Matra Project “Training for Democracy. Bulgarian School of Politics”

Project summary
The key problem that this project identified was the lack of a community of professional political and civic leaders in Bulgaria, who understood and could fully implement the core principles of good governance, such as the rule of law, legitimacy, transparency, and accountability.  Tied to this was the second problem, namely, the inability of political leaders to engage civic participation in public decision-making, for the consolidation of a strong civil society, well-integrated into the European community to which Bulgaria now belongs.

This project directly addressed these issues and proposed the development of an advanced training program to enhance the participants’ skills in participatory democracy and governance. The program brought representatives of political parties, governmental bodies, and civil society to work together in a multi-partisan learning environment. The proposed program further developed the knowledge and capacity of politicians and civic leaders in areas such as public policy development, political communication, conflict resolution, integration of underrepresented communities in the political process, EU law and institutions.
With the expert assistance of the Dutch partners, joint public policy initiatives were implemented, with the involvement of a local municipality and program participants.

Project Goal
The project goal was to support the establishment of new governance culture and the development of responsible and ethical leadership among young political and civic leaders, capable to manage the process of democratic transformations in the country based on the principles of the rule of law, accountability, legitimacy, open dialogue and transparency. The objectives were development of an advanced political and civic leadership training program, and ensuring long-term institutional and financial sustainability of BSoP.

Project Activities
•    Conducting a National Leadership Training Program
•    Developing new course modules & materials
•    Developing and implementing a training-of-trainers program
•    Publication of training manuals
•    Developing a long-term sustainability plan of the School

Project partners
The partner institution of BSoP for the Project was the Instituut voor Publiek en Politiek (IPP), the Dutch Centre for Political Participation, Amsterdam.
The IPP is an organisation with no party affiliation whose aim is to promote political and social participation, and to combat inequalities between sections of the population in their real opportunities to exert political influence.  It is commissioned by government agencies and non-governmental organisations to carry out activities designed to directly involve citizens and their organisations in policy-making, including schemes supporting the democratisation process at home and abroad, in particular in EU-accession countries and the neighbouring countries involved in the Wider Europe programme.

Project funding
The Project was financed through the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Matra Program

Project status
Completed Project; implementation period – 2008 thru 2011

Project results
1. Network of trained political and civic leaders
2. New curricula and course manuals
3. Pool of trained trainers
4. Strengthened institutional capacity of BSoP

Project participants
Bulgarian School of Politics
Alumni Association of the Bulgarian School of Politics
New Bulgarian University
Council of Europe

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