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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AGORA WORKSHOP "TRANSFORMING SPACES FOR CULTURAL PURPOSES"

The state of play AGORA workshop "Transforming spaces for cultural purposes" brought together 38 participants, of which 25 were present on site at SofiaLab, and 13 participated in the meeting online. On June 29, the participants discussed Sofia's needs for new cultural spaces - such as lack of key infrastructure, e.g. large-scale exhibition halls for visual arts, as well as new needs for more coworking spaces and meeting places for communities after COVID-19. Appropriate buildings that are not in use and could meet these needs were also discussed.

The reconstructions and the creation of new functionality of industrial heritage have their challenges: high cost, long terms, difficult return on investment, divergent interests and lack of clear focus, the need for a very effective management team. That is why cultural operators and experts suggested testing other, more flexible models, such as a regulated public subsidy to encourage private investment in such renovations, the creation of management teams to help cultural operators, new partnership regulations and more. The Program for Integrated Development of Sofia, which is currently being developed, and the forthcoming new Strategy for Culture are appropriate strategic tools to encourage the transformation of cultural spaces. Another conclusion that the participants agreed on is that in order for the municipal policy in this area to be sustainable and successful, it must be in line with national priorities, and a national strategy for culture is still lacking.

The participants in the workshop supported the creation of an informal community and a network of like-minded people who want to contribute together to the future transformations of spaces in Sofia.

You may learn more about the project and the upcoming activities at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/agora and https://www.facebook.com/InterregAGORA.

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).

      

      

FINAL CONFERENCE OF THE IN-EDU PROJECT - RESULTS AND LONG-TERM EFFECT

After 2 years of hard and fruitful work, the Sofia Development Association (SDA) team presented remarkable results during the final conference of the IN-EDU project, which took place in Perugia on June 22.

The aim of the IN-EDU project is to contribute to increasing media literacy and critical thinking among students, teachers and parents. The project contributes to the development of skills such as recognizing fake news, counteracting hate speech, controlling information chaos, protecting personal data and more.

Sofia Development Association fulfilled these goals through numerous activities. In February 2020, SDA, in partnership with DZZD Obuchenie, organized a training by experts for almost 40 teachers from over 15 schools on the topic of media literacy, and provided resources and ideas on how to teach more interactively and effectively. The training proved to be very beneficial given the recent immersion in an entirely online environment.

Between May and July of the same year, SDA conducted an online information campaign titled "How to raise happy digital children?" - a provocative but thought-provoking campaign involving over 50,000 people and challenging a large number of parents to help their children develop the necessary digital skills to cope with today's digital world.

In early February 2021, SDA together with DZZD Training within IN-EDU project, organized a student hackathon for media and information literacy, which involved almost 100 students - all of them received support from experienced mentors and participated with enthusiasm in the competition. Their efforts were rewarded - 6 teams received funding for their campaigns, and later the best of the best received additional awards.

Some of these teams also took part in the international student camp, which took place in May and brought together 60 participants from the 5 partner countries. In the matter of 2 days, all students had the opportunity to work on a real social cause, set by representatives of the business or NGO sector. Their campaigns are already beneficial to the activities of the organizations.

The implementation of the project objectives guarantees its effect even after its completion. Inspiring and meaningful, the events are a prerequisite for long-term positive changes – Internet users that are more informed and better oriented in the digital world.

The project INclusion Communities through Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) is co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme.

    

    

KICK-OFF MEETING OF THE SOCIAL INNOVATION PLUS – CENTERS FOR COMPETENCE (SI PLUS) PROJECT


The kick-off meeting of the project took place online on 23 June 2021, with the participation of the partners from Austria (coordinator), Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and associated partners from Germany, Croatia, and Slovenia. Discussions focused on the need to identify new opportunities for the development of social innovations by defining more clearly the objectives, intervention strategies and long-term impact of such initiatives. The project partners will work to create a new model of competence centers for social innovation, which are expected to support public authorities, the non-governmental sector, and the private sector in each of the partner countries in seeking long-term solutions to systemic socio-economic and environmental problems, to overcome inequalities and to achieve just social progress.

 

   

UPCOMING AGORA WORKSHOP: TRANSFORMING VENUES FOR CULTURE


Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality are organising a workshop on discussing the needs and opportunities to transform underused venues for culture. The event will be held at SofiaLab, 1 Serdika Street, on June 29. You can also join via zoom. The workshop is held in the framework of the AGORA project, implemented under the INTERREG Danube Programme and co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).

