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34 new health mediators completed successfully their training in Sofia Medical University

CertificatesSofia, April 1, 2018

Just before the beginning of the astronomic spring, on March 19, 2018 the new scholar year for the newest generation of Roma Health Mediators was officially opened in the University Hospital “Tsaritsa Joanna”. The training is held for a seventh consecutive year from the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) in partnership with the Public Health Faculty of Sofia Medical University. The Class of 2018 consists of 34 Health Mediators, selected based on a concourse with strict procedure and rules, conducted in the municipalities of Sandanski, Pertich, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Elena, Zlataritsa, Hayredin, Kjustendil,Lukovit, Radomir, Iskar, Karlovo, Plovdiv, Zavet, Nova Zagora, Sofia, Botevgrad, Maglizh, Radnevo, Popovo, Dimitrovgrad, Svilengrad, Hikola Kozlevo, Varbitza, Toundja, Boliarovo, Kurdzhali and Montana. The intensive training going with not a single free day in which experts from the BFPA team take part from the very beginning of the program, ended with an exam, successfully passed by all future mediators on March 31.

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Preventing Together Violence against Women

Campaign launchSofia, March 27, 2018

The campaign "You are not alone! Together against Violence " is addressing the government with five main goals. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) is supporting the campaign as one of the non-governmental organizations and several independent media united against domestic violence for the first time as a Bulgarian civil society. The campaign has five basic change goals and insists on specific government commitments to ensure the prevention and successful fight in violence against women:
• Incriminating the domestic violence - all forms of violence against women: domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, persecution, systemic psychological violence, and all other serious forms of violence to be included explicitly in the Penal Code and to be treated and punished as crimes.

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Against encouraging children and young people to gamble

No gabmlingSofia, February 26, 2018

NGOs, members of the National Network for Children, sent an open letter to responsible institutions in order to alarm them about the risk of encouraging children and young people towards gambling by the advertisement from “Chocolate Ticket by the National Lottery – 7777.bg”. BFPA is not only a part of the initiative, but also as an organization working in the field of health prevention and health education finds it’s especially important to work for dependency prevention, including gambling addiction and also for preventing eating disorders in adolescent girls, who are very susceptible to anorexia, for example. The advertisement disseminates messages, unsuitable for children and young people in those two senses – that chocolate shouldn’t be eaten, “we only smell it”, and that scratch cards are an essential part of everyday life and the main way to prosperity. Here are some parts of the letter to the institutions:

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BFPA together with other NGOs supports the Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

MarchSofia, January 5, 2018

In connection with the heated debate and the campaign against the ratification of CE’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) we, a group of organizations and experts in the field of domestic violence and child protection, state our firm support for the ratification of the Convention and our firm position against all false statements and suggestions in connection with it, based on lack of knowledge on the subject or deliberate manipulation of the public opinion. Shifting of the public debate in the wrong direction is the same as refusing to take decisive measures against the violence towards women and children.
For thousands women and children in Bulgaria violence is an everyday occurrence. According to the latest data 1 million out of 4 million Bulgarian women are victims of violence at home. For 54% of Bulgarians sexual violence is an extremely serious problem. According to a survey among students between 13 and 16 old, 70% know personally victims of domestic violence. Child Protection services, who according to Bulgarian legislation are authorized to take measures for protecting children at risk and work with them and their families, in 2015 have worked on 1839 cases in total.

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Bill on the Regulation of the Fundamentals of Volunteering

VolunteersSofia, December 14, 2017

A bill on volunteering is submitted by a group of MPs on December 14, 2017 for consideration and voting in the National Assembly. The initiative was launched by the Public Council of Citizens of the Commission for Interaction with NGOs and Complaints of Citizens to the Parliament.
In the motives the law is submitted it is shown that the fundamentals of the volunteering activities are regulated within it. Definitions of ‘voluntary organization’, ‘voluntary activities’ and ‘volunteer’ are given. Appropriate prerequisites to provide the participation of volunteers are introduced. The necessary conditions for determining their legal status are established. The relations concerning training and qualification of volunteers are also regulated. Reimbursement of the costs made by the volunteer during or in connection with various activities is foreseen.

