Tvarditsa

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Closed
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Mr Atanas Atanasov
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Mr Petko Borisov, Deputy Mayor on Social and Humanitarian Issues
Facilitators: 
Mr Kadrin Hasanov
Total population: 
13 804
Source: 
2011 National Census
Roma living in the Municipality: 
2 100
Description of the Municipality: 

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The municipality of Tvarditsa is located in the Western part of the Sliven region of Bulgaria. The municipality consists of 10 entities – two cities (Tvarditsa and Shivachevo) and eight villages, three of which are located in mountainous areas.
According to the last official census in 2011, the total population of the municipality is 13,804 inhabitants, with around 15% of that figure represented by the Roma population with unofficial estimates for the actual Roma community reaching as high as 30% of the total population.
The Roma community lives mainly in three settlements: TvarditsaOborishte and Shivachevo. More than half of the Roma population in the municipality lives in Tvarditsa, concentrated in the "Istok" area of the city and also on the outskirts of the Kozareva neighbourhood . In Tvarditsa and Shivachevo, Roma live in legally built homes in fairly good conditions when compared to the living conditions in other villages under the administration of Tvarditsa. In these municipal villages the situation is worse, there are a high percentage of Roma who live in extremely poor environments with unacceptable sanitary conditions. In terms of infrastructure, one of the main issues is the lack of sewage systems in the Roma neighbourhoods with the resulting health hazards including many cases of  Hepatitis A. There is also a need to improve the road infrastructure, illegal housing occupancy, and improving garbage collection services in the Roma neighborhoods in Tvarditsa.

Some Roma families with better socio-economic status have started moving out of the Roma neighbourhoods, taking advantage of the high availability of housing for sale in the city. 
 
With regards to education, the most important issues to tackle is school segregation and increasing the number of places available to children in kindergartens.

Most Roma citizens in Tvarditsa are only able to find informal employment (e.g. woodcutters on a daily wage). As a consequence, many are not covered by health or retirement plans. There are also many Roma families that rely on social welfare to survive.
 

The ROMACT Process

The ROMACT process was initiated in Tvarditsa in November 2015 with the signature of the letter of commitment by the Mayor of the municipality. Shortly afterwards, the Community Action Group (CAG) was created and is composed of Roma citizens from the various Roma neighbourhoods in Tvarditsa.
The CAG defined its needs based on a short-term and a long-term vision, as described in the tables below:
 

Short-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
InfrastructureIncrease the frequency of garbage collectionIncrease the frequency of garbage collection
EducationPrevention of school drop-outsEnsure all Roma children have access to kindergartens
Othereation of a community centre in the Roma neighbourhoodDevelopment of activities for the prevention of Hepatitis A
Long-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
EducationIncrease the levels of literacy of Roma childrenEnd segregation of Roma children in schools
HousingTackling the issue of illegal buildings
InfrastructureImproving infrastructures in the Roma neighbourhood

The municipality has been very actively involved in efforts to improve the lives of the Roma community in Tvarditsa. As a result, the municipality developed projects that meet the needs put forward by the CAG and the Local Council adopted the Joint Action Plan (Municipal Action Plan for Roma Inclusion) in December 2016, date on which the creation of a Taskforce for Roma Inclusion was also voted.

Actions  implemented include:
- A project to address school dropout rates and to tackle illiteracy levels in Roma pupils submitted to the programme "Science and education for smart growth" (OP SESG);
- the municipality has invested in additional containers for garbage disposal which will shortly be distributed in the Roma neighbourhoods;
- the development of a sewage system in the Roma neighbourhood;
- the creation of a cultural community centre in the neighbourhood (under the Programme for Rural Development);
- the repair and purchase equipment for the building of one of the kindergartens (under the Programme for Rural Development).

Besides, the Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following projects:

Strategy for community-led local development for the period 2017-2023 of non-profit organization Local Initiative Group - Tvarditsa - RDP
Beneficiaries: 595
Budget: 282 000 euros
Status: approved

"Concept of municipality Tvarditsa for social inclusion of vulnerable groups", OPHRD-OPSESG
Beneficiaries: 635
Budget: 282 000 euros
Status: approved

"Complex Measures for Socio-Economic Integration of vulnerable groups from the Municipality of Tvarditsa"- OPHRD-OPSESG
Beneficiaries: 500
Budget: 392 681 euros
Status: under evaluation
 
ROMACT also provided training and coaching sessions to the main stakeholders:

- Community Action Group:
 - Training on community establishment and management of the Roma community centre and of NGO
 - Training on local self-government. 
 - Coaching for participating in a meeting of the Local Council.

- Local Authorities
 - Coaching on planning the implementation of short and medium term activities
 - Training session on strategic planning
 - Coaching for the elaboration of mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of Joint Action Plan
 - Training on "Approaches to work with and in the Roma community"

- Taskforce
 - Coaching for to support the elaboration of local mechanisms for preventing school dropouts and early marriages in Roma community

 

Timeline Points

25 Oct 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 1
15 Nov 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 2
16 Nov 2015
STEP 1 - BECOMING COMMITTED - Tvarditsa joins the ROMACT programme
5 Dec 2016
Creation of Taskforce
5 Dec 2016
Step 3- Translating priorities into measures and projects- Adoption of Municipal Action Plan for Roma Inclusion
2 Nov 2017
End of ROMACT Process
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