The purpose of the Project was to bring together Roma civil society and political activists and representatives of other ethnic groups in order to raise civic awareness and ethnic tolerance throughout Bulgaria.
The aim of the Project was to bring together Roma civic and political activists with representatives of other ethnic groups, to enhance civic knowledge about tolerance in Bulgaria and to train them in negotiation and conflict resolution, communication and public speaking, and advocacy; to create a network of activists from Roma and other non-governmental organizations that should be proactive in training Roma groups in civic and political participation and setting-up NGOs. Developing civic and political culture among Roma was assessed as a key factor for the influence, which Roma organizations could have through articulation of interests and public pressure on important topics. Establishing Roma non-governmental organizations, which should effectively operate into networks, was also considered as key for implementation of civic initiatives on Roma issues. This Project was implemented with the kind support of the US Embassy Democracy Commission.
June – November 2006
Goals and Results
The project’s goal was to cover the three main areas corresponding to the three main courses, which had to provide opportunities for Roma to establish effective civic organizations and to advocate their problems to civic, political and legislative authorities. The topics were as follows: 1. negotiation and conflict resolution, 2. communication and public speaking, and 3. advocacy. One of the main components of the initiative was training of trainers. During the third course of the Project, the participants focused on developing a housing strategy for Roma as a form of social policy and in an attempt to find a solution to the most pressing problems, faced by Roma. The proposed project for social housing aimed at improving housing conditions for Roma and limiting social inequality. Although the third course partly refocused the Project, the BSoP team assessed as important the development of its practical aspect, which was the Housing Strategy. The Strategy was developed along with representatives of different Bulgarian institutions, non-governmental organizations and Roma participants in the Project.
The Bulgarian School of Politics started the Project in Bulgaria, where Roma problems are pressing. The Project targeted representatives of Roma communities, who were actively involved in Roma or other political parties, non-governmental and cultural organizations and organizations working in the field of human rights protection in Bulgaria. In addition, it included representatives of other ethnic groups, including Bulgarians, in order to encourage mutual understanding on Roma issues in a tolerant and multiethnic training environment.