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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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My Body, My Rights: Meeting of the Teams from Montana, Sofia and Yambol

Dolna Banya, September 2-4, 2020

Meeting of the teams on the project ‘My Body, My Rights’, supported by the prohgamme for socially responsible business “MSD for Mothers” took place in Dolna Banya on September 2-4, 2020. Special guests during the event were the Executive Director of ‘St. Sofia’ First OB Hospital Dr. Gergana Kolarova and the coordinator of BFPA in Pleven Dr. Krasimir Romanov. The priceless opportunity to have a direct dialog with Dr. Kolarova was highly appreciated by the team in Sofia and gave them the possibility to adjust the field efforts and optimize the collaboration with the hospital in the field of family planning.
Topics of the discussions during the three-day meeting were: what examinations to be done during the pregnancy and what is doing the gynecologist in the different stages; what are the benefits from health insurances; how much does it cost and how to recover health insurance rights; the benefits of visualization for understanding the information. Short educational films, developed to help the work at local level, were presented.
The work during the three days with health mediators and other colleagues working on the field from Montana, Sofia and Yambol included discussing the progress currently made and future activities trill the project end.
In the crisis months from the beginning of the year two tenth graders from Yambol were close to drop out from school due to the death of their parents, but the project team supported them and the boys will finish their secondary education. Two of the girls, trained on the project this year will be studying pedagogy in Veliko Tarnovo University.

 
The Learning action partnership was introduced to Safenet’s Cyber Scout Programme

Sofia, August 24, 2020

“I’m a 15-year old boy, in the ninth grade. Recently I met a girl in the social networks. After chatting a few days in Skype, we turned on cameras, send saucy pictures…. Now it transpires the girl is not a girl at all, I was recorded and being blackmailed, for money, for more pictures, otherwise the recordings will be made widely public. What do I do to get out of this situation?”
Another case:
“I’m in the sixth grade. A classmate who is a Facebook friend of our history teacher downloaded her picture and made her a professional profile in a porn site. What do I do, how do I react?”
The two cases are just a small part of the one-day training on the Cyber Scout programme for internet safety and online security for the members of the Learning action partnership (LAP). We talked about online bullying, online sexual exploitation, about the ways we should react, what rules apply, what is allowed and effective… We review different cases – from a threat from a pedophile regarding the security of a child to an innocent at first exchange between friends which escalates to online harassment that can have serious and long-term consequences for the victim’s life and mentality.

 
Capacity building in the fields of communication and advocacy

Dolna Banya, August 20-22, 2020

For three days – from August 20 to 22, 2020 BFPA’s team and Board together with representatives of key partners of the Association gathered at a outside-the-box work meeting in Dolna Banya. The public relations and civic law spepcialists Diana Damyanova and Ivana Murdjeva shared with the participants important accents of their professional expertise which are significant for better understanding the public environment as well as for communicating our messages.
The goal of the event was to analyze the needs of our target groups and of the environment we work in, bearing in mind the challenges for the NGO sector and the specificities in communicating with different audiences in order to be more successful when working in ”our” niche – health prevention, family planning, sexual and reproductive health. A short historical overview of the legislative environment and key normative documents was made.

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