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News

Volunteers of BFPA: Online Youth Meeting

ZOOM, Q&AJune 18, 2020

Online national meeting-discussion ‘Health and Sexuality Education from the Point of View of Peer to Peer Trainers’ was organized and held by the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) on 18th June 2020 at the platform for active communication Zoom. Over 35 BFPA peer educators from Sofia, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Pernik and Pleven participated at the meeting and discussed how the conditions of the COVID-19 crisis influenced the ToT process and the delivery of educational sessions and how to continue working on the important topics of health and sexuality education. Reliable information about puberty and growing up, reproductive health, preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs is valuable and interesting for young people who do not stop looking for materials (mainly online) in order to get additional knowledge.Besides these “evergreens” young people are interested in other topics: mental health, suicides, alimentaion disorders, violence prevention.

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Parents Need Support to Improve their Digital Competencies

OAK LogoOnlineSofia, May 27, 2020

The first online (due to the Covid19 pandemic) meeting of the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place on May 27, 2020. Representatives of BFPA, Loveguide, Tulip Foundation, BYRC, WHO – Bulgaria, Know How Center for Alternative Care of Children of NBU, MLSP, NCCTHB, NCPHA, UNICEF, IOM, GERT Foundation, ARC Foundation, SAPI, PULSE Foundation, Roditeli Association Re-Act Association, WCIF.
The agenda included review of what has been done from the latest meeting of the Partnership up to the moment, sharing the experience of members’ activities in the Covid19 pandemic, discussion for coordinating efforts of the group and maximum using the different resources. The work on developing new web resource platform up to the moment and the ‘small projects’ initiative in the frame of the project ‘The Ability to Change’ were presented. The projects in priority area ‘Changing community attitudes and ‘zero’ tolerance to sexual exploitation of children’ are to start in September.

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‘My Body, My Rights’: Health Mediators form Yambol Municipality about their work in State of Emergency Conditions

MSD LogoYAMBOL 1 Yambol, May 2020

The parents are unemployed. Several days ago one of the brothers has come from abroad, unfortunately with no money. All the family does not have the right to go out of home. They all are quarantined. One day while she is working in her cabinet Kina Asenova is hearing a kid crying on the street. She is going out to see what is happening and sees the family’s six-year old child shaking on the ground and screaming. She finds out that the boy wants a snack very much and the family cannot afford that kind of expense... She goes to the shop, buys a box of the snacks and gives it them. ‘The next day we started distributing food. We gave it away without judging people’s race. We give as well for mentally disabled and people with different diseases’.
Kina is health mediator from 2008, but she works with people on different projects from the 2000s. People trust her. Her colleagues – Atanaska Mutafova, Asen Stoyanov, Atanas Atanasov, Ivan Ivanov and the mediators from Tundja Municipality daily do work in the villages Kukorevo, Kozarevo, Veselinovo, Drazhevo, Hadjidimovo. They work all day long, even on weekends. ‘Since Bulgaria declared state of emergency because of the Covid pandemic we are every day on the field, we give information on the infection, explain them why it’s important to stay at home. We are tracking people who came back from abroad and we make sure that they follow the quarantine guidelines. We have such people in almost every village.’

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‘My Body, My Rights’ – Successes and Challenges

MSD LogoMontana 1Health mediators from Montana, Bulgaria, and their work in state of emergency
Montana, March-May 2020

Peter Cvetanov, Sonya Rumenova and Valya Alexandrova are health mediators in Montana Municipality. The three of them as a team are implementing activities part of the project of Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) – ‘My Body, My Rights’ (2018–2021). In addition to their municipality, pilot work is being done in two other locations in Bulgaria: Yambol and Sofia. The project is implemented in partnership with organizations from Serbia and Romania, with the coordinating role of International Planned Parenthood Federation and is supported by the programme for social responsible business of the company MSD via their campaign ‘MSD for Mothers’. Main goal of the initiative is to improve the conditions for ensuring quality of family planning services for vulnerable communities and to build capacity and civil responsibility within the communities.
Sonya in a health mediator from 2013. She graduated economics, married with two children: a boy and a girl: ‘Several years ago Roma women from the neighborhood didn’t see doctors for prophylactics. Part of them were not insured, others simply were living with their prejudices and fears. We had two obstetrics-gynecologists as part of the Bulgarian-swiss cooperation program ZOV. They were visiting the health center in the neighborhood according to schedule. Then we decided to form local women’s group for self support, where initially timidly, but afterwards more confidently we started talking about examinations, contraception, family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections... The women from the group started little by little to shake off their fears.’ They just made progress and the activities on project ended. Only  mediators remained in the health center. And then for them new opportunity arose via the project ‘My Body, My Rights’. ‘It gave us the opportunity to continue just on time. The group for self support is developing; the health center in the neighborhood is alive again.’ Sonya succeeded to motivate a poor mother of nine children for IUD insertion. Before that she tried many times, but without any success. ‘I think that she was mostly afraid of being damaged by IUD. Now I know for sure that my long-term working with this woman was not in vain.”

