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Zero Tolerance towards Sexual Exploitation of Children

OAK LogoParticipantsSofia, November 13, 2019

Another meeting of the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place on November 13, 2019 in Sofia. This is, at the same time, the first LAP meting under the project “The Ability to Change”, that builds upon a previous project “The art to inform”. The members of the group discussed opportunities to unite efforts of different organizations and institutions for advocating in area of working on prevention and on cases, connected with sexual exploitation of children. One of the main goals of LAP during the next years is to have significant contribution towards zero tolerance in the society concerning sexual exploitation of children. Numerous initiatives are to come, such as capacity building trainings as well as development and implementation of pilot small projects and field initiatives.
The work of the Partnership is supported by the OAK Foundation.

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First coordination meeting for the “I want to know” project

Positive actionViiv Logo

 

 

 

Sofia, November 8-9, 2019Materials

On November 8 in Sofia coordinators and service providers  from  BFPA branches in the country  gathered for an initial training about the activities of the two-year “I want to Know” project, financed by Viiv Heakthcare. The discussions included the project activities, the time schedule, target groups and access to them, specificities of working with marginalized groups, identifying the locations for each voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) action. Each coordinator made a prediction of the project activities they could do until the end of 2019 and all received the necessary informational printed materials. Individual risk assessment of the vulnerable communities and optimizing the work of BFPA  in-country were the main discussion topic during the second day of the meeting.

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Bulgaria and North Macedonia together to support and develop the Health Mediators program

Group photoBlagoevgrad, October 7-9, 2019

Study visit of health mediators, NGO representatives and state institutions from the Republic of North Macedonia took place in October 7-9 in Blagoevgrad. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) with the support of the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) hosted the three days visit and gave an opportunity for the representatives of HERA – Health Education and Research Association, health mediators from Skopje and Prilep and the Ministry of Health of our neighbor country to understand in details how in years was institutionalized and functions the system of health mediation in Bulgaria. Field visit to the Roma neighborhood Predel Mahala was included in the programme and the guests could see how the work of health mediators Antoaneta Eftimova and Katya Kirilova is going on everyday basis – with institutions, as well with people who need and receive their support.

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Romeo and Juliet from Kosharnik district

ActorsMSD LogoMontana, September 12, 2019

The Shakespeare and Servantes tour around the Roma neighborhoods of Bulgaria went to the Kosharnik district of Montana. Talented and enthusiastic local children, selected by the Roma actress Natalia Tzekova presented fragments of the drama “Romeo and Juliet” from a newer angle and with adequate health messages. The aim of the social theatre is with the means of art to inform the public in a comprehensible manner about the harm of early marriages and early school drop outs, the benefits of contraception, the importance of prevention of sexually transmitted infections. The messages target young people as well as their parents, some of which joined the scenes to demonstrate their support for what their children are saying. With his monologue about the Roma Don Quixote Valeri Lekov, also part of the production team, explained some of the community specificities. Between the sketches there were “real life” scenes – a woman from the community visits a doctor who explains the benefits of contraception and debunks some “fake news” about contraceptive methods – all this with a lot of humour and highly appreciated by the audience.

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BFPA kicks off a new two-year project “I Want to Know”

Positive LogoViiV LogoSofia, August 23, 2019

With an official green light on August 23, as of Sep 1st BFPA starts activities on a new project – “I WANT TO KNOW – User friendly access to HIV and STI counseling and testing for Roma youth from vulnerable communities”, supported by ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Programme via CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) UK. The project’s duration is 2 years, during which BFPA will provide voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) with a focus on young Roma men (but not excluding women as well) from poor and marginalized districts through its coordinators in the five BFPA branches in Bulgaria - Pleven, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, Russe and Sofia. Activities will begin with a kick-off meeting and VCT training for the service providers, in parallel with informing and awareness raising by elaboration of info materials, disseminated in the targeted communities by one of the closest and dearest BFPA partners – Health Mediators.

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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.

 
Six Small Projects in the Frame of LAP Supported

Sofia, October 2020

The second competition for small projects for organizations of Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place in June and July 2020. In the defined for collecting proposals deadline five proposals were presented, among which with the help of a special selected committee, as well of organizations members of LAP, for supporting were approved three:
Project ‘ACT>Re-Act>ImpACT! – innovative approach for advocacy of HGO concerning sexual exploitation of children’ of Re-Act Association has the ambition to develop innovative business oriented approach for effective advocacy of NGO with the help of professionals in marketing sphere.
Project ‘Can You See Me? – the hidden vulnerability of children from sexual exploitation and violence’ of ‘Parents’ Association will contribute for improving and effective applying of ‘Mechanism for reaction against harassment and violence in the institutions in the system of preschool and school education’ as exploring the gaps concerning prevention and its effective applying in cases of risk and/or cases of sexual exploitation and violence against children, including online.
Project ‘Individual Protection – advocating for changes in the legislation for individual assessment of children victims of sexual exploitation’ of Social Activities and Practices Institute (SAPI) is aiming to improve the policy and the law on individual assessment of children, victims of crimes, incl. sexual exploitation within the meaning of a directive 29/2012/ЕС.

 
Two round tables at the second year end of the project “My body, my rights”

Yambol, September 24, 2020
Montana, September 28, 2020

At the end of the second year of BFPA’s project “My body, my rights”, supported by the initiative for socially responsible business “MSD for mothers”, the association organized round tables on the need and benefits of family planning with a focus on vulnerable communities in two of the project locations. During the meetings a recap of the activities up to now was made and future ones were discussed for the third year. Both events were attended by  municipal representatives, Regional health inspectorate, Regional health insurance fund, health mediators, health specialists, representatives of local NGOs, Community support centers, social workers and most importantly – members of the target communities in which activities are implemented.
A special accent was BFPA’s new short animated products - “Family planning” and “Pregnancy with a smile”. The discussion was on the activities until now and their effect on improving the level of information in the target groups, the need for such activities in general, the best working communication channels in the Roma community, the role of the self help groups and the health mediators, the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and other problems, i.e. the duplication and decentralization of social activities from different institutions. A recapitulation of what has been done until now in Montana was made by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of BFPA and Petar Tzvetanov, local Project Coordinator, and for Yambol – Tzveta Petkova, member of NNHM’s Board and Kina Asenova, local Project Coordinator.

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