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BFPA study among young people: what to improve in the provision of health services in a pandemic

YVYC logoFocus group SofiaKyustendil-Pernik-Radomir-Sofia, July-August, 2021

During the period July-August 2021, 42 young people from Kyustendil, Pernik, Radomir and Sofia took part in 6 focus groups in a study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision of services and care in the field of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Different groups of young people, young mothers and pregnant women were involved. Some of the groups were with participants from the Roma community.
The aim was to examine the needs, challenges and difficulties faced by young people during the pandemic and to give them the opportunity to propose ideas for improving various health services.

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‘My Body, My Rights’: meeting of participants from Yambol, Sofia and Montana

MSD logoParticipantsSimeonovo, Yambol region, August 4-6, 2021

A meeting of the teams, working on our project ‘My Body, My Rights’ took place August 4th and 6th 2021. This time the already traditional meeting was held in the village of Simeonovo and was hosted by the local coordinator Kina Asenova and the colleagues form the Yambol team, working in the villages of Tundja municipality and in “Rayna Khjaginja” district of Yambol. Short review of the activities implemented was made and hard moments by locations, especially during the second and third Covid wave were discussed. The participants from Yambol, Montana, Sofia, working on the project, local partners and institutions as well as the teams of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) and the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) reviewed the needed foreseen activities in order to be more confident in ensuring good results and sustainability. The need for Covid vaccination campaign was underlined.

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July 2021: Reviewing the Strategic Plan and Preparing for LAP Informational Campaign

ParticipantsDolna Banya, 20-23 July, 2021

Two events of main importance for the Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place in July 2021 in Dolna Banya. In the beginning of the month was reviewed the Strategic Plan for Action of the network in the context of the dynamic changing political environment. The sociologist Asen Blagoev presented actual data on the social map of the country. One of the important recommendations given to LAP is health education and information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to be wider and regularly presented subject in school curriculum. Prevention of sexual violence and exploitation is a part of the topics, covered in the health and sexuality education wide topic. Up to the moment the knowledge for improving SRH are without stable financing from structural funds via the national budget. In this sense the efforts on advocacy for enlarging SRH in the curriculum of the middle and upper grade remain important for LAP.

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Communication skills, messaging and PR strategy of BFPA

NFM logoGroup photoDolna Banya, June 28-30, 2021

From June 28 to June 30, 2021 тhe team and the management board of BFPA together with key partners of the organization gathered for a second training under the project "Capacity building for advocacy for SRHR", supported by the EEA Financial Mechanism.
Prior to the training, the participants filled out a detailed questionnaire about how they see the organization and its work so far, what are the challenges of the external environment, which audience and which public groups should be introduced to our work.
The emphasis in the training program was upon the development of PR and communication strategy of the organization. Participants discussed the challenges for civil society organizations to speak in a language understood by their target audiences. Appropriate messages from BFPA aimed at different audiences were developed in working groups.

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Launch of the Project ‘Awareness raising of local communities in areas with significant share of Roma population on asylum and migration issues’

Norway Grants logoStart PlevenJune 22, 2021, Sofia
‘Our neighborhood is separated from the town, it has no name. The young people insist on continuing studying. Many of them are abroad. Those who came back are with obviously changed habits’, shares Kadrie from Provadia. 
On June 22, 2021 in the inspiring environment of the University Botanic Garden in Sofia was launched the project ’Awareness raising IOM logoof local communities in areas with significant share of Roma population on asylum and migration issues’. The project is implemented by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in partnership with a Consortium of three organizations - National Network of Health Mediators, Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association and ‘Ethnic Minorities Health Problems Foundation. The three organizations act from decades as one enlarged team and have considerable success in the fields of health prevention and advocacy. Health mediators from Filipovtsi, Breznik, Tran, Provadia and Harmanly, where field project research is held, together with representatives of NGOs, state institutions and embassies took part at the event. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of BFPA, who was also host of a kick-off online project meeting on May 20. 
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BFPA supports parents' and teachers’ communities in Pasarel in their search for the right communication channels with children and adolescents

Pasarel, June 11, 2022

The primary school in the village of Pasarel hosted a meeting between parents, teachers and representatives of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) Dr. Rada Stamenkova and Ralitsa Zgalevska on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The director Ivaylo Kiskinov and the school psychologist Nadezhda Dedova, on whose initiative the event took place, were also at the vivid discussion, planned as a two-hour but prolonged three-hours without break - there were many questions, long answers, shared opinions, personal stories, observations and experience exchanged. It was about how to talk with children for growing up before they reach puberty, how to prepare them for the changes ahead, how to stay calm and confident as they go through the challenges of this specific and difficult age; how to stay in touch with them without avoiding awkward questions and at the same time not manipulating the information they receive, together with enhancing the ability to identify fake news on Internet.

 
The information campaign on our project "Migration - Myths and Reality" has started

Sofia, May 20, Trun, May 25, Breznik, May 26, 2022

Friday, May 20, Filipovtsi neighborhood. The consortium of the three well-known in the public space organizations NNHM-BFPA-EMHPF. or as we call each other "our extended team" - a network of mediators, family planning and health problems of minorities, launched the information campaign of the project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The introductory event was accompanied by the exhibition "Opening the Door", which also visited the Parliament on April 8. Pavlina Filipova from the BFPA team introduced the participants to the topic of human trafficking. In addition to people from the community, the meeting was attended by representatives of the municipality of Lyulin, MLSP and other institutions. Then we continued - Wednesday in Trun, Thursday in Breznik.
May 25, 2022, Wednesday, Trun. The meeting took place at the Giurgia Pinjurova Community Centre with the assistance of health mediators Anton Anachkov and Dimitar Milanov. The consortium was represented by expert trainers Ventsislav Kirkov, Pavlina Filiopva and Radosveta Stamenkova, and IOM - by Teodora Nikolova and Yavor Lilov. Apart from representatives of the community, this first meeting for the settlement was attended by representatives of the municipality, the CPD, educational institutions, the police and other partners - 4 men and 32 women participated, a total of 36 people. The main topics covered were: Migration and Reality - a field study presented by Ventsislav Kirkov, Communication Strategy and Information Campaign presented by Radosveta Stamenkova, and Trafficking in Human Beings for Labor Exploitation, presented by Pavlina Filipova. An interesting discussion took place, and the representatives of the Consortium and IOM provoked it further with the shown short animated and documentary films. The main countries of interest in Trun are Spain and the Czech Republic, although during the discussion it became clear that the mother of one of the participants was a victim of labor exploitation in Sweden in the scandal surrounding blueberry pickers left to starve for weeks in the wilderness. The idea for the next meeting is on August 1 - until then the people from the neighborhood are in the woods picking herbs and mushrooms. Materials on the project were distributed.

 
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the MSD for Mothers program

Sofia, May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022, Thursday. A very important and good day for BFPA - we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the program "MSD for mothers" - an example of a truly socially responsible business. As our partners and supporters know, we are working on two projects from this program - the recently successfully completed and focused at the Roma community "My body, my rights", implemented in Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, and the currently gaining speed "Youth voices, youth choices", implemented in Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia and focuses on young people, Covid and access to health services.
The day started in the Fakulteta neighborhood - there representatives of the global and Bulgarian office of MSD met with project coordinators from Montana, Sofia, Yambol, with health mediators from around the country and people from the Roma community in the neighborhood. There was a great discussion about the benefits of fieldwork, vaccine prophylaxis, cervical cancer prevention, self-help groups and community capacity building. The afternoon was in a completely different world - in the East Hall in the Parliament, together with key people from the communities we work for, we presented to the institutions the results and philosophy of the programs we implement.

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