Botevgrad

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Reinforced process
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Ivan Gavalyugov
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Adrian Angelov - Ethnic and Demographic Issues Expert
Facilitators: 
Anna Rizova
Total population: 
31 218
Source: 
Census 2021
Roma living in the Municipality: 
6 000

ROMACT Cycle Closed

Botevgrad municipality joined ROMACT in February 2017 with the signature of the letter of agreement.

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.

After the first cycle of ROMACT:
ROMACT program reported its two-year work in Botevgrad
ROMACT achieved results presented at the final meeting

 

Description of the Municipality: 

*Disclaimer: The information and views set out in this page do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe and/or the European Commission. Neither the Council of Europe, the European Commission nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.
 
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

As of  January 2023, ROMACT process is reinforced in Botevgrad and a new agreement was signed by the Mayor to reinforce the ROMACT cycle in the municipality. 
 
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

The Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following projects :
The expertise provided by ROMACT for municipalities involves training and guidance on preparing project proposals and implementing inclusive policies aimed at improving the living conditions and social integration of vulnerable populations, including the Roma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Roma culture in Botevgrad - Funded by the Financial Mechanism of European Economic Area (FM of EEA) and Norway grants.
Budget: 68 483 €
Status: rejected

​* "Increasing civic participation in the processes of implementation&monitoring of the MLDP - Funded by the European Social Fund.
Budget: 29 197€
Status: approved

Botevgrad - NGO "CAG Botevgrad - "Etno-Cultural Eco Roundabout - Funded by the EU & National Agency (Human Resources Development Center).
Budget: 60 000€
Status: rejected

* Botevgrad - Kinder garden “Kokiche” - Project „ЗаЕдно“/"Together" - Funded by the COIDUEM.
Budget: 16 368€
Status: rejected

Botevgrad/Kindergarten “Detelina” , Vrachesh - “Toddlers with equal rights and eco hearts” - Funded by the HRD Programme 21-27.
Budget: 15 835€
Status: approved

“Prevention of secondary segregation in the educational institution of the Town of Muglizh” No. НПОД - КП33.2 - 007/13.07.2020 г - Funded by the Ministry of Education.
Budget : 16 923€
Status : approved

* “Hand in hand in support of the educational integration of the youngest citizens of Muglizh” No. КП33.19-5-002/10.08.2020 - Funded by the COIDUEM.
Budget : 5 988€
Status : approved

“За утрешния ден” (“For tomorrow’s day”) No. КП33.19-2-025 - Funded by the COIDUEM.
Budget : 10 256€
Status : approved

“Friendly hand” KП33.19-1-061 – 2020 - Funded by the COIDUEM.
Budget : 6 401€
Status : approved

Alternative for children during the pandemic N: 35-26.06.2020 - Funded by the IRIS Fund.
Budget : 9 692€
Status : rejected

Let's lend a hand N: 40-30.06.2020 - Funded by the IRIS Fund.
Budget : 10 000€
Status : rejected

"Two-way exchange: new perspectives for Roma culture and art " - Funded by the FM of EEA and Norway grants.
Budget : 74 825€
Status : on reserve list

BGCULTURE - 3.001- 0027, Map the culture and arts of the Roma from Botevgrad municipality and promote Roma culture - Funded by the FM of EEA and Norway grants.
Budget : 68 483€
Status : on reserve list

Trainings provided by ROMACT experts :
 
Community Action Groups (CAG):

* 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;
Advocacy with Local Authorities for addressing social exclusion and marginalization;
Understand and Participate in CLLD strategies;
Raising professional skills of Roma mediators;
Funding opportunities for NGOs.

Local Authorities (LA):
* 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;
Reinforcing the local partnerships for more effective practical implementation of children's rights and the protection of children at risk;
Information on procedure BG05SFPR002-2.003: “Future for the children” in Bulgaria;
Including priorities and measures for Roma communities in the Integrated stratedies for territorial development;
Address registration for persons who do not own legal home;
Social and Emotional Development and Language Culture through Lego Education;
Preventive measures to tackle challenges of inadequate behaviaour;
Drafting project idea & establish partnership under transnational cooperation.

LA and CAG : 
Presentation of Erasmus+ Program - KA1 Learning Mobility for Individuals; KA2 Cooperation between Organizations and Institutions;
Grant procedure for financial assistance through the selection of project proposals BG05M2OP001-3.019 "SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS FOR ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION”;
Mainstreaming priorities of the vulnerable Roma groups in MIDP.

Taskforce :
National programs 2021 - 2027 funded by the EU structural and cohesion funds in support of municipal policies for social inclusion;
Partnership management for planning and implementation of municipal policies for social inclusion;
"Making the most from the Integrated Territorial Investments and Community Led Local Development for planning and implementing the municipal plans for social inclusion”.
 
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

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.

Health for everyone! – Association of Community Action Groups
ROMACT supported the municipality with 4971 €, reaching 100+ people from vulnerable Roma communities in Botevgrad. The project covered the health check-ups for and consultations of residents with chronic illnesses, disabilities, elderly, pregnant and young people under 18. Following the medical tests, beneficiaries received consultation from family doctors specific to their conditions. The project helped to raise awareness on the importance of regular check-ups in order to maintain a healthy life.

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
11 Jan 2023
Start of ROMACT reinforced process with the signature of a new letter of agreement
Disclaimer - © Council of Europe 2015 - © photo credit