Active Communities for Development Alternatives

Programme Active Civic Participation and Leadership – Second Module

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

From January 14th to 17th, 2016 in Sofia was held the second module of the training "Programme Active Civic Participation and Leadership" developed by Platform AGORA and the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" within the project „Life Changing Challenges". The focus during the second module of the Programme was on the various forms of direct democracy on local level, the interaction between communities and local authorities, efficient models for consultations with the citizens, civil society organizations participation into the decision and policy making process, stakeholders' analysis, negotiations and volunteering.

The first training day started with small groups' work where the trainees presented their "homework" - building „Tree of problems" for their respective community problem and got feedback on the process. The day ended with going through the steps of civil society organizations participation into the policy making process on local level.

The next day Citizen Participation Index was presented by Iva Taralejkova, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Citizen Participation Forum (CPF). The Index results impressed the trainees and they were encouraged to learn more about its methodology. The measurement of the Citizen Participation Index in the respective municipality provided opportunity to formulate reccommendations for improving the environment, activity and the effect of citizen initiatives. It is invaluable as one can compare the scores of their municipality with the scores of other municipalities as well as their findings and recommendations.

Dr.Atanas Slavov, lecturer at Sofia University "St.Kliment Ohridski" and founder of Foundation „Institute for Direct Democracy" presented the forms of direct democracy on local level - local referendum and local civic initiative. The procedures were explained and concrete examples of already organized and held local referendums were mentioned.

Special guest during the second training module was Mrs. Lilia Hristova, Ombudsman of Sofia who communicated with the participants her valuable experience and provoked their interest to the functions of the Ombudsman institution on local level.

The third day of the training, the participants learnt more about the efficient models for consultation with citizens from Mrs. Daniela Simeonova, Programme Director at Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza". A survey done by the school in 2015 was presented about the existing consultative councils and internet forms of civic participation in Bulgaria, as well as the analysis of European practices on public consultations and the models that could be applied in Bulgaria. More specifically the practical steps for consultations with NGOs and models of consultative councils and internet consultation were shared.

Mrs.Slaveya Hristova, Vice-Chair of the Board of "Balkan Assist" Association draw participants' attention to specific examples of Community Consultative Councils as an adequate form for consultation with citizens and stakeholders.

Platform AGORA's experience and the "AGORA approach" applied in working with local communities was shared by Mrs. Emilia Lissichkova, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of AGORA as a efficient form of interaction on local level.

Contribution to the topic of interaction on communities - local authorities had Mrs. Spaska Petrova from Association "Nov pat", Hairedyn.

During the afternoon session Mrs. Albena Komitova, negotiations and conflict resolution with mediation trainer explained to the participants how they had to prepare for negotiations, presented the different negotiation approaches and they had the opportunity to exercise their skills in small groups work afterwards. The case work made them find their joint interest, to generate various options for agreement and practice interest based negotiation.

The last day of the training was devoted to volunteering and more specifically to the topic of how to inspire volunteers to work for our cause. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of National Alliance for Volunteer Action (NAVA) Foundation, Mrs. Reneta Veneva spoke to the trainees about NAVA's experience pointing out the benefits for youth being volunteers and the reasons we all should support volunteering and its validation.

Platform AGORA and the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitry Panitza" in partnership with 12 Chitalishta from all over the country work for supporting the local communities and leaders in building mechanisms for decision making within the communities, thus increasing the citizens' participation in the decision making process. The project is financed by the NGO Programme under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (2009 - 2014).


This document is created with the financial support of the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Association "Platform AGORA" and can in no way be taken to reflect the official views of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the NGO Programme in Bulgaria.





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