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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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Read between the lines!

PosterSofia, October 20, 2017

„Read between the lines” is an unconventional and attention-catching campaign of the National Commission to combat Trafficking of Human beings which was launched at an international forum in connection with October 18th - the EU Anti Trafficking Day. Participants in the meeting were the UK Ambassador H.E. Emma Hopkins, the deputy foreign minister Yurii Shterk, representatives of state institution and NGOs working on prevention of trafficking. BFPA was represented by its Executive Director Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova.
The campaign focuses on prevention of enrolling over the internet of potential victims of labour and sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and violence of children, of different fraud or blackmailing schemes by personal information. The aim is to focus the attention on catchy work opportunities or dating ads which can be misleading and a mechanism for attracting potential victims of trafficking. The messages of this campaign will be disseminated online in dating sites, job sites as well as offline – with printed materials which attract attention. The slogan of the campaign - “THINGS ARE EXACTLY WHAT THEY DON’T SEEM” – urges us to look beyond the often misleading façade.

You can see the video messages of hte campaign here (in BG)  

 

BFPA and “Condom with a cause” – partners of BRCY’s “Volunteer Academy” 2017

Participants 1 Kamchiya, September 2-9 2017

Between September 2nd and 9th in Kamchiya, Varna Province, the 2017 “Volunteer Academy” took place, organized by the Bulgarian Red Cross Youth (BRCY).
“Volunteer Academy” is the largest educational event, organized by BRCY. It was held for a 12th consecutive year and over 100 participants from 10 countries attended it.
Volunteers and resident specialists from all Regional Councils of the BRC in Bulgaria are educated on the following topics: Healthy eating and healthy living; Substance abuse prevention; Prevention of risky sexual behavior; Social assistance activities; Promotion of humanitarian values; Innovative methods and approaches in organizational work.
For a third consecutive year within the “Volunteer Academy” there was a specialized educational module on international cooperation, in which took part youth leaders from different National Red Cross/Red Crescent societies.

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BFPA, NNHM and NNC insist on institutionalizing the health mediator work model in improving the quality of care for vulnerable groups

Work with vulnerable youthSofia, August 2, 2017

 On august 2nd 2017 Prof. Ivailo Turnev from the National Network of Health Mediators, Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova from the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association and Dani Koleva and Mila Tashkova from the Secretariat of the National Network of Children had a working meeting with the Deputy Health Minister Svetlana Yordanova during which they discussed the health mediator work model and the necessity of including their work into the Health Law as well as the need for elaborating and implementing quality standard guidelines or regulations and the funding of the mediators’program
 Deputy – Minister Yordanova stated on behalf of the MoH an intention for mutual cooperation and work on the subject and the representatives of the civil society have taken it upon themselves to send written specific suggestions on how the existing legal framework can be improved in view of ensuring quality of services and sustainability of the work of the health mediators in Bulgaria and improved access to healthcare and services for vulnerable children, parents and communities.

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For the civil society

Позиция
на
Българска асоциация по семейно планиране и сексуално здраве

До всички български граждани

Уважаеми дами и господа,

Настоящата позиция на Българска асоциация по семейно планиране и сексуално здраве (БАСП) не е непременно и единствено свързана с фанатичните и фантасмагорични изказвания и публикации от началото на годината насам около понятието „джендър”. БАСП е организация, която работи основно в областта на здравето – превенция, тестване, лечение и пренасочване за редица сексуално и кръвно преносими инфекции, включително ХИВ, повишаване на информираността сред населението по теми, свързани със сексуална експлоатация, превенция на трафик и насилие. Разбира се, особено съществена част от нашата работа е свързана с въпросите на семейното планиране - дейностите ни са насочени основно към общности със затруднен достъп до здравни грижи, необхванати от здравноосигурителната система, като дейността ни е свързана с гинекологични прегледи, контрацептивно осигуряване, превенция на рака на маточната шийка и рака на гърдата, както и общи консултации, проследяване на бременности и насочване към допълнителни услуги в областта на асистираната репродукция и превенцията на стерилитета.

