Created on Monday, 30 September 2019 20:07
INTEGRA project, led by Sofia Development Association, takes part in the conference “Go local: Supporting regions, cities and rural areas in migrants’ inclusion”, organized by the European Commission. The conference will be held in Brussels on 3 December 2019.
If you would like to attend the event, you can apply here no later than 11 October 2019.
You may find the official invitation for the conference here.
Created on Friday, 20 September 2019 14:04
On September 18 - 19, 2019, social impact investors, representatives of local and national institutions, business support organisations and social entrepreneur networks met in Stuttgart, Germany, to discuss the pathways to foster social impact investments in the Danube region. The meeting took place in the framework of the project “Finance4Social Change”, co-financed by the EU funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI). Sofia Development Association is a project partners, together with 13 other organisations from 12 countries. Together with SDA project team was Aleksandar Sarafov, the manager of Start-up Accelerator Sofia and the Municipal Guarantee Fund for SMEs.
During the upcoming months the project partners will launch a comprehensive training programme and a region-wide competition for social entrepreneurs, while at the same time improving their local policies in the area of social impact investment.
More information in the project is available at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/finance4socialchange.
Created on Saturday, 31 August 2019 02:54
In August 2019 the first service for shared electric scooters was rolled out in Sofia. More and more people are looking for alternatives to car commuting. The city administration welcomes the growing interest in micro mobility and we are keen to partner with companies providing sharing solutions. We extend an invitation to service providers with interest in launching in Sofia, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) with the city. The document describes some of the best practices that companies need to take implement in their operations. This is how we guarantee maintaining order in the city and the safety of users.
Created on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 14:22
Claudia Valdivielso with the European School of Political and Social Sciences, Institut Catholique de Lille, France, shared her experience as SDA intern:
My internship at the Association for the development of Sofia (SDA) started in May 2019 and lasted for four weeks. I was expected to apply my knowledge of my European political science studies to the formation of diverse projects led by the association. My supervisor would brief me with a project that was being worked on and assign me to a specific task. For example, with the INTEGRA project, I worked with the identification, editing and proof reading of good practices and on project communications. Moreover, I developed a video material that was then published on the project website.
The third week of my internship I was able to work directly with Green Sofia, a project within SDA aiming at Sofia’s smart and green policies. I assisted with the project communications in the social media and helped with the filling and understanding of the Green European Capital Award candidature.
Concerning the SofiaLab programming, I have had the opportunity to attend and assist with event organization of focus groups, press conferences, trainings, including documentation, technical support, feedback and communications.
This experience is preparing me in a number of ways from office day-to-day activities, to working with deadlines, to gaining knowledge from hands on training. I have learned how a municipal office operates, and how to network with the different departments I've been exposed to. I've been able to apply the knowledge learned in university courses to real life problems and truly understand the programs and tools that aid in the professional world.
Thank you, SDA, for having me as an intern this summer. It has been a pleasure working with you and I hope to be able to cooperate with you again soon!
Created on Thursday, 20 June 2019 17:14
This year’s city of Vienna "European Cities Conference" was held on June 18-19, on the topic of digitalization. Vienna experts met in Vienna to discuss with their counterparts from the urban institutions in Central and Southeastern Europe– among whom Sevdalina Voynova and Elitsa Panayotowa with SDA, Sofia Investment Agency representatives and Bulgarian media representatives - to take along new impulses and strategic goals for implementation in the respective municipal administrations and cities, in the spirit of a lively dialogue on "Government2Government" projects.
What will European city administrations look like in 2030? What will the role of artificial intelligence in the digital transformation, what will e-governance be, what digital rights will citizens have? These were some of the essential aspects of digitalization subject to discussion and mutual learning.
Created on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 18:40
"We are proud that Sofia is a lead partner of such a strong consortium," said Botyo Botev, Sofia Municipal Councilor at the opening of the briefing at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, organized by the Sofia Development Association, entitled "Sharing of challenges and creating solutions for the integration of third-country nationals at local level. "The event was attended by representatives of the European Committee of the Regions, the European Commission, directorates-general, institutions and non-governmental organizations. The basis of the briefing was the project INTEGRA, led by Sofia through Sofia Development Association, funded by AMIF and implemented by a consortium of the cities of Sofia, Prague, Kosice (Slovakia), Osijek (Croatia) and Rubano (Italy). Among the speakers were mayors and municipal councilors from the city-partners of Sofia, representatives of the DG HOME, EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the European Committee of the Regions.
The project manager Sevdalina Voynova emphasized that the biggest project strength is in the broad civic participation: the development and application of methods such as city walks, photovoice, scenario development, which allow many citizens to co-create integration policies and practices. More than 2,200 citizens in the five cities have joined the project activities so far, of which 80 local government representatives, 250 third-country nationals.
Laurent Thieule, CoR's Legislative Work Director, focused on the link between INTEGRA and the new initiative of the President of the CoR, entitled "Cities and Regions for Integration", as they both rely on urban networks integration models.
Laurent Aujean with DG Home expressed his appreciation of the results of the INTEGRA project, which take into account the local context of the specific region of Central and Eastern Europe. According to him, the public policy recommendations of the consortium are very good and profound, without being limited to access to the labor market.
Sabrina Doni, newly re-elected mayor of Rubano, Italy, pointed out the role of the project for a small town that has less resources and access to knowledge networks. "We have made Europe, now we have to make Europeans," she said.
Prague City Councilor Ondřej Mirovský said that the political will and leadership are key to counteracting nationalism.
Rayeiz Rahman, a migrant from Afghanistan living in Kosice, explained why he had joined the INTEGRA project and what it meant for people like him to have the opportunity to participate: "your voice be heard, to be able to say that foreigners also live here, to positively influence other migrants."
The briefing attracted more than 70 participants and it was highly appreciated. "Thanks for the interesting conference", "Very good, interesting and efficient project", "We rarely see something so innovative". This is a great recognition for Sofia and its leading role in making European policies.
The briefing materials can be found at: www.integra-eu.net