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BFPA’s participation in the European HIV and Hepatitis testing week

ETW LogoSofia, November 17–24, 2017

In the period between November 17 and 24 BFPA was one of the 15 Bulgarian organizations who took part in the European HIV and Hepatitis testing week. The campaign was held for a fifth consecutive year, BFPA being part of it from the very beginning, as for the last three years Hepatitis B and C testing is included in the testing options. The aim is to increase the number of informed individuals about the dangers of infection as well as encourage them to find out their HIV and Hepatitis status. The campaign is pan-European, 679 organizations from the whole of Europe and Israel signed up for participation, as a certain part of them are multinational. The organizations from Bulgaria, who took place in the campaign, focus on prevention of HIV infection, prevention of prevalence of Hepatitis B and C and also organizations who focus on prevention of STI as a whole.

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BFPA happily joined the celebrations marking NNHM’s 10th anniversary

NNHM LogoParliamentSofia, November 15-16, 2017

On November 15th the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) held a General Assembly Meeting of the organization – at the beginning of the meeting were presented the activities of the organization from 2011 to 2017 and the Management Board reported on its activities. The election part included voting for a new Management Board, Chairperson, Deputy – Chaiperson, Ethical Committee and Secretary.
The General Assembly elected for members of the Management Board of the network prof. Ivailo Turnev, Dilyana Dilkova, Tzveta Petkova, Petar Tzvetanov, Antoaneta Eftimova, Natasha Todorova, Nargis Mihailova, Jeman Hassan and Zahari Atanassov. The current NNHM Chairperson Pater Tzvetanov received enormous support from the assembly attendees but announced his decision to make room for a new face and announced his support for Antoaneta Eftimova, health mediator in Blagoevgrad municipality. Antoaneta’s application was strongly supported by the General Assembly  and she became the new Chairperson of NNHM. Petar Tzvetanov was elected as her Deputy. In the afternoon hours of November 15th were cast the votes for the candidates for members of the Ethical Committee and Kina Assenova, health mediator in Tundja Municipality was elected as Chairperson. The General Assembly was chared by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of  BFPA and a member of NNHM.

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„Condom with a Cause” with a Video to Support Health

Sofia, April 11, 2018

The campaign for responsible sexual behavior of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) and Sexwell condoms “Condom with a Cause” (in BG) continues fundraising for buying quick tests, testing and counseling people in need. The launch of a video aiming to attract and engage more people to support the cause took place on April 11, 2018.
The only way to prevent ourselves from sexual transmitted infections and to save our reproductive system is to have responsible sexual behavior.  

                                                         
 
BFPA in the training team at the NCCTHB Volunteer Academy 2018

Arbanasi, March 26-28, 2018

From March 26 to 28 in the village of Arbanasi, Veliko Turnovo region, took place the annual Volunteer Academy organized by the National Commission for Combattling Trafficking in Human Beings together with the Hanns Seidel Foundation  and the Local Commission for Combattling Trafficking in Human Beings – Veliko Turnovo. This year special focus in the academy agenda is given to the prevention of trafficking for labor exploitation. The training brought together 52 young volunteers that work with the Local Commissions in Burgas, Blagoevgrad, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Montana, Pazardjik, Pleven, Plovdiv and Sliven – some have not received training yet, some have been trained and themselves have implemented peer-to-peer trainings, and some are youngsters from vulnerable communities who were part of the focus groups formed during the labor trafficking prevention campaign.

 
Development Cooperation in Times of Changing Paradigms

Sofia, March 21-22, 2018

The Regional Conference "Development Cooperation in Times of Changing Paradigms" organized by the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID) took place on 21-22 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria and brought together over 100 representatives of CSOs, institutions, UN agencies and business from the Western Balkans and the Black sea region. The conference organizers were also hosting the meeting of Hub2 of CONCORD – the European network of National Platforms and networks active in the field of development policies. BFPA is one of the most active organizations of the Platform, a founding member and a moderator of the health group that attracted to the Conference its valuable partners frоm the Western Balkans.

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