The awards in the competition for civic action “Participation for Nature”, organized by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation in partnership with For the Earth and BlueLink, were bestowed at an official ceremony during the festival “Green Days”. A jury, including representatives of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, For the Earth, together with outside observers by the Foundation Help for Charity in Bulgaria and Odyssey Inn, chose from over 50 projects of groups from all over Bulgaria. After the first round, 20 campaigns continued the contest for the awards. After nearly four hours of deliberations, the jury selected from them not three but five organizations to receive cash prizes to realize their activities and ideas.
All proposals were evaluated based on the following criteria – capacity of the applicant organization / group; feasibility and relevance of the described activities and the results thereof; the relevance of the problem; adequacy of the activities’ budget and skills of the applicant; originality of the Action Plan and proposed actions; whether the campaign engages institutions and influences decisions at the local, regional or national level.
Cash prizes were awarded to the following organizations:
- Initiative Committee to hold a local referendum in the municipality of Samokov – they will use the prize of 1,200 levs to help their fight to organize a local referendum in the municipality of Samokov against the construction of a large regional landfill near the town of Samokov, the village of Dragushinovo and the Iskar river;
- Initiative Committee, town of Shipka – with the help of the award in the amount of 1,000 levs they will organize a campaign to stop felling in the area; repair the damage and subsequent afforestation and subsequent inclusion of the forest in Bulgarka Natural Park and / or other protected areas ;
- Civil Initiative Rakitnitsa – Arnautito and Initiative Committee against the landfill for solid municipal waste near the village of Rakitnitsa – with their prize of 1,000 levs, they will continue their campaign against the construction of a landfill in the area in violation of a number of regulatory and environmental standards.
- Civil Initiative “Save Kara Dere” will realize their idea to build restrooms at the campsite and conservation of natural habitats during the active camping season in Kara Dere beach with the sum of 1130 levs.
- NGO “Civil control – Protection of Animals” in the city of Plovdiv – received an award of 2,000 levs for their campaign against the decision of the Municipality of Plovdiv for construction in the riparian forest of about 650 decares, located in the park “Recreation and Culture”.
Besides the cash awards, the jury decided to assist with expert assistance, training or other support another five organizations that also impressed it with their ideas and causes – Public Association “Let’s Preserve Coral”, Informal Group for the Preservation of the Entire Park “Bedechka” in Stara Zagora, Informal Initiative “My Stara Zagora”, Civic Group “For Vitosha” and the Association “Varna Breathes”.
The campaign that won the hearts of the audience and will receive expert assistance and / or training became known even before the official ceremony. “Let’s Save Kara Dere” was ranked first. The idea of “Wonderbird Unity for Nature” and their project “Shelters on European Tourist route E4 – Restart!” – a large-scale study and long-term action plan to protect nature and secure sustainable development of mountain tourism in Bulgaria and environmental development of the existing facilities in the mountains was ranked second.
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The voting was held online on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/958527704165710/
One of the voters – Desislava Aleksova – was chosen by lottery to receive an award from the stores “The Wall”.
The campaigns that were favorites of the jury and of the audience got the chance to find supporters among visitors at the Expo by presenting their causes during the festival “Green Days” on May 23 and 24.
“We thank all the organizations that have applied in our competition. We remind that everyone can see a summary of all action plans of all participants on the project’s site “Participation for Nature” – http://forthenature.org/uchastie-za-prirodata. We hope that all campaigns will find like-minded people and support to become reality,” the organizers shared.
The competition for civic action is organized under the project “Participation for Nature”, which is funded under the program for support of NGOs in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014. The project is implemented by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation in partnership with the Environmental Association For the Earth and the network for civil action BlueLink.
The stores specializing in mountain equipment – “The Wall” – and the Help for Charity in Bulgaria provide a portion of the competition’s cash awards. Media partners include Bivol, Kafene.bg, 360 magazine, U-report.
More about the project Participation of nature: The aim of the project is to contribute to environmental protection by encouraging the participation of NGOs and civil society groups in the process of policy formulation and decision making at local, regional and national level. The project will support civic activity by supporting enterprising people from Bulgaria and will create a cohesive network of functional civil units for the protection of nature.
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