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.



The partners of the CO-APS project, implemented with funding from the EIT Mobility COVID-19 response initiative, had their third online meeting on July 30, which focused on defining the functionalities of the mobile application and data analytics tools that will support city authorities and urban mobility centers in optimizing their public transport management. The mobile application built by CO-APS will rely on crowdsourcing and the active involvement of public transport users and volunteers. Using a combination of gamification elements and a system of rewards, the app will enable citizens to report of overcrowded buses, trams, metro stations, etc., so that the public transport officials can take appropriate measures to fix that.

The pilot testing of the app and the digital analytics tool in the partner cities of Istanbul, Karditsa, and Sofia will take place in October and November 2020. If you want to help us create a more secure public transport system in Sofia and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visit this website frequently for updates and information on how to get involved.

SDA shared its experience in the field of civic participation in a focus group of the project "Participatory Budgeting for Sofia"

On July 29, 2020, SDA took part in a sociological survey aimed at revealing citizens' attitudes towards public debate and civic activism, as well as ways of cooperation between the non-governmental sector and local government.

The long-term experience of the Association in working with both citizens and the Municipality of Sofia was the reason for the participation in the focus group with representatives of non-governmental organizations on a project of the Save Bulgaria Foundation. Examples of the successful cooperation of SDA with civil society organizations, the scientific community, business and local government are the activities for the implementation of the Strategy for Smart Specialization, the Strategy for Young People in Sofia and the Strategy for Development of Culture in Sofia. The activities include not only intensive work on projects, but also the organizing various events, including Sofia Innovation Camp, a number of hackathons on topics set by Sofia Municipality, and numerous trainings and meetings in the Sofia Innovation Laboratory - SofiaLab, which provides opportunities for young people to develop in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and non-formal education.

Among the participants in the meeting were representatives of various non-governmental organizations. The project team presented examples of good practices in participatory budget management from other European cities, including Warsaw, Cluj and Antwerp. The upcoming activities of the project include holding an open one-month online consultation with the citizens of Sofia, through which to create the framework of the participatory budget, the creation of a report with summaries of focus groups and consultations and its submission to the Sofia Municipality Council with recommendations for future steps aiming at improvement of policies.

We will continue to cooperate and support the implementation of this project, which is directly related to one of the 4 areas of activity of SDA for 2020 - active citizenship.


SDA is a partner of the new Horizon2020 project RRI-LEADERS - Leveraging Leadership for Responsible Research and Innovation in Territories.

The project adopts a meso-level approach, and will explore the application and sustainability of the RRI (responsible research and innovation) paradigm within territorial innovation systems. In RRI-LEADERS a “territory” is understood as a confluence between three interconnected primary aspects: geographical location, socio-economic and cultural bonds, and administrative authority. The project will involve four distinct territories from different parts of Europe, representing different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, different scope of territorial oversight, different institutional and decision-making infrastructures, different R&I landscapes, and different dynamics among territorial actors. As such, the four territories will represent a diverse range of opportunities and implications for RRI, which will enable the RRI-LEADERS consortium to carry out a thorough assessment of the RRI relevance to territorial governance and have the involved territories act as demonstrators for the potential of RRI on subnational level. The partners will engage in a multi-stage co-creation process that will mobilise territorial quadruple helix stakeholders towards the elaboration of future-oriented strategy and action plans - territorial outlooks for each of the participating territories. Territorial partners will have the leading role in this process, and will additionally work to ensure the broadest societal and governance-level endorsement. The Consortium will further use the accumulated knowledge to chart a detailed outlook for the future potential of RRI as a guiding framework in territorial governance of R&I, and will aim to provide an evolutionary perspective on RRI for the upcoming Horizon Europe programme.

RRI-LEADERS represents a partnership of 9 organisations, of which five are methodological partners and four are territorial partners, collectively coming from 5 countries – Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Spain (Catalonia) and Switzerland.

Project period: 3 years (2020-2023)

Consortium members:

Sofia Development Association participates in the evaluation of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020)

On July 21, 2020, Sofia Development Association took part in a focus group on the project "National Youth Strategy - Monitoring and Evaluation", organized by the National Youth Forum.

Sofia Development Association implements the Sofia Youth Strategy (2017 – 2027) and supports the development of youth through the activities of the Sofia Youth Innovation Laboratory (SofiaLab), established under the project "New Generation Skills" in 2018. Since then SDA contributes to the acquisition of skills necessary for the realization of young people in a real work environment by organizing and hosting various events and trainings. These activities were the reason for the participation of Sanya Raeva - SofiaLab developer in the discussion on Strategic Area №2 of the National Youth Strategy, namely "Improving access to information and quality services".

Among the participants in the online meeting were experts in the field of youth policies, representatives of various organizations and young people who have experience in working on any of the 9 strategic areas of action of the National Youth Strategy. During the webinar were discussed the results achieved from the implementation of the Strategy and were presented proposals and recommendations for the creation and implementation of more effective and evidence-based youth policies.

At the end of the year, the team of the National Youth Forum will prepare a report, containing recommendations for the next youth strategy and general recommendations for the creation and implementation of youth policies in the country.

State-of-the-art Technology to Improve Public Transport and to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19: SDA Joins a Winning Consortium Funded by EIT Urban Mobility

In response to the EIT Urban Mobility Crisis Response Initiative dedicated to addressing urban mobility challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SDA was invited to join a consortium led by the Technical University of Catalonia for the CO-APS project. The initiative is called Crowdsourced Obtention and Analytics of Data About the Crowding of Public Spaces for the benefit of Public Transport and Mobility in Cities and is one of the 11 innovative projects funded by the EIT. The initiative aims to introduce state-of-the-art technology in just 6 months (July-December 2020) in the partner cities to help public transport authorities deal with the pandemic.

With mobility restrictions being eased in most countries, people are encouraged to go back to work, and the use of public transport and public spaces will grow steadily. Overcrowding and keeping social distance are critical challenges in this respect, with significant impact on life in the city, including also public transport, the economy, social activities, etc. CO-APS will consider these aspects by implementing Mobile, Web and Cloud technologies. CO-APS will collect data to provide analytical solutions with added value information about crowds and their mobility that will be tested in various use cases/small scale pilots involving the consortium stakeholders: TMB-Spain (Barcelona train stations), City of St. Germain-France (pedestrian commercial streets), Karditsa-Greece (multi-modal mobility), Sofia and Istanbul-Turkey (transport hubs).

SDA will cooperate with the Center for Urban Mobility and Directorate Public Transport of Sofia Municipality in this initiative.

Read here about the initiative and the winning projects.

5 social entrepreneurs from Bulgaria selected to enter the second stage of #AirCompetition

5 out of 25 companies with social impact business in Bulgaria were selected by a Jury consisting of social impact investors and experts to continue in the second stage of the international #AirCompetition organized in the framework of the Finances4SocialChange project, co-financed by Interreg Danube.

The areas of intervention of the companies are diverse – from circular economy and environmentally friendly production to education through video games, social and labour inclusion of people with disabilities, enhancing functional literacy of students through online games, community center.

The selected companies will develop business plans, social impact KPIs and compete with companies from Serbia and Moldova in November 2020 for winning 10 000EUR investment secured by Unicredit Bulbank Hungary.



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