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Learning Action Partnership: Efforts for Guaranteed Sustainability

OAK LogoParticipantsSofia, February 12, 2020

The first for 2020 meeting of the Learning Action Partnership took place in Sofia on February 12, 2020. The agenda included review of activities done on project up to the moment, fixing of concrete future activities and defining small working groups for the different strategic directions.
Representatives of organizations and institutions who participated shared their working plans and the possibility of inclusion of other LAP members in joint activities. Part of the feedback was connected with the increase of fake news, including on priorities of the Partnership. The atmosphere of the event was businesslike, but with extremely well expressed solidarity and good collaboration feeling. In the debates during the meeting important actual topics were covered, such as increasing media and digital literacy of children and challenges, which we are meeting in our work with teachers with long practice on certain age and with burnout. Forming network of children and young people with innovative model of managing was discussed, which will aim decreasing the aggression of children under residential care. How to focus our work so that the efforts put to have guaranteed sustainability; science and research approach and regional and national level partnerships; the need to work together to change the environment – were among topics discussed during the event.

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Covid-19 pandemic – analyzed and explained
Sofia, January 7, 2021
 
Online meeting with Prof. Radka Argirova, MD, leading virologist with prominent scientific and practical experience was held on January 7th, 2021. The meeting provoked interest and attracted attention of more than 80 people from all regions of the country – among them were representatives of Learning Action Partnership (LAP), BFPA staff and Management bard, NGOs, institutions, medical doctors and health mediators. The topic of the event was ‘ SARS-CoV-2 – About the Virus, Specific Diagnostics and Vaccines’ . During the more than two hours and a half lasted forum was presented a lecture including information about arising epidemics and pandemics, mechanisms of occurrence and evolution of viruses; main generally accepted facts, diagnosis and development of Covid 19. Review of the types of tests for Covid 19 was made, qualities of antigen test and types of PCR tests were discussed, as special attention was drawn to cases with false negative results, asymptomatic patients, and symptomatic patients with negative results. Special attention was also given to the different vaccines elaborated to combat the virus. Participants took the opportunity to ask additional questions after the lecture. You can listren to them in Bulgarian here
 
Outwitting the pandemic - in search of digital applications for health education and information

Sofia, Montana, Yambol, December 2020

Despite the restrictions imposed by the measures against Covid 19, in recent months the planned activities in the second year of the project "My body, my rights", supported by the socially responsible business program "MSD for mothers", continue in three locations - Sofia, Montana and Yambol. The coordinators of the project by places - Fakulteta district in Sofia - Valentin Blagoev, Kosharnik quarter and Ogosta quarter in Montana - Petar Tsvetanov and the whole Tundzha municipality in Yambol (the villages of Veselinovo, Kukorevo, Tenevo, Zavoy) - Kina Assenova, hold meetings of self-help groups - though in  more limited numbers due to precautionary measures, conduct training events for young people - outdoors, through specialized stands for distribution of printed materials for the project itself and for the SRH in general, and most importantly - support marginalized members of communities with hygiene materials, essential goods and medicines and specialized information for prevention from Covid, along with the usual topics - prevention of unwanted pregnancy, prevention of STIs, maternal and child health and many others, through selfless and exhausting walking from the neck of door due to the impossibility to organize large information sessions.

 
Break the Silence: Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence of Children Could Happen Everywhere

Sofia, November 18, 2020

Break the Silence: November 18 is the European Day on protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual violence.
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear ‘sexual exploitation’ is usually connected with red lanterns, streets or roads with women (and men) sex workers, trafficking of human beings. Sexual exploitation of children could have also other faces – sex services in exchange of expensive things such as smart phone or modern accessory or at the cost of a lunch, sweets or instead of rent for parents’ accommodation. It can happen via internet and to affect minors before they become teenagers. That’s why it is needed to break the silence and to ask for zero tolerance concerning this ugly phenomenon. Statistics show that one of five children becomes victim of violence, including sexual. As parents we can prevent this: we can teach them for instance on the Rule of the Bathing Suit. It says that no one has the right to touch their body, especially where the body is covered by a swimming bathing suit. Medical examinations and manipulations as well don’t have to be allowed without their informed consent. The rule helps children to understand that their bodies are their own, that there is good and bad touching, as well es personal borders and social ethnic norms.

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