachers on the topic of human trafficking. Alex Stefanova, Mitko Draganov, Yulia Sabandjieva and Rumen Balashov from the Romain Rolland Foreign Language High School in Stara Zagora demonstrated their good presentational skills in front of an audience of tenth-graders and impressed with their enthusiasm to share knowledge on socially significant topics, and namely - on topics concerning the health and well-being of young people. The young BFPA volunteers managed to lay out the types of potential threats that may cause involvement in trafficking for sexual exploitation and also to discuss how a person might fall in the trap through emotional attachment, which are the signs that an ad could be fake and may lead to labour exploitation; why people should be alert, and about the attention they should pay when communicating and sharing online.

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‘My Body, My Rights’: Health Mediators form Yambol Municipality about their work in State of Emergency Conditions

Yambol, May 2020

The parents are unemployed. Several days ago one of the brothers has come from abroad, unfortunately with no money. All the family does not have the right to go out of home. They all are quarantined. One day while she is working in her cabinet Kina Asenova is hearing a kid crying on the street. She is going out to see what is happening and sees the family’s six-year old child shaking on the ground and screaming. She finds out that the boy wants a snack very much and the family cannot afford that kind of expense... She goes to the shop, buys a box of the snacks and gives it them. ‘The next day we started distributing food. We gave it away without judging people’s race. We give as well for mentally disabled and people with different diseases’.
Kina is health mediator from 2008, but she works with people on different projects from the 2000s. People trust her. Her colleagues – Atanaska Mutafova, Asen Stoyanov, Atanas Atanasov, Ivan Ivanov and the mediators from Tundja Municipality daily do work in the villages Kukorevo, Kozarevo, Veselinovo, Drazhevo, Hadjidimovo. They work all day long, even on weekends. ‘Since Bulgaria declared state of emergency because of the Covid pandemic we are every day on the field, we give information on the infection, explain them why it’s important to stay at home. We are tracking people who came back from abroad and we make sure that they follow the quarantine guidelines. We have such people in almost every village.’

 
‘My Body, My Rights’ – Successes and Challenges

Health mediators from Montana, Bulgaria, and their work in state of emergency
Montana, March-May 2020

Peter Cvetanov, Sonya Rumenova and Valya Alexandrova are health mediators in Montana Municipality. The three of them as a team are implementing activities part of the project of Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) – ‘My Body, My Rights’ (2018–2021). In addition to their municipality, pilot work is being done in two other locations in Bulgaria: Yambol and Sofia. The project is implemented in partnership with organizations from Serbia and Romania, with the coordinating role of International Planned Parenthood Federation and is supported by the programme for social responsible business of the company MSD via their campaign ‘MSD for Mothers’. Main goal of the initiative is to improve the conditions for ensuring quality of family planning services for vulnerable communities and to build capacity and civil responsibility within the communities.
Sonya in a health mediator from 2013. She graduated economics, married with two children: a boy and a girl: ‘Several years ago Roma women from the neighborhood didn’t see doctors for prophylactics. Part of them were not insured, others simply were living with their prejudices and fears. We had two obstetrics-gynecologists as part of the Bulgarian-swiss cooperation program ZOV. They were visiting the health center in the neighborhood according to schedule. Then we decided to form local women’s group for self support, where initially timidly, but afterwards more confidently we started talking about examinations, contraception, family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections... The women from the group started little by little to shake off their fears.’ They just made progress and the activities on project ended. Only  mediators remained in the health center. And then for them new opportunity arose via the project ‘My Body, My Rights’. ‘It gave us the opportunity to continue just on time. The group for self support is developing; the health center in the neighborhood is alive again.’ Sonya succeeded to motivate a poor mother of nine children for IUD insertion. Before that she tried many times, but without any success. ‘I think that she was mostly afraid of being damaged by IUD. Now I know for sure that my long-term working with this woman was not in vain.”

 
Learning Action Partnership: Efforts for Guaranteed Sustainability

Sofia, February 12, 2020

The first for 2020 meeting of the Learning Action Partnership took place in Sofia on February 12, 2020. The agenda included review of activities done on project up to the moment, fixing of concrete future activities and defining small working groups for the different strategic directions.
Representatives of organizations and institutions who participated shared their working plans and the possibility of inclusion of other LAP members in joint activities. Part of the feedback was connected with the increase of fake news, including on priorities of the Partnership. The atmosphere of the event was businesslike, but with extremely well expressed solidarity and good collaboration feeling. In the debates during the meeting important actual topics were covered, such as increasing media and digital literacy of children and challenges, which we are meeting in our work with teachers with long practice on certain age and with burnout. Forming network of children and young people with innovative model of managing was discussed, which will aim decreasing the aggression of children under residential care. How to focus our work so that the efforts put to have guaranteed sustainability; science and research approach and regional and national level partnerships; the need to work together to change the environment – were among topics discussed during the event.

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