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 AGORA project partners took part in an extended partnership meeting, which was held on 12 and 13 April 2022, and gave a broad view of what has been achieved so far and the upcoming steps in the remaining 9 months.

Each of the partners from 14 countries in the Danube region, working on the project, presented their activities, and shared the achievements and difficulties in their implementation. The meeting was hosted by the leading partner of the project - Cluj-Napoca Municipality, Romania. Many of the partners met physically, and others took part online.

The Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality presented in details the pilot project of AGORA in Sofia – the Toplocentrala, the three design seminars held with active civic participation, as well as the development of the Urban Regeneration Agenda which is going to be published soon.

In May, the project partners are going to meet in Sofia and they will have the opportunity to visit the Regional Center for Contemporary Arts Toplocentralata.

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



Sofia Development Association exchanges experience on one-stop-shops as an integrated response to integration needs

From April 6 to April 8, 2022, Sofia Development Association participated in a workshop on the integration of refugees and migrants through one-stop-shop services, together with representatives of CONNECTION project from the Municipalities of Stockholm, Dortmund, Athens, Cluj-Napoca, the coordinator of the project EUROCITIES and experts from the MigrationWork network.

The workshop was held in Stockholm and organized by the Stockholm Municipality as a part of the #CONNECTION project, co-financed by the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. The guest cities visited Stockholm’s Welcome house, where newly arrived refugees and migrants can receive information and assistance in receiving social services, psychological assistance, adult education, labor market integration and others.

In addition, they visited a municipal office for one-stop-shop services, where citizens and migrants receive assistance in social orientation. All of the partner organizations introduced their one-stop-shops and their best practices on the topic, and participated in action learning with the support of Migration Work and the lead partner of the project - EUROCITIES.

Moreover, the partners discussed and gave ideas on how to develop further „How to design one-stop-shops as an integrated response to integration needs“ guide, which is being written by MigrationWork.

The newly acquired knowledge and experience will be put into practice by Sofia Development Association for further development of the Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals on 111 Hr. Botev street in order to address the Ukrainian refugee crisis even more effectively.

CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.   





Kick-starting LEAD-Online with a Gathering of “Positive Messengers”

The project LEAD-Online, which aims to counteract hate speech online, has officially started with a meeting of the project partners in Sofia on 7-8 April, 2022. Sofia Development Association, the LEAD-Online coordinator, hosted the meeting in SofiaLab. During the 2-day event, partners from ZARA (Austria), Center for Peace (Croatia), Forma.azione (Italy), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Asociatia Divers (Romania), discussed current issues with hate speech online and set to design innovative tools to raise awareness and to tackle this growing phenomenon across the partner countries. In the next six months, an online self-assessment tool will be available in 7 languages for young people, teachers, journalists and citizens to test their knowledge and understanding of online hate speech, and in the beginning of next year an animated online game, Hate Out!, will be launched. The project aims to educate and encourage citizens to stand up against hate speech, through a variety of learning tools, interactive public campaigns and provocative “hate talks.”

During the kick-off, SDA also organized a meeting with representatives of civil society organizations and volunteers active in countering hate speech.

The project is funded by the EU’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme.


The most active users of SofiaCoin receive rewards

On Friday, April 15, at 11 am, at SofiaLab (1 Serdika Str., 3rd floor) it will be held the first awarding ceremony for the first distinguished pedestrians and cyclists in Sofia, who have traveled the longest distances as registered users of the SofiaCoin application so far. The Mayor of Sofia Municipality Yordanka Fandakova and the Deputy Mayor of Transport and Urban Mobility Kristian Krastev are invited to present the awards.

The application, developed by the Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality, started operating at the end of 2021. So far, the application has recorded 4,600 individual movements around Sofia on foot, by bike or by scooter. A total of just over 7,120 km have been covered, more than half of which - 4,345 km by foot, 2,523 by bicycle and 253 by electric scooter. And this is good news not only for the health of the people of Sofia. Their decision to move around the city has actively saved 285 kg of carbon dioxide, over 7 kg of nitrogen oxide and a kilogram and a half of fine dust particles.

That’s why the most active users of the application will receive rewards - tickets for the concert Helloween HammerFall on April 20 in Arena Armeec from Eventim, tablets provided by A1, surprise prize, bicycle accessories and more.

The organizers will also present the most used routes for cycling and walking in the city by the users of the application. In order to encourage Sofia residents to use active transport, Sofia Municipality has committed to prioritizing these routes several times a year in its investment program. The first pedestrian and bicycle sections, which are about to be renovated with priority, will be presented at the ceremony.

"These awards give us the opportunity to say thank you to our fellow citizens - pedestrians and cyclists. Active transport is good for health and even better for the environment and the city. This application is also a tool to purposefully invest in the really used pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and to make this movement in the city safer and easier, "said Yordanka Fandakova.

The SofiaCoin application was developed within the INNOAIR project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Innovative Urban Development Activities Initiative. This is the first Bulgarian project selected for funding by the Initiative.                                                                                                                                                                         

The SofiaCoin app can be downloaded for iOS and Android.
For more information:
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+359 879 651 346


Over 85 third-country nationals have benefited from the Bureau's services in March, as the most used are in the field of protection, housing, health and legal assistance. Other often used services are access to the labor market, accompaniment to various institutions with translation, and humanitarian aid. The number of Ukrainian citizens receiving assistance on various cases is increasing daily.

A full list of the services offered by the relevant organizations, days and hours of visit, opportunities to participate in useful events, and other details can be found in the Program for April.

The program and the services provided by the Bureau are in several languages:

You can find the program for April in Bulgarian HERE.
You can find the program for April in Ukrainian HERE.
You can find the program for April in English HERE.
You can find the program for April in French HERE.
You can find the program for April in Arabic HERE.
You can find the program for April in Farsi HERE.
You can find the program for April in Russian HERE.

The Bureau for Information and Services for third country national is established under the #CONNECTION project and is funded by a European grant.



CONNECTION project: CONNECTING Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



Staff exchange for migrant access to the labour market

Sofia and Tampere, Finland, exchanged experiences in support for integration of refugees and other migrants in their workforce and beyond. The staff exchange between Sofia Development Association and Tampere Talent Attraction and Migration took place on March 28th, 2022, in the framework of CONNECTION, a project co-financed by the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. The team of Tampere showed their Bulgarian colleagues how they approach the issue, led by the understanding that the successful integration of third-country nationals in the EU labour market represents an opportunity for our societies. Among the initiatives that provoked greatest interest were the International House Tampere, dealing with the integration of third country national employees and their families, the multilingual info Mainio, offering free advice in 14 languages, the community social center Kototori – where all services are “one door, 5 steps away”.

The staff exchange between the two cities was followed by a workshop of the Community of Practice “Access to the labour market”, with the participation of cities from France, Spain and Belgium, and with the facilitation of EUROCITIES and MigrationWork.

The project CONNECTION helped Sofia establish its Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals on 111 Hr. Botev street. All ideas learned and skills acquired will be used to effectively address the Ukrainian refugee crisis.




CONNECTION project: CONNECTING Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.


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