Botevgrad

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Closed
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Ivan Gavalyugov
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Adrian Angelov - Ethnic and Demographic Issues Expert
Facilitators: 
Anna Rizova
Total population: 
33 175
Source: 
Census 2011
Roma living in the Municipality: 
6 000
Description of the Municipality: 

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The Municipality of Botevgrad is a small municipality in the western part of Bulgaria, in Sofia administrative region. Botevgrad municipality includes 13 settlements – Botevgrad, Bojenitza, Elov Dol, Gurkovo, Kraevo, Lipnitza, Litakovo, Novachene, Radotina, Rashkovo, Skravena, Trudovetz and Vrachesh. The town of Botevgrad is the administrative center of the municipality.

The Roma population represents 9% of the entire population in the municipality, according to the official data. Unofficially, they are about 6.000 people, about 18% of the entire population. They live in separate neighborhoods and they are concentrated in 5 settlements - Botevgrad, Vrachesh, Skravena, Litakovo and Novachene.

Some of the main issues they face are:

  • -Poor housing conditions
  • -Lack of sewerage
  • -Lack of water supply
  • -Lack of electricity
  • -Lack of infrastructure in the Roma neighborhoods or in a very bad condition (streets, sidewalks, streetlights etc.)
  • -Segregated schools and high dropout rate
  • -Early marriages & pregnancies

The ROMACT Process

Botevgrad municipality joined the ROMACT program in February 2017 with the signature of the letter of agreement.
 
The Community Action Group (CAG) identified some of the short/medium/long-term problems:

 

Identified problems:
Lack of trained teachers to work in a multicultural environment
Segregation in kindergartens and schools
Early school drop out and school absenteeism
Lack of health services in the villages
Lack of integrated health and social services
Lack of sufficient Health Mediators in the municipality
Issues with legalizing the status of the houses built illegally
Lack of sewerage system in all neighborhoods
Lack of the capacity of the existing plumbing or building a new one
Lack of paved and lightened the streets
Lack of knowledge for labor rights
High unemployment of people with lower education and the need for lobbying with employers to hire people them
Insufficient literacy and vocational trainings
Establishing Maternity Clubs and trainings provided to young mothers
High number of early marriages
Need for a sport and a children playground in Roma neighborhood
Honoring the 8th of April in the villages of the municipality
Lack of school mediators

In December 2017, a Municipal Taskforce for Roma inclusion was created and in May 2018, the Local Council approved the updated version of the Municipal Action Plan for Roma Inclusion.

Several trainings were also provided:
 
The Local Authorities were trained/coached on:

 * Local Government and Administrative Services
* Approaches to work in and with Roma communities
* Social inclusion of marginalized groups at local level
* Legal support to legalize the situation of the houses built illegally
* Legal consultation on access to ID cards
* Organising and implementing a round table for strengthening the cooperation of stakeholders on addressing early marriages and pregnancy
* Consultation on the elaboration of the Local Development Strategy of LIG - Botevgrad under procedure Second admission under BG06RDNP001-19.001 - Sub-Measure 19.2 of Measure 19 Community-led Local Development: Selection of community-led local development strategies of local initiative groups
* Approaches for working with and within Roma community
* Participation in a public consultation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Bulgaria

The CAG was trained/coached on:
* Addressing drug delivery and use in the Roma neighbourhoods 
* Legal frame for addressing discrimination 
* NGO management and organisational development
* Project planning and management 
* Harmonizing activism with professionalism
* Participation within the local/municipal budget process
* Capacity building/coaching for educational and health mediators

 
Activities involving the community action group:
 
* Regional training on Human, Social and Health Rights
* Understanding the municipal budget
* Defining the needs and priorities of the Roma community
 * Project Planning,
* Monitoring and Evaluation of the Implementation of MAPRI
* NGO establishment and registration (" CAG-Botevgrad)

The following measures to solve problems in Roma community were taken:
- Improvement of the energy efficiency
- Creation of a Roma community centre
- Building of a Playground in Roma neighborhood
- Purchase and installment of playground equipment
- Recruitement of two Roma guards in the Depertement for public security
- Recruitement of 6  educational and mediators of Roma origin
- Recruitement of 3 health mediators
- Repairement of street infrastructure in the Roma neighborhood

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 Botevgrad- RDP
Beneficiaries: 33 175
Budget: 3 883 570 €
Status: approved but on reserved list
 
 "Adaptation and Implementation of Social Innovations for Employment of Marginalised Groups through Public Procurement" - OPHRD Transnational cooperation
Beneficiaries: 19
Budget: 85 387 €
Status: approved
 
“Education and employment – for the future of the local community in Botevgrad“- OPHRD-OPSESG
Beneficiaries: 1 020
Budget: 455 145 €
Status: approved
 
“Colorful dreams” For a more inclusive Kindergarten – Botevgrad Kindergarten “Detelina”- COIDUEM - Ministry of Education
Beneficiaries: 50
Budget: 9 947 €
Status: approved

 "Motivation of Young Roma to Participate in Public Policies of Botevgrad Municipality"  - EEA
Beneficiaries: 15 young Roma
Budget: 9 978 euros
Status: rejected

Establishment of a STEM centre, National Program  “Establishing school STEM environment”, Ministry of Education
Budget: 28 205 euros
Status: approved

Building school STEM environment, National Program  “Establishing school STEM environment”, Ministry of Education
Status: rejected

Kindergarten “Zora”, Children’s Art Club “Together with the Art”, Centre for Educational Integration of Children and Students from Ethnic Minorities (COIDUEM)
Budget: 7 675 euros
Status: Approved

In 2020, the CAG benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following project:

Raising awareness of the benefits of СOVID vaccination, The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, German Marshall Fund
Budget: 20 000 euros
Status: Approved

ROMACT Small Grants Scheme
 
ROMACT offers small grants scheme to support the efforts of the municipalities and Community Action Groups to respond together to the needs of the most vulnerable and to multiply the good practices across ROMACT municipalities.
 
Under the scheme of small grants, the following projects were supported by ROMACT during April 2020 – January 2021:

Initiative to counter COVID19 pandemic – Municipality of Botevgrad
ROMACT supported the municipality with 2546 € reaching 187 people in Roma community. The project covered information campaign on COVID19 and provided masks, disinfectant products, informative flyers to raise awareness in the community. Essential food supplies were also provided for families with dire financial situation.

Creating a positive environment for Roma women and youth -The Association CAG – Botevgrad
ROMACT supported the Association CAG Botevgrad with 4991 €, reaching around 150 Roma women and youth through establishing a Mother Center – a place for Roma women and youth where they can socialize, cooperate, and develop solid work skills. The project focused on training Roma women on developing teamwork skills and creating functional work programs at the Mother Center. The procurement of sewing machines and wood engraving machines provided an environment for the youth and women to develop skills that can generate income for themselves.

 

Timeline Points

27 Feb 2017
Step 1- Becoming Commited- Signature of the letter of commitment
24 Apr 2017
Creation of CAG
25 Oct 2017
Step 2- Agreeing on needs and plans- Community priorities list finalised
11 Dec 2017
Creation of Taskforce
29 May 2018
Step 3 - Translating priorities into measures and projects- Adoption of the Joint Action Plan
31 May 2018
Step 4- Funding, implementing, monitoring- Submission of a project proposal under OPHRD- OPSESG
22 Feb 2019
End of ROMACT Process
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