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Learning Action Partnership with its Next Steps

OAK logoFebruary 20 2018, Sofia

The next and first for this year gathering of the members of the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place at February 20th. The working meeting was also the first after the last years’ conference with international participation on topic „The Prevention of Sexual Violence and Sexual Exploitation of Children is Possible”.
Members of National Network for Children, Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Know How Center for Alternative Care of Children of NBU, Applied Research and Communication Foundation, UNICEF, Tulip Foundation, National Network of Health Mediators, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Health, Medicins du Monde, PULSE Foundation, Re-Act Association OAK Foundation, Institute for Social Activities and Practices participated.

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How we celebrate the day of love and wine

Pleven medical studentsSofia-Pleven, February 14, 2018

BFPA traditionally supports different events which mark Feb 14 – the day of people in love and of wine. This is a good day also to talk about prevention, especially with the mood of forthcoming spring and rejuvenation. Valentine gifts go traditionally well with a condom and a health-related message. That is why on Valentine’s day in Pleven our partners – the young people from the Association of medical students held a campaign in the city centre and the shopping malls. They presented a selection of BFPA’s informational materials together with Sexwell condoms as a part of our Condom with a cause/Use your head campaign. Everyone had the opportunity to take a photo in a special big Valentine photo-frame.  
Along with such traditional, yet joyful events at different locations all over the country, BFPA proudly presents the second article from the series, elaborated in cooperation with the “Hope against AIDS” foundation in the AIDS Press blog. The first article came out on an important date for prevention of HIV prevalence – December 1st. It’s logical to continue with the second article on another important date. The subject is more than fundamental – the narrative concerns the 37-year-long history of AIDS in Bulgaria and is about the communication deficiencies and how they affect the correct understanding and dissemination of information which leads to misunderstanding and problems.

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For the civil society

Позиция
на
Българска асоциация по семейно планиране и сексуално здраве

До всички български граждани

Уважаеми дами и господа,

Настоящата позиция на Българска асоциация по семейно планиране и сексуално здраве (БАСП) не е непременно и единствено свързана с фанатичните и фантасмагорични изказвания и публикации от началото на годината насам около понятието „джендър”. БАСП е организация, която работи основно в областта на здравето – превенция, тестване, лечение и пренасочване за редица сексуално и кръвно преносими инфекции, включително ХИВ, повишаване на информираността сред населението по теми, свързани със сексуална експлоатация, превенция на трафик и насилие. Разбира се, особено съществена част от нашата работа е свързана с въпросите на семейното планиране - дейностите ни са насочени основно към общности със затруднен достъп до здравни грижи, необхванати от здравноосигурителната система, като дейността ни е свързана с гинекологични прегледи, контрацептивно осигуряване, превенция на рака на маточната шийка и рака на гърдата, както и общи консултации, проследяване на бременности и насочване към допълнителни услуги в областта на асистираната репродукция и превенцията на стерилитета.

Нашите наблюдения и проучвания, опитът ни на терен от 25 години насам, свързани със семейното планиране и с изграгждането на общностен капацитет, недвусмислено показват, че България е в тежка демографска криза. Тази криза е свързана с огромен брой емигранти в репродуктивна възраст, както и със засилените темпове на урбанизация. В същото време преработвателните предприятия, особено в селските райони, не са достатъчно като брой, нито пък получават съществена помощ за развиването на други външни пазари. В резултат се наблюдават процеси, особено сред уязвимите общности, на връщане към предмодерни отношения, които често са в разрез с общоприетите ценности на българското общество.

Това включва практики, които са далеч от идеята за отговорно родителство, като отпадане от училище, ранни бракове, нарушаващи правата на детето, както и включването на децата в различни форми на експлоатация. Тези явления нарушават идеала за хармоничност на семейните отношения, достойство и взаимно уважение между мъжете и жените. Засилват се тенденциите за неравенство на първо място в семейството, а след това в отделни групи от населението. Това отношение между мъжете и жените прави непълноценни междуличностните отношения и ограничава обществената изява, задълбочавайки допълнително процесите на бедност.

Историческата традиция на страната ни показва, че начините за преодоляване на тези негативни тенденции са свързани както със заетост, така и с образование, основано на ценността на равноправието. Всъщност образованието в такива ценности е истинска инвестиция в бъдещето, създава условия за свобода на избора и реализация. Такава политика е основана на здравия разум, но е и национално отговорна.

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A lot has been said about the Convention, and nothing about the women and children, victims of violence

Sofia, January 19, 2018 

Nearly 200 NGO’s, supported by academics and citizens, unite in support of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul convention) with an open letter:
It would be funny if it wasn’t so cruel. That is how we console each other – we, the people who are not indifferent to day-to-day abuse and who for over twenty years support women, brutally beaten by their husbands and partners, help children who have suffered unthinkable forms of violence, work on legislature changes and improvements so we can save human lives. Because for us every person saved from a life of violence is a huge victory. That is our cause.
A lot of quite outrageous things have been said about the Istanbul convention, but no one mentioned the purpose of the document – namely, the women and children who are victims of violence. No political party or organization mentioned the woman from Okorsh, beaten with a hot plate. The woman from Haskovo, beaten to death. The stabbed woman from Sofia. We did not discuss the babies and children whose mothers live in constant fear for their own lives. Etc, etc….. The political and power confrontation is at the expense of the already dead women. At the expense of Elena and Viola.  At the expense of the children who will live their lives without a mother and with the nightmares of abuse and terror. At the expense of each 1 out of 3 women in Bulgaria, victim of domestic violence whose story does not reach anyone, let alone the media.  At the expense of women seeking help and it is refused to them because “it’s their own fault”. At the expense of those 70% of students between the ages of 13 and 16 who know personally a victim of domestic violence.
The situation benefits the perpetrators. It benefits those who think they have the right of ownership over their wife and children. It benefits those who beat, violate, abuse, isolate, stalk and finally kill their wife or partner. 

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BFPA at 25: Prevention, Education, Health Services, Information and Advocacy

BFPA teamSofia, December 13, 2017

Colleagues, young people, volunteers, friends and partners gathered at December 13, 2017 to celebrate together the 25th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA).
”People are our most valuable and precious resource”, shared Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, BFPA Executive Director. “During the years of our existence we have realized more than 70 macro projects; over 1 million and 500 thousands people received by us health services, informational materials or had been included in trainings and reached by campaigns. During our work we were the first that introduced the interactive methods of training – highly effective for working with different target groups, including in multiethnic environment. Also we introduced in our country the criteria of quality of services and the concept of youth friendly services. We have piloted and we currently use the peer education model, applied also by many other partnering institutions and organizations working with teenagers and vulnerable communities. The concept of mobile services provision in the area of sexual and reproductive health in regions with difficult access is also our achievement.”
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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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