The event will bring together cultural operators, venue owners, NGO and community activists, policy makers and businesses with the purpose to create a common realistic vision of the needs, problems and opportunities for recovering and reusing public space in a creative way. The basis for the discussion be Sofia pilot project - Toplotcentrala, and an analysis conducted by the AGORA partners that identifies some available spaces with potential for reconversion, and some existing instruments for regeneration and/or links to potential users. The workshop also aims to identify, together with key stakeholders holding specific local and regional knowledge, the main gaps, barriers, problems preventing the creative redevelopment of local public space resources – possible economic, social, cultural, legal, regulatory and administrative bottlenecks, and discuss ways of overcoming them.

For more information and registration please contact Sofia Development Association at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).

THE IN-EDU INTERNATIONAL EVENT “SOCIAL HACKTIVISM ACROSS EUROPE. MEDIA AND INFORMATION LITERACY EDUCATION FOR RESPONSIBLE AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP”

On June 22nd, at 3.00 p.m. CET, the IN-EDU International Event “SOCIAL HACKTIVISM ACROSS EUROPE. Media and Information Literacy Education for responsible and active citizenship” will be held!!

Project partners and international experts will gather online on Zoom and in real life at Barton Park in Perugia, to discuss Media Information Literacy Education in practice, and its role for promoting social activism among young people. The event will also be broadcasted on Facebook.

The event will host key note speakers Laura Bononcini, Public Policy Director for Facebook South Europe, and Alton Grizzle, Programme Specialist in Communication and Information at UNESCO.

International experts participating in the event will be: Debora Barletta - No Hate Speech Movement Italia; Divina Frau-Meigs - Savoir Devenir; Arja Krauchenberg – President of the Lifelong Learning Platform; Luigi Melpignano – Dirigente scolastico IISS di Molfetta (BA) and member of the Ministerial Scientific Committee on Citizenship Education; Sonja Merljak Zdovc – Editor of Slovenia's online newspaper for children ČASORIS; Enrico Tombesi – Fondazione Golinelli.

Check the FULL PROGRAM and don’t forget to tune in and watch the live of the event!!

To participate in the Zoom Event, please register at this link: https://forms.gle/UnNqoracEFYDEr6y5

If you have the possibility to attend the event in Perugia, please register at this link: https://forms.gle/MpJmVAqYmbgtFStF7

SDA CO-ORGANIZES MEETING OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND NGOS ON MIGRANT AND REFUGEE INTEGRATION

On June 8 and 9, 2021 Sofia Development Association (SDA) was a co-organizer of an information meeting in Plovdiv of local authorities and non-governmental organizations on the topic of integration of refugees at the local level, together with the Bulgarian Council for Refugees and Migrants, MultiCulti Collective, UNHCR. The meeting was attended by over 30 representatives of municipal administrations from Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Svoge, Haskovo, Asenovgrad, Svilengrad, Harmanli. SDA was one of the main speakers in the program, presenting the leading experience of Sofia Municipality and SDA in the implementation of measures for the integration of refugees and third-country nationals in the municipality. Since 2015 SDA has been actively working to develop policies and programs in the field of integration, with a focus on public services, urban environment, the labor market, education and culture. Participants in the meeting were interested in hearing about various projects implemented by SDA, the cooperation with the municipal administration, e.g. the introduction of a small grant scheme supporting civil society initiatives, including for integration; as well as the about the new Bureau for Information and Services for Third-Country Nationals, established in 2021 with the support of Sofia Municipality, SDA and the Bulgarian Red Cross. During the meeting, SDA also presented two very important EU-level projects funded by AMIF, through which Sofia and SDA have an opportunity to gain expertise and improve both the governance of migration and integration in the municipality as wells to expand the scope of integration measures in line with the latest EU Action plan and regulations. The two projects are UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration (UMN) and CONNECTION, led by Eurocities. The city representatives attending the meeting in Plovdiv had an opportunity to learn about the project activities and how they can benefit from the international exchange of good practices. Both projects, which continue until 2022, foresee dissemination and information activities, so that SDA will continue to share its experience with cities and interested organizations around the country. More about the projects at www.sofia-da.eu.

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