Activating Communities through the Chitalishte Community Cultural Centers in Bulgaria: Second Phase
AGORA Platform started in mid-October 2010 the second phase of the project "Activating Communities through the Chitalishte Community Cultural Centers in Bulgaria", supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation . The duration of the second phase is 30 months and the grant funding amounts to 465 000 leva.
The project goal is to strengthen, enhance and promote the model of community participation and development through the Chitalishtes and influence the public environment to stimulate the expansion of the civic role of the Chitalishtes.
Thus, on the basis of the activities implemented during the first phase in the period 2009 - 2010, the following Programs will be launched:
I. AGORA Civic Discussions Program
In the project framework the described and tested model of AGORA Civic Discussions through the Chitalishtes will broaden its scope with the involvement of 24 new Chitalishtes. The Chitalishtes willing to participate in the project are going to hold public discussions for identification and solution of local problems following the described model in the first phase.
Only Chitalishtes that went through the stage of holding civic discussions will be allowed to continue to the next stage "AGORA Civic Initiatives" where they will receive funding for solution of problems identified by the citizens.
Two types of civic discussions are eligible: 1) General - following the whole process of the model "Civic AGORA" and 2) Specific - directed towards one of the thematic areas of "AGORA Civic Initiatives" Program. The choice of the discussion type to be held depends on the preliminary research and the needs analysis in the community.
II. AGORA Civic Initiatives Program
The program supports solution of the identified during the civic discussions, local problems with the active involvement of people from the community. The range of the program is thirty local initiatives, of which:
- six civic initiatives, continuation of the already started ones during the first phase in Nikopol, Koprivshtica, Topolovgrad, Cherven briag, Kurtovo Konare village and Momchilovtsi village;
- six civic initiatives directed towards finding solution to unique local problems, indentified in broader civic discussions;
- 18 civic initiatives in six thematic areas: "Tourism", "Recreation, Sport and Leisure", "Environment and Organic Farming", "Citizens' Rights", "Traditional Food and Livelihood Festivals" and "Stimulating Local Philanthropy".
The duration of the civic initiatives will be from six to nine months each.
III. Sharing Experience Program
Through seminars, study tour trips, round tables and fairs the Chitalishtes in the network will interact, share and disseminate the already accumulated experience, approaches applied, successful and unsuccessful practices, opportunities and perspectives for development.
IV. Students Media Program
Students from the "Journalist" and "PR" specialties will develop attractive media products based on the results of the applied civic participation approach through the Chitalishtes and the impact of the civic initiatives and the problems solved.
V. AGORA Series
The specialized AGORA Series deal with civic participation problems, outline the image and behavior of the civic Chitalishte, approaches, tools and mechanisms for participation that are adapted to the specifics of the Chitalishte organization. In the project framework two publications of the series will be published: Guide II: Community Resources Mobilization and Guide III: PR and Media Outreach (indicative titles).
VI. Process Analysis
The analysis will focus on the evaluation of the impact of applying the community development approach through the Chitalishte on: the community, the Chitalishte, local authorities and local development policies. The main findings and recommendations will be disseminated by AGORA Platform to key stakeholders groups and institutions.
The six partner Chitalishtes that will continue their work during the second phase of the project are:
- Chitalishte "St. St. Ciril and Methodius - 1894", the town of Topolovgrad;
- Chitalishte "H. Nencho Palaveev - 1869", the town of Koprivshtitsa;
- Chitalishte "Napredak - 1871", the town of Nikopol;
- Chitalishte "Svetlina - 1999", the town of Cherven Briag;
- Chitalishte "Svetlina - 1925", the village of Momchilovtsi (Smolyan Municipality);
- Chitalishte "Liuben Karavelov - 1897", the village of Kurtovo Konare (Stamboliiski Municipality).