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.


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:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+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.


SofiaCoin - inspiration for the winners in the hackathon "Improving air quality in Bulgaria"

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.


FOR A SUSTAINABLE AND GREEN FUTURE – INNOAIR student competitions with UFT Plovdiv and VFU

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:;

Registration link for students from Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar":

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.

Follow INNOAIR on social networks on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned about the latest developments in the field of mobility.

For more information:

Sanya Raeva - coordinator of student competitions, SDA - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veneta Markovska - Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Entrepreneurship and Management, UFT - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Galina Momcheva - Head of the Department of Informatics, VFU - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

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