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‘My Body, My Rights’: meeting of participants from Yambol, Sofia and Montana

MSD logoParticipantsSimeonovo, Yambol region, August 4-6, 2021

A meeting of the teams, working on our project ‘My Body, My Rights’ took place August 4th and 6th 2021. This time the already traditional meeting was held in the village of Simeonovo and was hosted by the local coordinator Kina Asenova and the colleagues form the Yambol team, working in the villages of Tundja municipality and in “Rayna Khjaginja” district of Yambol. Short review of the activities implemented was made and hard moments by locations, especially during the second and third Covid wave were discussed. The participants from Yambol, Montana, Sofia, working on the project, local partners and institutions as well as the teams of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) and the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) reviewed the needed foreseen activities in order to be more confident in ensuring good results and sustainability. The need for Covid vaccination campaign was underlined.

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July 2021: Reviewing the Strategic Plan and Preparing for LAP Informational Campaign

ParticipantsDolna Banya, 20-23 July, 2021

Two events of main importance for the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place in July 2021 in Dolna Banya. In the beginning of the month was reviewed the Strategic Plan for Action of the network in the context of the dynamic changing political environment. The sociologist Asen Blagoev presented actual data on the social map of the country. One of the important recommendations given to LAP is health education and information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to be wider and regularly presented subject in school curriculum. Prevention of sexual violence and exploitation is a part of the topics, covered in the health and sexuality education wide topic. Up to the moment the knowledge for improving SRH are without stable financing from structural funds via the national budget. In this sense the efforts on advocacy for enlarging SRH in the curriculum of the middle and upper grade remain important for LAP.

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Communication skills, messaging and PR strategy of BFPA

NFM logoGroup photoDolna Banya, June 28-30, 2021

From June 28 to June 30, 2021 тhe team and the management board of BFPA together with key partners of the organization gathered for a second training under the project "Capacity building for advocacy for SRHR", supported by the EEA Financial Mechanism.
Prior to the training, the participants filled out a detailed questionnaire about how they see the organization and its work so far, what are the challenges of the external environment, which audience and which public groups should be introduced to our work.
The emphasis in the training program was upon the development of PR and communication strategy of the organization. Participants discussed the challenges for civil society organizations to speak in a language understood by their target audiences. Appropriate messages from BFPA aimed at different audiences were developed in working groups.

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Launch of the Project ‘Awareness raising of local communities in areas with significant share of Roma population on asylum and migration issues’

Norway Grants logoStart PlevenJune 22, 2021, Sofia
‘Our neighborhood is separated from the town, it has no name. The young people insist on continuing studying. Many of them are abroad. Those who came back are with obviously changed habits’, shares Kadrie from Provadia. 
On June 22, 2021 in the inspiring environment of the University Botanic Garden in Sofia was launched the project ’Awareness raising IOM logoof local communities in areas with significant share of Roma population on asylum and migration issues’. The project is implemented by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in partnership with a Consortium of three organizations - National Network of Health Mediators, Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association and ‘Ethnic Minorities Health Problems Foundation. The three organizations act from decades as one enlarged team and have considerable success in the fields of health prevention and advocacy. Health mediators from Filipovtsi, Breznik, Tran, Provadia and Harmanly, where field project research is held, together with representatives of NGOs, state institutions and embassies took part at the event. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of BFPA, who was also host of a kick-off online project meeting on May 20. 
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Online Meeting of LAP: Low Sensitivity towards Violence in Society Remains a Problem

Re-Act presentationSofia, May 11, 2021

Another virtual meeting of Learning Action Partnership (LAP) members took place on May 11, 2021. The Agenda included presenting of the Analysis of Identifying the key experts and institutions having interest on preventing Sexual Exploitation of Children in the frame of research made by the ‘small’ project of Re-Act Association and following the progress of the other micro projects in the frame of LAP.
Representatives of BFPA, Know How Centre of Alternative Care of NBU, Tulip Foundation, BYRC, SAPI, Association Re-Act, NCCTH, Parents Association, ARC Foundation, NCPHA, WHO Bulgaria and UNICEF participated.
Associated Professor Michail Okolijski presented to participants two projects of WHO focused towards children and young people and their mental and sexual health – HealthBuddy+ and Pocket Guide against Domestic Violence. He also presented Infographics on Positive Parenting, the print edition You are My Hero and the Campaign ‘Bulgaria is Being Vaccinated – Inform Yourself, Get Vaccinated  And Embrace Life!”

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Youth Аdvocacy Тeams for Better Access to Health Services and Information

Banya, August 22-24, 2022

Together with 14 young people from Blagoevgrad, Dupnitsa and Sofia, we worked on implementation of  two campaigns - in Blagoevgrad and Dupnitsa - to support vulnerable communities and improve young people's access to SRH  information and services. The main topics of the training focused on advocacy skills, organizing and conducting local campaigns and how to use “photovoice” method. Examples of already developed campaigns from the previous training in Dolna Banya were also presented.  The idea was to involve new participants in various activities in different locations, as well as to connect young people to help and learn from each other in the process of preparing and implementing advocacy campaigns.
The young people with the help of the health mediators, defined as a problem the poor access to information and health services, ensuring a healthy and fulfilling way of life for the young people from the Roma community in Blagoevgrad. They have the ambition to contribute for raising the public awareness towards these problems in Blagoevgrad, and also to draw the attention of the institutions to the problem.

 
Young People Working to Support Local Communities

Dolna Banya, July, 11-13, 2022

Talks, questions, sharing about the huge gap between how young people define health care problems and how adults see them; about the lack of trust in the institutions regarding their reaction in cases of violence, even for registered ones! We discussed that deep in our national psychologyit is stated that talking about mental health and "shameful" illnesses is not good, when it happens at all it is hidden, superficial and stigmatizing, and thus leads to dramatic complications for people in personal plan. We also talked about the nuances of "advocacy" and "lobbying."
We from the BFPA team think that we are really lucky for working with a group of wonderful young people - from the youth clubs in Pernik and Breznik and from the American University in Blagoevgrad (AUBG). The workshop was held July 11-13, 2022, in Dolna Banya. Our work topics are advocacy and campaigning.

 
How Health Knowledge to Get to Roma Communities

Dolna Banya, July 5-7, 2022

After two days fulfilling work on leadership and advocacy with unbelievable roma young people from Lom, Dupnitsa and Byala Slatina problems in respective communities were identified. Discussions in searching the best decisions were led; image of the target groups and stakeholders was created and the needed communication skills on leading a successful campaign were discussed. Role plays, practical cases and individual video presentations with messages were commented.
The health mediators Tanya Kirilova from Lom, Daniela Ljubenova from Dupnitza and Mirena Bocheva from Byala Slatina are real mentors for the young people from the communities they work for. The three of them, together with Dr. Rada Stamenkova, Pavlina Filipova and Ralitsa Zgalevska from BFPA team actively contributed to support the motivated and well-prepared young people, enthusiastic to advocate for better health of people from their communities. In the coming months the team will continue to work on building their capacity as leaders and to help them with expertise and guidelines.

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