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News

Parents Need Support to Improve their Digital Competencies

OAK LogoOnlineSofia, May 27, 2020

The first online (due to the Covid19 pandemic) meeting of the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place on May 27, 2020. Representatives of BFPA, Loveguide, Tulip Foundation, BYRC, WHO – Bulgaria, Know How Center for Alternative Care of Children of NBU, MLSP, NCCTHB, NCPHA, UNICEF, IOM, GERT Foundation, ARC Foundation, SAPI, PULSE Foundation, Roditeli Association Re-Act Association, WCIF.
The agenda included review of what has been done from the latest meeting of the Partnership up to the moment, sharing the experience of members’ activities in the Covid19 pandemic, discussion for coordinating efforts of the group and maximum using the different resources. The work on developing new web resource platform up to the moment and the ‘small projects’ initiative in the frame of the project ‘The Ability to Change’ were presented. The projects in priority area ‘Changing community attitudes and ‘zero’ tolerance to sexual exploitation of children’ are to start in September.

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

MSD LogoYAMBOL 1 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.’

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‘My Body, My Rights’ – Successes and Challenges

MSD LogoMontana 1Health 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.”

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Learning Action Partnership: Efforts for Guaranteed Sustainability

OAK LogoParticipantsSofia, 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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Most significant change: Documenting stories

MSD LogoParticipantsDolna Banya, January 24-26, 2020

On January 26-28 BFPA organized a meeting of the teams working on the project „My body, my rights” from Sofia, Yambol and Montana. Representatives of the three locations shared their experiences from the implemented field activities. We discussed problems which health mediators, self-help group members and their partners face and paid special attention on possible ways and strategies for solving. Participants put accent on good practices that had been identified up to the moment. It was the perfect time to watch and discuss several videos, showing the fieldwork as well as image “memes” with messages, which show benefits of family planning.
Participants gave feedback also for the freshly prepared Manual for self-support groups and for the Health application for mobile devices, which will be useful in the future work on the project and after its ending. Divided into groups by locations the participants from Sofia, Yambol and Montana worked on possible ways of documenting stories for the most significant change of people’s lives as result of the work of project teams and health specialists.

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Roma are Seeking Jobs Abroad to Support their Families and to Have their Children Better Educated

Sofia, September 30, 2021

The official presentation of the results analysis of the research realized among Roma communities on topics, connected with migration took place on September 30, 2021 in Sofia in person and online. The initiative is a part of the project "Raising the awareness of local communities in areas with significant presence of Roma population on asylum and migration issues", funded under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 through the program of the Ministry of Interior with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as a predefined partner. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) together with the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) and the Minority Health Problems Foundation (EMHPF) is a part of the NNHM-BFPA-EMHPF Consortium, which in April this year started working on the project.
The field research, implemented with the key role of health mediators, covered nearly 400 people and was conducted in the period May 30 - June 30, 2021 in the towns Breznik, Provadia, Trun and Harmanli and in Filipovtsi neighbourhood of Sofia.

 
Podcast ‘Of Rights and People… Because Free People Have Rights

August, 2021, Sofia

The implemented by BFPA project ‘Increasing the capacity of the team, partners and supporters of BFPA in the field of advocacy for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) ended in August 2021. It was funded by the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.
In the frame of the project trainings and discussion meetings took place during which the team of BFPA, together with key partners and supporters, worked for enlarging the knowledge and practical skills to formulate and communicate messages, targeting different publics, and tried different ways of conducting effective dialog in public space. In parallel with this the trainings contributed for the development of analytical skills of the participants in the area of national and international legislation concerning human rights in general and with special focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. PR and Communicative strategy for popularizing messages, connected with the implementation of the main strategies of the association was developed.

 
BFPA team in training of trainers in healthy lifestyle project for PLHIV

Timisoara, August 27-28, 2021

Representatives of seven organizations from six European countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Romania) gathered for a training of trainers in Timisoara on 27 and 28 August 2021. The training is part of the ARIE project, funded by the Erasmus+ of EU, and project main goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in accordance with EU directives and guidelines, which includes healthy nutrition and physical exercises. The Directives mean that PLHIV must be taught how to perform a set of exercises tailored to their condition, whether they’re on antiretroviral therapy or not. The training in Timisoara covered all aspects - approach, physical condition, psychological attitude, the role of coaches, even first aid for the most typical fitness-related injuries.

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