Created on Monday, 28 February 2022 21:48
On February 25, 2022 Clean Air Fund, in partnership with the Sofia Green project of Sofia Municipality, MOVE.BG and VMWare organized the hybrid event "Improving air quality in Bulgaria", which brought together business representatives, NGOs, students, citizens and municipal administration. Together they put efforts in search of solutions for cleaner air in the cities in Bulgaria.
The first part of the event presented the results of the latest study "Impact of air pollution on the career decisions of highly skilled workers in Sofia", which shows that air quality influences career decisions and is one of the most important non-financial conditions for highly qualified employees. Among the speakers were Teodora Polimerova, Director of the Climate, Energy and Air Directorate at the Sofia Municipality and a member of the INNOAIR team.
The second part of the event, which took the form of a hackathon, involved active citizens who, with the help of mentors, worked on their ideas for cleaner air. They presented a total of nine ideas, ranging from building green roofs and a network of low-cost mobile stations to an AI platform for air pollution forecasting and a mobile application that combines information on air quality, traffic and heating.
The jury evaluated all the projects as very meaningful and despite the difficult decision, identified three of the ideas as the most applicable and significant.
Third is the Garden of Eden in cities, which aims to integrate work on biodiversity and air pollution.
The second prize went to the team that presented the "Sun Blower", which can heat a room round- the-clock, without the need for power and without harmful footprint.
The first prize was awarded to the team with an idea for the application "Green Path" - it is a virtual "path" that branches first to schools, initiating a project "Walk to School" and stimulates with game elements, "green prizes", education and awareness on the problem. The mobile application builds on the existing SofiaCoin, as the idea is to transfer to the national level, to target employees of companies, to initiate competitions between schools and between companies.
We are glad that SofiaCoin inspires and that citizens and experts see potential in the development of the application.
Created on Monday, 28 March 2022 21:48
Good competition is always useful, but we are ready to reward good ideas and student innovations. Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality in partnership with the University of Food Technology - Plovdiv and Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" announce student competitions that allow students to put into practice what they have learnt and show their talent by proposing solutions for more sustainable and greener future. Through the INNOAIR project, the competitions give the young people the opportunity to give life to their ideas and change the environment!
The students from the University of Food Technology - Plovdiv, who decide to participate in the competition will have the opportunity to work on creating a calculator that calculates the economic benefits of using active transport such as walking, cycling, cycling electric bicycle or driving electric scooter.
Students from Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" will develop a calculator that calculates the health benefits of the above-mentioned active modes of transportation.
All students who would like to take part in the competitions should register for participation no later than April 4, 2022:
Registration link for students from the University of Food Technology - Plovdiv: https://forms.gle/KDhdM7b7PhBNUbkq7;
Registration link for students from Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar": https://forms.gle/cWCqcr4yH9R9dRHCA.
You can follow up-to-date information about the events on Facebook HERE.
From April 5 to April 28, the student teams will develop a calculator that calculates the economic or health benefits of using active transport.
The purpose of developing calculators for the economic and health benefits of active transport is to increase people's motivation to use active mobility, to support decision-making in this direction at the urban level and to enable the secondary use of data.
A competent jury with representatives of the universities, the Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality will select 2 winning projects - one health and one economic calculator, which will receive funding to become working prototypes and to be introduced for use by the general public.
The competition is held within the INNOAIR project, the first and so far the only project from Bulgaria, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Initiative "Urban Innovative Actions". The project introduces for the first time in Europe public transport on request, as well as for the first time in Sofia and Bulgaria low emission zone, green corridors, mobile application SofiaCoin with prizes for active transport, available for Android and iOS. However, sustainable urban mobility still has many dimensions.
"We believe that young people are the engine of innovation and development. That is why we rely on them to help us design next generation urban mobility in Sofia," said Yordanka Fandakova, mayor of Sofia Municipality.
"Young people are a generator of valuable ideas and opportunities for integrating green technologies into everyday life. They are not burdened by outdated ways of working and they set new models for sustainable development. The traditions of the University of Food Technology in research allow them to obtain modern and specific knowledge that can be turned into working solutions," said Assoc. Prof. Veneta Markovska, Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Entrepreneurship and Management, UFT.
"Our students already have experience in building an application with open data on the immovable cultural heritage of the Municipality of Varna. They have developed IoT solutions and satellite data for urban mobility applications, as well as participated in numerous events to generate innovative ideas and start a business in the country and abroad. This gives us confidence that they have the knowledge and skills necessary for creating application of new technologies for solving everyday problems," shares Assoc. Prof. Vesselina Spasova, Head of the Master's Program in Software Engineering and Management, VFU.
The presentation of student projects will take place on April 29, 2022 online at the following link in ZOOM.
For more information:
Created on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 21:19
Sofia Development Association, in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross, organized an event to support the integration of third-country nationals into the labor market. The event was held on March 21, 2022 as a part of the activities of the Bureau for Information and Services for Third-country nationals and in the form of individual consultations for creating a CV and a professional photo session for portrait photos.
