Bridge 47 partner in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID), are celebrating success on a national level with the establishment of a new programme for Global Education and Awareness Raising that will fund global education projects at a national level. 

This result, announced earlier in September, comes after a sustained and collaborative advocacy process by Bridge 47 staff in both Bulgaria and Slovakia. BPID as a member of the working party on Development Cooperation worked closely with the Ministery of Foreign Affairs to explore the opportunities this programme could bring. Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia and Bulgaria took place in July 2019. At the meeting hosted in Bratislava the Bridge 47 partners BPID and Ambrela were invited to take part. The opportunity was used to highlight Slovakian development education projects that are currently funded by Slovakian Official Development Assistance (SlovakAid). On that basis for a year and a half BPID further focused on advocating for a change in the Bulgarian Development Aid and the way global citizenship education is included. The consultation process for the mid-term programme in Bulgaria that lasted a few months since July 2020 was then the perfect vehicle for arguing the case for the development of the new global education programme.  

Peter Butchkov, Bridge 47 officer in Bulgaria and Executive Director of BPID said of the new programme: 

“To ensure sustainable change, Bulgarian Development Aid will focus its efforts on informing and creating an active civil society through the methods and values of the Global Education. This is revolutionary for the Bulgarian development cooperation on one hand as, until now, there is no way dor Bulgarian CSO to be funded in order to implement development projects. On the other hand, the establishment of a Global Education and Awareness Raising Programme not only gives the chance for the civic sector to work further on the topics of development cooperation, sustainable development and SDGs, human rights, tolerance, culture of peace and media literacy, and struggle against fake news, but also shows how great results can be achieved by the good cooperation between the development experts in the MFA and the CSOs. Discussions on such a program have been going on for some time, however the result would hardly have been achieved so quickly without the consultations in 2019 between the Slovak and Bulgarian MFAs and the active participation of the national development platforms in it. The support that we got by our partners from Ambrela was crucial as they managed to showcase the outcomes and the positive change such projects bring to the Slovak society.  

Jakub Zaludko, Bridge 47 officer in Slovakia and member of Ambrela: 

“We do feel that the current GCE and Development Education programme at SlovakAid does hold on to quite high standard. Not merely in terms of discourse it promotes, but also in terms of annual financial support and advocacy support for mainstreaming GCE at the Slovak Ministry of Education. We are glad that this partnership model has been built up in Bulgaria, to give BPID as one of Ambrela’s key partners, along with BPID’s  member organizations, space to continue the good work in the area of GCE into the future. 

The success of this activity is an advocacy triumph for BPID and Bridge 47 on a national level but it further demonstrates the positive impact the exchange of good practices and coordinated actions with partnering countries can have within this sector. Ambrela and BPID have exemplified the spirit of partnership and interconnected action that is at the heart of the aims of the Bridge 47 network.