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.


Partners from 5 EU cities meet to discuss TCN integration

The EU faces significant labour shortages in certain sectors, which have the potential to limit growth and competitiveness – a challenge to become more pressing due to Europe’s aging demographic profile. While legal channels for skilled migrants offer a solution, attracting them to come and settle in the EU goes hand in hand with tackling the challenges of the refugee crisis. More efforts are needed to integrate the 20 million non-EU nationals residing legally in the EU.

The new INTEGRA project, the lead partner of which is of Sofia Development Association, aims to help the process of long-term integration of third country nationals in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia through city-to-city knowledge and experience sharing.

The project partners SDA, Riskmonitor Foundation - Sofia, Integration Center Prague, Research Center on Security and Crime – Italy, Center for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights – Osijek, Croatia and ETP – Kosice, Slovakia met in Sofia from February 21 to 23rd, 2018, for their first project meeting. The consortium team combines vast expertise: in research (RISSC and RiskMonitor), in minority and TCN integration (IPC, ETP), in human rights and campaigns (Center for Peace), in urban policies (SDA). The partners agreed on how to work together effectively, on the approach, roles and their shared idea of success. The methodologies for the innovative City Integration Audits as a participative tool for city integration performance were also discussed.

The INTEGRA project has received funding from EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.


The Positive Messengers’ “HOT LINE” continues to connect young people from all over Bulgaria

On 9th February 2018 the Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech grew a little bit bigger with 30 new young people joining in. Representatives from the Sofia Development Association presented the project infront of 30 young Bulgarians from all over the country, who were participants in the “Be the Change” training, which is part of the Multi Kulti Collective “European Community Empowerment” project.

The participants got to learn about the reports, which all of the organizations participating in the project issued in the first year of its implementation. They also got to see the three informational videos about online hate speech – “How to Recognize Online Hate Speech”, “How to Report Online Hate Speech” and “Creating Positive Narratives in Response to Online Hate Speech”.

The SDA representatives also informed the participants about the new addition to the Positive Messengers’ website – “Positive Mesengers – HOT LINE” which includes three interesting and informational quizzes about the refugees’ way of living and opportunities to post a picture or video of yourself with a positive messages. The “HOT LINE” aims at making the coalition even bigger.

After the presentation every participant in the training got to write a note with positive messages, with which to counter online hate speech. A huge part of them wanted to be a part of the coalition by sending in their pictures or videos and participating in the project’s future events.

One of the participants wrote down “Positive messages have to lead to an internet environment which makes every user feel safe.” in reference to the Safer Internet Day which is celebrated on 6th February every year.

SDA launches a new project - INTEGRA

Sofia Development Association started working on a new project INTEGRA, funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. INTEGRA seeks to improve the process of long-term integration of third country nationals in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia, through city-to-city knowledge and experience sharing. The project will promote deeper mutual understanding between migrant communities and the host society, against the rising political discourse of securitization which paints migrants and refugees as a major security threat in Europe. The project partners will develop concrete actions to tackle local integration problems: local and cross-border networks, city audits, city integration agendas with future scenarios for each city developed through citizens’ integration labs.

Sofia Development Association is the lead partner and in 2018 and 2019 will lead the project consortium of ETP – Slovakia, RISSC – Italy, ICP – Czech Republic, Centar za mir – Croatia and RiskMonitor – Bulgaria.

Sofia Development Association and Goethe-Institut are happy to present the new publication “Paths to Innovations in Culture”

Sofia Development Association and Goethe-Institut are happy to present the new publication “Paths to Innovations in Culture”. It comes as a result of over five years of experience in art management capacity building through the Academy for Cultural Management - a postgraduate qualification programme for managers of municipal and independent cultural institutions, accderited by Sofia University. The 2017 Academy edition and the international conference with the same title in Sofia aimed to connect three sectors – arts and cultural organisations, business and technology companies and academics – to engage in research and development that aims at innovation in all its forms, redressing the long-standing imbalances that exist in innovation policy. Cultural managers from Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki, participants in the 2017 Academy, with the guidance of the Editorial Committee, developed articles in diverse areas: testing propositions on how new technologies can be used to broaden, deepen and diversify audience reach; exploring new business models of museums; social media and user-generated content; distribution; mobile and gaming; data and archive; education and learning, and resources. Innovation flows from a willingness to experiment and find the right structure and culture that result in new things being created. The publication plugs a gap in research, knowledge and insights that can remove some of the bottlenecks to innovation in the wider arts and cultural sector and allow for spillover effects in the urban fabric.

We hope that “Paths to Innovations in Culture” would not only contribute to expending the boundaries of 21-century cultural organisations but would also offer some useful takeaways: ideas worth exploring, examples, trends, policy recommendations, and inspiration.

Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality celebrate the Safer Internet Day

We mark February 6 as a day of safer internet. According to a research, almost half of teenagers have had negative experiences on the Internet. Although the digital environment has been part of their life since childbirth, young people need to develop the competences of active citizens in a diverse internet community.

Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality are joining this special day celebration with three video clips made by SDA with the aim to help young people:

• To recognize hate speech which negatively affects human dignity;

• To report hate speech on the internet;

• To respond to hate speech with alternatives, which give different perspectives and encourage human rights and digital democratic culture.

"Young people today spend more time on the net than they ever did ever before. Therefore, there is an urgent need to help them see the positive aspects of connectivity and to support them to overcome the negative effects. Thus, the Internet and our city will be a safer and nicer place. "

Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia Mayor

The three videos were developed within the project "Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech", co-funded by the European Union's Justice, Equality and Citizenship Program – DG Justice, bringing together partners from Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Sofia Development Association as a lead partner.

More about the possibilities of hate speech, you can read on the multilingual platform

SDA team actively contributed to Maribor Transnational Expert Workshop

The second Transnational Expert workshop under NewGenerationSkills project was held in Maribor on 23 - 26 January 2018. SDA hosted the discussion on “How to be socially innovative and successful at local level” during the Knowledge café workshop. Sevdalina Voynova facilitated the workshop on the Initial Local Action Plans elaborated by city partners, who presented them through attractive poster visualisations. Denitsa Lozanova presented the progress achieved under the WP3 Innovation Capacities, coordinated by SDA, during the 2nd Steering Committee meeting including the First Year Review Meeting.

In the morning of 23 January SDA team took part in the Maribor Peer Review.







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