The participants in the event got acquainted with good practices for making a CV, received individual advice and assistance for creating a CV based on their previous experience, as well as practical advice and guidance on how to update their resume in the future. In addition, they acquired professional photos suitable for a resume.
By participating in the event, third-country nationals made the first steps required to join the labor market. We look forward to receiving their feedback on the new initiatives that have begun as a result of the consultations.
CONNECTION project: CONNECTING Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Created on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 12:05
AGORA in Sofia aims not only to support its pilot project - the cultural center Toplocentrala with programming, promotion and identifying potential users and audiences, but also to give ideas for smooth and effective integration of the space in the surrounding park.
In the South Park district, next to the Regional Centre for Contemporary Arts Toplocentrala, the Perlovska River flows in its natural bed, full of wild vegetation. However, the landscape is not developed and the river is cut off from the Toplocentrala. In this regard, the AGORA project partners Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality, together with Toplocentrala, the Collective and the Rivers of the city organize a design workshop during which to gather and present ideas for developing projects for connecting the Toplocentrala with the Perlovska River flowing meters from it.
The purpose of the event is the process of collecting and presenting ideas to be public, and the projects to serve for regenerating and improving the space in order to turn it into the first river beach in Sofia. This activity is the flagship project of AGORA in Sofia.
On 18, 19 and 20 March 2022 from 10:00 to 17:00 at the Toplocentrala was held the first part of the event - a 3-day design workshop for co-creation of ideas, moderated by the Collective team. Through an open invitation, the event was attended by architects, landscape architects, artists, designers, urban planners, engineers and other citizens, interested in the topic.
The second part of the design workshop is forthcoming – a public presentation of the projects, developed by the participants in the working group and the Collective team. The event will take place on April 6, 2022 from 18:30 again at the Toplocentrala and it is open to anyone who would like to join. You are welcome to get acquainted with the projects that Sofia residents developed for easier and more pleasant access to the natural wealth of Sofia and give your feedback!
The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).
Created on Friday, 18 March 2022 13:04
Labor market integration is an essential part of the full integration of migrants. However, in order to make it happen in the most effective way possible considering the local conditions, cities should share experience, knowledge and good practices. For this reason, within the framework of the UnionMigrantNet project and the cities together for integration (UMN) experts from Sofia, Bulgaria took part in a mutual learning program in Liege, Belgium from 14th to 18th of March 2022.
Among the representatives of the Sofia delegation were Nadezhda Bobcheva, Deputy Mayor of Oborishte District, Veronika Manova from Sofia Municipality, Sanya Raeva from Sofia Development Association, Atanaska Todorova from CITUB, Ivaylo Dinev from the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research, Vladimir Milev from BCRM, Milena Karakanova from Caritas Bulgaria.
The mutual learning program included a visit to the Municipality of Liege, where the experts got acquainted with the activities of Liege, known as the city of hospitality, in the field of integration of migrants, and met in person with the Mayor of Liege - Mr. Willy Demeyer. During the meeting, Sofia presented the activities of Sofia, the first in Bulgaria Bureau for Information and Services for Third-Country Nationals, as well as the services provided by Sofia Municipality to help Ukrainian citizens at the moment.
In the following days, the participants visited the local integration center, got into the shoes of migrants during a city tour for social and professional integration, visited the organization "World of Opportunities" - a partner in the UMN project, met with the General Labor Federation in Belgium and visited one of the refugee camps in Liege.
The topic of labor market integration, which was the basis of the discussions, includes the possibility to improve and expand the services of local and regional authorities and the NGO sector; financial aid, language training, qualification courses and working with the local community; access to housing. A special topic was the growing number of Ukrainian citizens already arriving in Liege.
In June 2022, a delegation from Liege will visit Sofia, during which we will have the opportunity to share in detail their experience and present their work in the field. The final conference of the UMN project will also be held in Sofia.
The UMN project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Created on Friday, 18 March 2022 12:05
On March 17, 2022, Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality organized a seminar within the project AGORA - Advanced coGeneration Options for Reintegrating local Assets, funded by the Danube Program 2014-2020.
Over 30 participants took part in the hybrid event, held in SofiaLab and online. The seminar presented good examples included in the AGORA project, such as Toplocentrala, as well as the results from the previous seminars and related studies about the needs of cultural operators and available programs for open air stages and performance places in Sofia. Guests from the Municipality of Gabrovo presented their CINEMA project, also funded by the INTERREG program, which is focused on the regeneration and improvement of urban spaces through cooperation with SMEs.
Seminar participants engaged in an interactive discussion and idea generation for the development of a City Agenda for the regeneration of cultural spaces; discussion topics included imbalances in cultural offer in central/peripheral neighborhoods; fair and equal support for private & public art initiatives; accessibility and affordability of cultural programs; information sharing, networking and partnership building; monitoring and impact evaluation of cultural programs, etc.
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).