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.


Urban Agriculture in Sofia?

On July 2, 2020, Sofia Development Association hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of urban agriculture in Sofia. The event is part of the project Urban Agriculture as a strategy for improving the quality of life of urban communities, implemented by the Institute for Philosophy and Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Representatives of Sofia Municipality and civil society organizations gathered to discuss the opportunities and perspectives for developing urban agriculture in Sofia, and its social, economic and ecological impacts on the quality of life of local communities.

Sofia Development Association presented its own experience and projects linked to the topic, e.g. the CICERONE project, funded by Horizon2020, which focuses on circular economy, including food production and supply chains in urban settings. Through such projects SDA has developed strong networks of local and international partners for further exchange and cooperation on the topic.


"How to raise happy digital children?" – SDA’s online campaign on media literacy

Parents face a number of challenges as they raise and educate their children. In recent years, they have to prepare them for the difficulties that lie ahead not only in the real but also in the virtual world. Presence in it is an integral part of the daily lives of youths and elders and knowledge of media and information literacy is vital for civic and political participation. Today's world requires certain digital skills, and if parents do not take part in their development, they risk being cut off from both modernity and their children.

To stimulate the development of media literacy skills, Sofia Development Association is conducting an online campaign under IN-EDU project. It consists of various message cards provoking parents to learn about different aspects of this competence, as well as to make sure that their children are aware of the dangers of the Internet. The messages cover topics such as confidentiality, misinformation, fake news, environmental pollution from internet clouds, cyberbullying and others.

You can view the cards on the online profiles of SDA and IN-EDU project.

The campaign is conducted in the framework of INclusion Communities through Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme.

SDA exchanged experience on the issue "How to communicate the topic of migration?" with representatives of local authorities from the Mediterranean

The way we communicate the topic of migration is crucial for the formation of public opinion. The media, social networks and other sources of information outline the attitudes and behavior of the local population towards migrants. When the reader is unfamiliar with impartial and proven facts, manipulation through such channels is easy. In this regard, the MC2CM project organized a 4-day online conference "Communication on Migration: Balancing the Story to Strengthen Local Governance", which took place between 15 and 18 June 2020 and involved over 40 pre-selected participants.

The Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Project (MC2CM) brings together experts and cities to contribute to improved migration governance at city level, including migrants' access to basic services and human rights.

SDA has many years of experience in EU-funded projects in the fields of integration, countering hate speech, media and information literacy and inclusive education. The successful work of SDA on the INTEGRA and CONNECTION projects (funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund), as well as the current media literacy campaign within IN-EDU project (funded by the EU’s programme Erasmus +) were the reasons why the organization was chosen to participate in the peer-learning webinar.

Among the speakers were experts in the field of media, communication, migration and integration, representatives of various international organizations and institutions, as well as representatives of local authorities from Seville (Spain), Oujda and Tangier (Morocco), Ajloun (Jordan), Sousse (Tunisia) and others.

During the event, several cities presented statistics on the attitudes of the local population towards migrants and the extent to which it has been formed by certain information channels. Various tactics to counter misinformation, disinformation and propaganda were discussed. The speakers gave examples of successful and unsuccessful campaigns and events, as well as advice on how to choose the right approach for your local community. In addition to exchanging practice, the webinar provided an opportunity to identify future partners. All participants left the online event with new knowledge and inspiration to put it into practice.


Positive Messengers continue to inspire: SDA train Turkish practitioners

Having worked consistently on EU projects in the area of integration, countering hate speech, media and information literacy and inclusive education – Positive Messengers, INTEGRA, IN-EDU, CONNECTION - SDA has accumulated knowledge, skills and experience that are recognized and valued by others. Hrant Dink Foundation, a leading human rights and peace building NGO in Turkey, invited SDA to hold a webinar for Turkish NGO practitioners, media representatives, social workers and activists in the realm of refugee and migrant integration and countering hate speech against this group.

On June 17, 2020 Sevdalina Voynova lead an online workshop for 20 Turkish trainees selected via applications, on trends, approaches, available resources and skills-building to recognize and counter online hate speech. The event was a great opportunity to share and transfer our knowledge but also to learn both with and from our peers across cultural contexts and national borders. The Positive Messengers project was of particular interest to participants – a proof that a creative and well implemented project can continue to bring sustainable results almost two years after its completion!


One-stop-shops for Migrant Integration

Representatives of 30 cities and the EUROCITIES network got together digitally on June 15, 2020 to share experiences and discuss one-stop-shops for migrants. Berlin, Antwerp, Barcelona and Tampere shared their approach to this service delivery model to support integration. This early involvement process is cost effective, increases public confidence and is easy for users. However, the structure and model of management, the pool of services, the actors involved differs significantly. There are various challenges that cities have to address, too, such as the meaningful involvement of migrant-lead organizations, the coordination between the city and national level, the introduction of more and more digital services, etc.

The webinar was held in the framework of CONNECTION project, funded by EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, one of the partners of which is SDA.



Circular Economy in Focus

A new success story about the CICERONE project has been published on the EC website, and also included in the list of success stories on the EU Green Deal site. The project consortium, part of which is also SDA, has developed many tools and a stakeholder consultation platform that will help meet the targets of the EU Green Deal. Read the full article here:





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