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Learning Action Partnership – Review of Opportunities for Future Collaborations

OAK logoDiscussionSofia, May 16, 2018

New meeting of the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) was held on May 16, 2018 in Sofia. The participants made a review of what was done in the period between the last meeting up to now and discussed new working opportunities for the network.
Ventzislav Kirkov, BFPA Program Manager and President of the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID) presented the work of the Platform in the context of the Bulgarian Presidency of Council of EU, focusing his presentation at priority 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Different editions and initiatives of the LAP members were presented at the meeting. A proposal for collaboration with a Resource Centre against Sexual Violence in Concordia University in Montreal was discussed. The conception on working of the recently established ad hoc coalition on prevention of domestic violence and violence against women was presented shortly. LAP members were invited to apply for participation in the training for building narrative skills “Changing the narrative” organized by BFPA in October 2018 in Sofia with trainers form Columbia University.

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„Condom with a Cause” with a Video to Support Health

Sofia, April 11, 2018

The campaign for responsible sexual behavior of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) and Sexwell condoms “Condom with a Cause” (in BG) continues fundraising for buying quick tests, testing and counseling people in need. The launch of a video aiming to attract and engage more people to support the cause took place on April 11, 2018.
The only way to prevent ourselves from sexual transmitted infections and to save our reproductive system is to have responsible sexual behavior.  

                                                         
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BFPA in the training team at the NCCTHB Volunteer Academy 2018

CertificatesArbanasi, March 26-28, 2018

From March 26 to 28 in the village of Arbanasi, Veliko Turnovo region, took place the annual Volunteer Academy organized by the National Commission for Combattling Trafficking in Human Beings together with the Hanns Seidel Foundation  and the Local Commission for Combattling Trafficking in Human Beings – Veliko Turnovo. This year special focus in the academy agenda is given to the prevention of trafficking for labor exploitation. The training brought together 52 young volunteers that work with the Local Commissions in Burgas, Blagoevgrad, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Montana, Pazardjik, Pleven, Plovdiv and Sliven – some have not received training yet, some have been trained and themselves have implemented peer-to-peer trainings, and some are youngsters from vulnerable communities who were part of the focus groups formed during the labor trafficking prevention campaign.

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Development Cooperation in Times of Changing Paradigms

PanelSofia, March 21-22, 2018

The Regional Conference "Development Cooperation in Times of Changing Paradigms" organized by the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID) took place on 21-22 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria and brought together over 100 representatives of CSOs, institutions, UN agencies and business from the Western Balkans and the Black sea region. The conference organizers were also hosting the meeting of Hub2 of CONCORD – the European network of National Platforms and networks active in the field of development policies. BFPA is one of the most active organizations of the Platform, a founding member and a moderator of the health group that attracted to the Conference its valuable partners frоm the Western Balkans.

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For women’s rights

MaterialsThroughout the country, March 8, 2018

BFPA starts a campaign with coffee fortune slips in the month of March. The campaign provokes people to think on the relevance every woman and girl to have equal access to family planning information and services.

• Ensure stable future for yourself, in order your children to have bright future;
• You can make the choice to be happy;
• Health, happiness, knowledge, comfort…;
• Children are not expected to give birth to children! Let’s support the most vulnerable;
• Early pregnancy is risky for the health, the life and the professional realization. Everyone must have the right to make a choice;
• We can’t change the whole world at once, but we can start with something small, changing the life of thousands;
• All children have potential; let’s give them the chance to develop it.

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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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