They took place in March and May in the UNHCR building with trainers from the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitar Panitsa", representatives of the NGO sector and university professors.

The aim of the three weekends of intensive training was to prepare the 11 Board members for their upcoming work with institutions and the advocacy tools that may be useful to them. The training program was tailored to the needs of the candidates, and a detailed analysis was prepared for this purpose.

Already during the first module on March 18-19, speakers were involved, who, together with the participants, discussed topics necessary for a team of leaders with strategic thinking. A clear framework was also given for what the Refugee Advocacy Board is and its future work together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bulgaria.

The trainees were introduced to the structure of the organization, its mission and goals, the activities of the Commissariat in Bulgaria. The curriculum continued with group work and ice breakers.

The panel "We work with you and for you" was the most interesting.

Its purpose was to acquaint the trainees with the activities of the organizations and to create direct contacts between them and the members of the Board. The lecturers informed the students in detail about the activities of their organizations and the possibilities of help and support they provide.

In the second part of the training, emphasis was placed on dispute resolution and the art of negotiation. Effective negotiation techniques were discussed. A number of group work tasks were also set so that the trainees acquired soft skills for overcoming conflict situations and crisis management skills.

The second module of the training took place only a week later and started with the internal rules of the Board, work rules, on the basis of which by the end of the entire training a Statute would be developed. Various possibilities for achieving greater efficiency of the Board's work were considered, given the geographical location of its members, in and outside of Sofia, and the possibilities for cooperation and work in the field.

The training participants continued their work on the topic of effective communication in social networks.

The members of the Refugee Advocacy Board were already familiar with the process of creating public policy. They gained knowledge about political parties and processes in Bulgaria. The lecture provoked a broad discussion about the nature of the functioning of the political system in Bulgaria and generated a number of comparisons with the countries of origin of the training participants.

A representative of the capital region "Kremikovtsi" spoke about local government in Bulgaria and specifically about the work of municipalities with refugees and migrants, and the module ended with an emphasis on leadership and the possibilities of managing changes.

The final training for refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Kuwait was held on May 13 and 14 with the participation of prominent representatives of the NGO sector. The program emphasized mental health, media and communication as tools to support and achieve the goals.

Thanks to the training, the members of the Refugee Advocacy and Inclusion Board are now successfully distributing roles among themselves and are gradually becoming a working team.

As part of the project, a number of meetings with representatives of various institutions were organized for the participants in the refugee board. These have already been carried out with representatives of the Ombudsman's office and the European Parliament in Bulgaria. At the end of the week, more meetings are planned with the State Agency for Refugees under the Council of Ministers, the Sofia Municipal Agency for Privatization and Investments (Sofia Invest) and the Social Assistance Agency.

Parthership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion project is being implemented with financial support of EUR 17,067 provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA. The main goal of the Parthership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion project is to enhance skills of refugee communitie representatives for recognition of the institutional environment and access points to the decision-making system in Bulgaria.

All responsibility for the content of the document is borne by Center for Sustainable Communities Development and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria.


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