SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.

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Sofia Integration Lab


After completing Sofia Integration Audit, in which over 100 citizens assessed Sofia policies and practices for TCN and migrant integration, Sofia Development Association and RiskMonitor Foundation organized Sofia Integration Lab on October 30 and 31, 2018, in Bankya.

The lab gathered together 18 experts from sectors relevant to integration: employment, education, social sciences, urban development experts, security experts, NGO leaders, TCN and migrant organizations. The participants developed three most plausible scenarios for the upcoming 3 to 5 years regarding TCN in Sofia: their presence, economic and social activity and integration, the capacity of the local community to accept them. For each scenario local governance actions and measures were proposed to allow the city to prepare and face efficiently the upcoming developments.

Sofia Integration Lab scenarios and policy recommendations will be the basis of Sofia Integration Agenda that will be the roadmap for the improvement of Sofia vision and services for third country nationals.

Sofia Integration Lab is part of the INTEGRA project, lead by Sofia Development Association and co-financed by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

       

 

SDA participates in the European cybersecurity month


Why is it important to integrate cybersecurity in educational programmes in schools and universities? What is the role of informal education in this process and in particular innovation camps, hackathons, specialized courses? How can good practices from other areas be transferred to this new field? These were some of the questions discussed at the conference entitled “Cybersecurity in electric mobility and digital transformation of energy infrastructure” on October 26, 2018.

Svetlana Lomeva was a panelist at the conference, organized by the National branch organization of electric mobility. Among the participants were also the European Commissioner on digital economy and society Maria Gabriel, MPs, deputy ministers, mayors, experts.

Dynamic Learning Package in progress


On October 23 and 24, 2018, Sofia Innovation Lab hosted a training of young people with entrepreneurial spirit having a social cause. The participants discussed and practiced the essentials of financial literacy and management - fundraising, crowdfunding, bookkeeping for social causes. The training was organised in partnership with UNICEF. The YIL is established under in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA), http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/newgenerationskills.

Finances4Social Change Sofia Workshop

On October 19, 2018, Sofia Development Association invited 10 social entrepreneurs and experts in the area on the first Finances4Social Change workshop. The event brought together the regional stakeholder group in support of the project, and discussed barriers to scaling up social enterprises, good and bad practices, skills deficits and policy niches.

According to the participants, social entrepreneurship is seen primarily as a response to social needs, badly covered by public and private sector, a factor for social transformation and vocation of social activity. Social entrepreneurs are mostly active in the area of social actions, followed by education and training, personal services, food and social cohesion.

The main challenges social entrepreneurs face are insufficient funding, problematic legal framework and lack of accepted methodology to measure social impact. Entrepreneurs do not consider themselves competitive nationally or internationally. Skill need differ widely from pitching to financial literacy. Training leading up to certification is most preferred.

The workshop findings will be used for the development of region-wide Danube strategy in 2019.

The project is co-financed by the INTERREG DANUBE Programme, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Hungarian Government. More information is available at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/finance4socialchange.

SDA invites you to the presentation of “Electronic Eyes” project

Sofia Development Association invites you today, October 15, the Day of the White Cane, from 4:30 pm, at Tobacco garden, 6A Moskovska Street, to the presentation of “Electronic Eyes” project, supported by SDA.

“Electronic Eyes” is an idea of young people with visual imparities who wanted to be as independent and active as everyone else. Thus the federation “Sport for People with Visual Imparities” launched a campaign to raise funds and awareness that people with disabilities do not need social benefits to be equal to everyone else.

The regional organization of the blind people in Sofia registered around 1 300 members though the number of people with sight problems is much bigger. The big city does not provide supportive environment for orientation to the blind who want to move around unattended. Only some of the sidewalks in the downtown area have tactile lines. Apart from this and the “the talking subway” and some “talking bus stops” the city is a hostile place for people with visual imparities.

The new mobile communications and information technologies - such as the “Electonic eyes” - create opportunities to improve the life of people with disabilities and to compensate their deficits. Everyone who has a smart phone has access to many useful apps among which a new one that can provide orientation to the blind person regarding the surrounding streets and buildings, to direct them to the nearest bus stop, to let them know which bus is approaching, to advise on the best route.

“Electronic eyes” is a free app that offers opportunities for an active life to the people with visual imparities. It is available only for the capital city for the time being, though the team has the ambition to initiate developments in other big cities, and to increase the functionality of the current Sofia app too. So the campaign goes on!

Disabilities are prominent when there are barriers in the environment. Most of the disabilities can be overcome with the appropriate technical solutions. “Electronic eyes” aims to prove that.

The Future of Project Management – Project Leadership, Competences and Culture


The annual conference of the International Project Management Association brought together on October 10, 2018, project managers, executive directors from a broad spectrum of industries, representatives of national and local governments, to discuss the newest trends and good practices in project management. From projects in the area of marketing and HR to projects funded by European institutions, IT projects, construction projects, the demand for effective organising, coordination and communication skills is critical for their successful completion.

Sevdalina Voynova with Sofia Development Association was a panelist in the panel Project Management – A key Factor for Municipal Development, and shared the experiences and lessons learned of the organization in managing European, national and local projects on behalf of Sofia Municipality. The panel was moderated by Ivan Velkov, deputy chairperson of Sofia Municipal Council.

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