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27.02.2018The Integrated Procedure "Socio-Economic Integration ...": What's next to Component 1?

Summary of the operation

On 10 November 2016 the Managing Authorities of the “Human Resources Development “ Programme  and “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme announced a procedure for the implementation of an operation to support the implementation of the Municipal Plans for Roma Integration  2015-2020 . The beneficiaries of the operation are the municipalities, which have approved - by decision of the Municipal Council - a Municipal plan for Roma Integration 2015 - 2020.  i.e. only municipalities can apply, as a mandatory partnerships with NGOs, schools / kindergartens and employers are required. On what stage is the procedure and what's next?

The Integrated procedure was planned in two components:

 Component 1 (BGN 50 000 000 “Human Resources Development “ Programme + BGN 20 000 000 “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme): On the territory of municipalities with updated municipal plan for Roma integration for the period 2015-2020, in accordance with the regulations of the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration 2012 -2020. These are the so-called municipalities in "Rural areas", as well as those urbanized municipalities that do not have social housing in their Integrated plan for urban renovation and city development . These will be the so-called. "Soft measures", divided into 4 directions: access to employment, education, social and health services, development of local communities and overcoming negative stereotypes;

Component 2 (BGN 30 000 000 “Human Resources Development “ Programme + BGN 3 000 000 “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme): On the territory of the municipalities of 39 cities from the 1st to 3rd hierarchical level of the national polycentric system, according to National Concept for Spatial Development 2013-2025 - Beneficiaries in Priority Axis 1 of the Regional Development Programme 2014-2020, in which the Integrated plan for urban renovation and city development includes measures for the construction of social housing. The "soft measures" and the construction / reconstruction of social housing will be implemented.

In March 2017 the project concepts of 52 municipalities (from total 78 applications) were approved in Component 1: Borovo, Kubrat, Antonovo, Satovcha, Cherven bryag, Nikola Kozlevo, Tvarditsa, Yakimovo, Septemvri, Bratzigovo, Lukovit, Tundzha, Pavlikeni, Rakitovo, Dryanovo, Zavet, Tervel, Sredets, Pravets, Ihtiman, Vidin, Samuil, Valchi dol, Sliven, Belitsa, Gulyantsi, Lesichovo, Boychinovtsi, Hadzhidimitrovo, Krivodol, Polski Trambesh, Asenovgrad, Etropole, Isperih, Dve mogili, Botevgrad, Elin Pelin, Strazhitsa, Smyadovo, Lyaskovets, Radomir, Krasna polyana – Sofia region, Dolna Mitropolia, Borovan, Kaspichan, Dolna banya, Shabla, Byala (Russe province), Novo selo, Kyustendil, Vetovo, Simitli.

In November 2017, the Executive Agency “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme approved an increase in the budget of the activities co-financed by “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme from 8 to 23 million BGN. It was done to allow the approved 52 municipalities under Component 1 to plan activities in the area of pre-school and school education up to BGN 390,000, which is a significant increase compared to the previous limit of BGN 50,000.

 In February 2018, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, in its capacity as Managing Authority of “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme, consulted the beneficiaries on topics of the Application Form and the Application Rules.

What's next on Component 1?

In March, the 52 municipalities with approved concepts will be invited - by the Managing Authorities of “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme and “Human Resources Development “ Programme - as beneficiaries have to develop integrated project proposals. Each municipality will develop a project that will include the “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme and “Human Resources Development “ Programme components - on a joint form. After the approval of the projects, municipalities will sign separate contracts with each of the Managing Authorities, which means that the costs will be reported and verified to both authorities.

The fact that every municipality is a beneficiary means that it will not compete against the other municipalities, but it have to put an effort in developing quality project proposal. A letter, sent by the Central Coordination Unit, to the mayors of the 52 approved municipalities in February 2017, pays attention to many gaps and weaknesses that need to be corrected in the project concepts. The lack of real consideration of the local specifics, of the Municipal Plans for Roma Integration and the lack of innovative solutions for problem solving are among the major issues.  The Letter shows clear that Municipal Plans for Roma Integration should cover the period up to 2020, i.e. these municipalities whose plans cover the period up to 2017 need to update them.

The approved municipalities will have the opportunity to include new activities under the component co-financed by “Science and Education for Smart Growth” Programme, as in the stage of concept development its maximum value was BGN 50 000 and currently it is BGN 390 000. This allows the inclusion of new partners: schools, kindergartens and NGOs.

The types of actions, eligible under the component financed by the “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme, include:

1. Additional activities with students with high risk of dropping out of school;

2. Reintegration into the educational system of young people under 18, who have dropped out of school;

3. Creating an educational environment for the inclusion of Roma students from ethnically separated schools through gradual admission to schools outside the Roma neighborhoods (including transportation from Roma neighborhoods / neighborhoods to  towns  school if needed);

4. Improving the educational environment in kindergartens and schools outside the Roma neighborhoods in cities where integrated education is provided for children and students from ethnic minorities and children, seeking or received international protection;

5. Career counseling and vocational guidance for students from ethnic minorities and children seeking or receiving international protection;

 6. Ensuring, if necessary, psychological support for children and students from ethnic minorities and children seeking or receiving international protection;

7. Support for students from ethnic minority to continue their education at upper secondary level and to successfully complete secondary education;

8. Encourage the participation of parents in the educational process;

9. Working with parents from ethnic minorities and / or parents seeking or receiving international protection that prevent their children from attending regular kindergarten or classes;

10. Work with parents, regardless of their ethnicity, to explain the benefits of educational integration and acceptance of the difference;

11. Overcoming negative public attitudes based on ethnicity and cultural identity

The types of actions eligible under the component financed by the “Human Resources Development “ Programme include a wide range of activities, divided into 4 directions:

I. Improving the access to the labour market

II. Improving the access to education: Measures funded under the “Human Resources Development “ Programme will support initiatives that ensure access to education, until children and pupils get involved in the education process. The “Human Resources Development “ Programme will not fund activities taking place on the territory of the kindergartens or  schools, part of the formal education process and fall within the range of the measures supported by “Science and Education for Smart Growth”  Programme.

III. Improving the access to social and health services

IV. Developing local communities and overcome negative stereotypes

 

 It is mandatory to include activities from I and III directions . Center "Amalipe" recommends the inclusion of activities from direction IV too.

 

 Municipalities (and their partners - employers, NGO, schools and / or kindergartens) will have 60 days to submit the project proposal after receiving an invitation. The project approval deadline is 3 months and it stops running if the Evaluation Committee requests additional documents and improving of weaknesses from the project proposal

 

 Municipalities, that have not submitted project concepts

As the approved project concepts in Component 1 are worth less than BGN 26 million, which is significantly less than the 55 million BGN allocated to the "Socio-Economic Integration" operation, it is expected with the rest of the resource to be invited municipalities that meet the requirements of Component 1: have approved Municipal Plan for Roma Integration. It has not yet been decided in what form and when it will happen.

The Municipalities that have chosen Center “Amalipe” as a partner will receive free consultations for developing quality project proposals.

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