Aytos

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Ongoing
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Mr Vasil Edrev
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Ms Sonia Shistakova, senior expert within the department for “Culture, education and religion, health and sport”
Facilitators: 
Ms Dora Petkova
Total population: 
28 327
Source: 
2011 National Census
Roma living in the Municipality: 
3 101
Description of the Municipality: 

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Last update 02/08/2016
 
The municipality of Aytos ( Айтос ) is located in the Eastern part of Bulgaria, in the Burgas region. The municipality administrative territory consists of 17 settlements (16 villages and one city) with a total area of 403 square km.
 
The municipality has a total population of 29,000 inhabitants and according to official statistics Roma communities make up approximately 11% of the population; though it is possible that the population cold actually make up as much as 25% (around 7,000 people) based on data provided by the Roma community themselves.

The Roma of Aytos mainly live in three settlements:  the Aytos municipal centre (around 2,400 people); the village of Maglen (Мъглен)(approximately 270 people); and the village of Chukarka (Чукарка) (around 270 people).  In the Eastern part of the city of Aytos there is an additional Roma neighbourhood where roughly 2,400 people live.  According to representatives from the municipality about 90% of the neighbourhood is located in the city's legislature (according to the urban plan).  90% of this Roma neighbourhood has paved roads, sewage service, running water and electricity.  The remaining 10% of this neighbourhood outside of the city limits is deprived of all amenities (without paved roads, sewage service, running water or electricity); many of the Roma living in this section also lack property titles.   The lack of title to their homes limits the abilities of local authorities to enact appropriate support for these particular settlement inhabitants.  The marginalisation of this part of the Roma community in Aytos is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Roma of this municipality, and, combine the inability to access social house with high unemployment rates, high school dropout rates of the children, significant child labour statistics and early marriage the municipality recognise the urgent need to find ways to support this community.

ROMACT Aytos photo gallery
 

The ROMACT Process

With the signature on a letter of commitment to ROMACT by Mr Edrev, Mayor of Aytos the municipality officially joined the ROMACT programme in November 2015.
 
Prior to joining the ROMACT programme, Aytos had already initiated a Municipal Action Plan for Roma Integration 2014-207 (MAPRI) and a “Municipal Development Plan, Aytos 2014-2020
The ROMACT national facilitator has worked with the CAG during her engagements with the community to ensure that Roma in the area are active participants and citizens engaging with the Local authority and also that they are involved in the development of the monitoring of MAPRI activities; this approach ensures the Roma participation remains a priority for the local authorities as well.
 
Early in February 2016, the CAG drafted a letter to the mayor detailing their short and long-term priorities for inclusion in the MAPRI.  By the 26th February 2016, the CAG held a working meeting to focus on these recommended priorities, which can be summarised as follows:

 

Short-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
InfrastructureRepair and pave the main streets in the neighbourhood inhabited by Roma
HousingProvide social housing solutions in the municipality
EducationEnsure children attend school and reduce the number of school dropoutsTake appropriate measures to improve the knowledge of Bulgarian language among Roma children
OtherFind a sustainable solution for the high poverty rates, especially among children (provide them with clothing, food, etc.)Guarantee effective emergency services
Long-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
HousingImprove the housing conditions for poor Roma families
InfrastructureInclude the remaining 10% of the Roma neighborhood within the municipality's urban planningPrevent illegal garbage dumping on “Detelina” Street
EducationEnsure children attend school and reduce the number of school dropouts
OtherWork towards the prevention of early marriagesPrepare emergency measures to reduce unemployment

In line with the community priorities, the Aytos municipality has already begun the clearance of two illegal dumping sites.

Through ROMACT programme intervention, a new project idea has been developed by local authorities which meets the needs specified by the CAG members.  With ROMACT's support the project entitled “Increasing the capacity of the pedagogical personal for working in a multicultural environment” was submitted for financing under the Operation Programme “Science and education for smart growth” (OP-SESG).  The project was shortlisted for consideration but ultimately it was not selected for financing.
 
The project entitled “Increasing the capacity of the pedagogical personnel for working in multicultural environmental” was submitted for financing under the Operational Programme "Science and education for smart growth" (OP-SESG) with the support of the ROMACT expert. Although it was shortlisted among the selected projects, the initiative was finally not financed.
 

Timeline Points

25 Oct 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 1
15 Nov 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 2
20 Nov 2015
STEP 1 - BECOMING COMMITTED - Aytos joins the ROMACT programme
23 Nov 2015
STEP 2 - AGREEING ON NEEDS AND PLANS - First Joint Meeting between CAG and LA in Aytos
30 Nov 2015
Application submitted for OP-SESG - Support for pre-school education of disadvantaged children
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