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.

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#CONNECTION project partners - building Pathways to employment for migrants


After MigrationWork, the expert support of the CONNECTION consortium, conducted an individual meeting with each of the partners from the thematic community, working on integration of migrants in the labor market, the partners met online all together.

On 4th of June Sofia Development Association and the other partners from this community of practice (Tampere, Madrid and Antwerp) discussed their approaches for providing job opportunities to migrants and employers. They defined the challenges that the cities are facing and the improvements that could be made in the services, facilitating the process of integration. Working with employers and reducing the gap between migrants and employers needs was outlined as one of the most important issues that must be addressed. During the meeting the partners shared their needs analyses and based on them established common points and methodologies for transnational learning on and implementation of integration policies.

The multi-national project CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration actiON is was funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

      

SDA Joins the Policy Lab for Circular Regions


SDA was invited to join the Policy Lab for Circular Regions, developed by Veltha (Belgium) under the SCREEN project (Synergic Circular Economy across European Regions), which aims to provide solutions to the challenges the European Regions face while implementing circular economy programs. The Policy Lab is a platform where European Regions working with Circular Economy projects will collaborate, explore possible scenarios and co-design solutions for better policies.

Beginning in June, for the next several months the Lab members will gather online to discuss questions and topics important for the regions. SDA and Sofia are already involved in several initiatives promoting circular economy, such as the CICERONE project, and we welcome this new opportunity to expand our partnership base and knowledge on the topic.

Protecting Human and Labor Rights in COVID-19 Times

The 2nd Steering Committee meeting of the UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration project took place 20 May 2020. Project partners from municipalities, public authorities and trade unions from Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia convened online to share their experiences and critical information on the impacts of COVID-19 on labor markets, workers and citizens across Europe. As the project focus is on the integration of third-country nationals in the labor market, partners discussed the relief measures taken by member states and cities to aid companies and individuals. Special attention was placed on the need and the responsibilities of national and municipal authorities and employers to ensure that fundamental rights safeguards for refugees and migrants are in place when taking protective measures, including to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and addressing questions related to public order, public health, or national security challenges.

As the lockdown measures are gradually being lifted across Europe, the UMN partners look forward to the second half of the project year, ready to adjust the planned national and trans-border activities to the new realities. SDA and CITUB, the Bulgarian members of the UMN consortium are planning the organization of several workshops with employers and information campaigns on migrants integration to the labor market. More information and details will follow, so stay tuned and visit SDA’s website for updates and the project site, https://www.unionmigrantnet.eu/Pages/SelectLanguage.aspx?c=1

   

InnoBridge Project Ready to Share Its Results


High regional expenditure on R&D does not necessarily lead to innovation and increased regional competitiveness if the regional economy is hampered by insufficient exploitation of its own R&D results and from a lack of access to public R&D results. Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the related policy instruments for SMEs. This would enable SMEs to better realize their innovation potential and to act as a catalyst for creating more high qualified jobs and regional growth.

After 3 years of intensive inter-regional learning and 18 months of Action Plan implementation that applied into practice actions aiming at improving their regional R&D and innovation performance and SME’s competitiveness, InnoBridge project 9 partners from 8 regions in 8 countries spread over Europe are ready to share their hands-on experience. On April 21, 2020, they met online to plan the final project conference in Sofia on September 30 – October 1st, 2020 that would bring together political figures, practitioners, academia, policy makers, business community, intermediary organizations, civil society, and would offer a platform to share best practices, to explore and discuss opportunities for streamlining public support for SME innovation.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

Support to social entrepreneurs in times of crisis

As the situation with COVID-19 unfolds around us, it is clear that in the coming weeks and months there will be a significant impact on social enterprises, many of whom work with the most vulnerable people. Finance4Social Change project partners convened online on April 14, 2020 to discuss how to best respond to the new challenges. 14 partners from 12 countries work together to deliver improved policy learning and develop practical solutions on impact investing to better shape the regulatory framework for the proper functioning of the social financing sector in the Danube region.

The project consortium decided to be flexible in the coming months, while continuing its support for social entrepreneurship. The partnership will continue its support in three main ways:

               1. Bring information, resources and learning opportunities through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that will be launched in mid-May.
               2. Bring access to financial support through a competition for social entrepreneurs that will be launched very soon.
               3. Champion the voices of entrepreneurs and social investors and build on them a Danube region strategy for social investment.

The project Finances4SocialChange is co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI). More information about the project is available at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/finance4socialchange

 

Media and Information Literacy Matters Even More


In the context of unprecedented challenges and efforts of educational and information communities throughout Europe to tackle the current COVID-19 crisis, the IN-EDU project partners met virtually on April 8th and April 10th to evaluate, regroup and advance their media and information literacy activities targeting high-school students, teachers, parents and the community at large.

In all participating countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia – schools are closed and gathering of groups of people are not possible. Nevertheless, in the conditions of quarantine and distance e-learning media and information skills are vitally necessary. While students may be tech savvy, that doesn’t mean they are news savvy. Project partners decided to work intensively at present to outreach to parents who now spend more time at home with their children, to develop and disseminate more online resources for debunking misinformation, safe internet use and critical thinking.

INclusion Communities through Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project is co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme. Sofia Development Association is the Bulgarian partner in it. See more here: http://in-eduproject.eu/; https://www.facebook.com/INEDUproject/.

     

 

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