Нашите наблюдения и проучвания, опитът ни на терен от 25 години насам, свързани със семейното планиране и с изграгждането на общностен капацитет, недвусмислено показват, че България е в тежка демографска криза. Тази криза е свързана с огромен брой емигранти в репродуктивна възраст, както и със засилените темпове на урбанизация. В същото време преработвателните предприятия, особено в селските райони, не са достатъчно като брой, нито пък получават съществена помощ за развиването на други външни пазари. В резултат се наблюдават процеси, особено сред уязвимите общности, на връщане към предмодерни отношения, които често са в разрез с общоприетите ценности на българското общество.

Това включва практики, които са далеч от идеята за отговорно родителство, като отпадане от училище, ранни бракове, нарушаващи правата на детето, както и включването на децата в различни форми на експлоатация. Тези явления нарушават идеала за хармоничност на семейните отношения, достойство и взаимно уважение между мъжете и жените. Засилват се тенденциите за неравенство на първо място в семейството, а след това в отделни групи от населението. Това отношение между мъжете и жените прави непълноценни междуличностните отношения и ограничава обществената изява, задълбочавайки допълнително процесите на бедност.

Историческата традиция на страната ни показва, че начините за преодоляване на тези негативни тенденции са свързани както със заетост, така и с образование, основано на ценността на равноправието. Всъщност образованието в такива ценности е истинска инвестиция в бъдещето, създава условия за свобода на избора и реализация. Такава политика е основана на здравия разум, но е и национално отговорна.

 
A lot has been said about the Convention, and nothing about the women and children, victims of violence

Sofia, January 19, 2018 

Nearly 200 NGO’s, supported by academics and citizens, unite in support of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul convention) with an open letter:
It would be funny if it wasn’t so cruel. That is how we console each other – we, the people who are not indifferent to day-to-day abuse and who for over twenty years support women, brutally beaten by their husbands and partners, help children who have suffered unthinkable forms of violence, work on legislature changes and improvements so we can save human lives. Because for us every person saved from a life of violence is a huge victory. That is our cause.
A lot of quite outrageous things have been said about the Istanbul convention, but no one mentioned the purpose of the document – namely, the women and children who are victims of violence. No political party or organization mentioned the woman from Okorsh, beaten with a hot plate. The woman from Haskovo, beaten to death. The stabbed woman from Sofia. We did not discuss the babies and children whose mothers live in constant fear for their own lives. Etc, etc….. The political and power confrontation is at the expense of the already dead women. At the expense of Elena and Viola.  At the expense of the children who will live their lives without a mother and with the nightmares of abuse and terror. At the expense of each 1 out of 3 women in Bulgaria, victim of domestic violence whose story does not reach anyone, let alone the media.  At the expense of women seeking help and it is refused to them because “it’s their own fault”. At the expense of those 70% of students between the ages of 13 and 16 who know personally a victim of domestic violence.
The situation benefits the perpetrators. It benefits those who think they have the right of ownership over their wife and children. It benefits those who beat, violate, abuse, isolate, stalk and finally kill their wife or partner. 

 
BFPA at 25: Prevention, Education, Health Services, Information and Advocacy

Sofia, December 13, 2017

Colleagues, young people, volunteers, friends and partners gathered at December 13, 2017 to celebrate together the 25th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA).
”People are our most valuable and precious resource”, shared Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, BFPA Executive Director. “During the years of our existence we have realized more than 70 macro projects; over 1 million and 500 thousands people received by us health services, informational materials or had been included in trainings and reached by campaigns. During our work we were the first that introduced the interactive methods of training – highly effective for working with different target groups, including in multiethnic environment. Also we introduced in our country the criteria of quality of services and the concept of youth friendly services. We have piloted and we currently use the peer education model, applied also by many other partnering institutions and organizations working with teenagers and vulnerable communities. The concept of mobile services provision in the area of sexual and reproductive health in regions with difficult access is also our achievement.”
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