The project is a logical continuation of the activities of Gender Task Force to Stability Pact in raising women's role for forming local policy, representative participation in governance and leading public positions. This is a regional project, which had been implemented in 12 countries/territories of the Stability Pact: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Hungary, Kosovo/a, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, donated by the Norwegian Foreign ministry.

The role of local authorities is of considerable importance for the democratization of public processes. It is quite close to people and supposed to know best their issues. The correspondence of policies to people's needs depends on its ability to organize the local elite and get it involved both in the process of identifying local issues and in the activities for their solving. The success is a final result from the creation of public sense, commitment and mutual aid. This is the key idea of the created regional methodology used for "Women Can Do It - III". It targets the local "women's elite" of towns with women mayors and aims to unite their efforts to solve at least one local issue and lay the basis of future structures of local authorities, which being part of gender equality National mechanism will pursue this policy on local level.

IMPLEMENTOR: Gender Project for Bulgaria
NATIONAL TRAINERS: Tanya Turlakova and Silvia Kostova
TIME FRAME: May 2003 - February 2004

Target Groups:

Locally elected and appointed women, women from political parties and Trade Unions, NGOs activists, journalists and businessladies in 7 cities in Bulgaria with more than 10 000 inhabitants.

Overall Objective:

Gender equality mainstreamed in local and national political agendas, legislation, and practice, thereby encouraging gradual change of the political culture of the nation.

Immediate Goals:

Raising the participants' awareness of gender equality,; exchange of best practice between locally elected and appointed women in Bulgaria; utilizing the established crosscutting women's networks (established in the process of implementation of the WCDI - I and II projects) in order to work and campaign together for the change of local/national politics in at least one gender equality issue.

Expected Results:

175 elected and appointed women from different political parties on the local level in 7 selected cities with more than 10 000 inhabitants learn how to make a difference by using national and local networking, advocacy, lobbying and campaigning for the advancement of women's human rights and gender equality issues.

Project Activities:

I. Preparatory Phase

    1. National Board set up, which to:
      • define criteria for selection of seminar towns;
      • fix the National meeting day to launch the project;
      • fix the seminar dates;
      • fix the National Evaluation meeting day;
      • consider the type of the National Campaign to be carried out.
    2. TV Spot production

    The TV Spot on equal opportunities of men and women was produced by the EUROPA Cable TV team, which engaged to broadcast it daily in prime time 7:00 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. The broadcast covers the whole country.
  1. Preparation of materials
    • 1 000 posters were printed with the slogan "Locally Elected Women Making a Difference";
    • WCDI - I and WCDI - II Manuals were reprinted in 200 copies each.

II. National Campaign Start

  1. Gender Task Force - Bulgaria" - meeting
    In order to male all the members of Gender Task Force - Bulgaria" familiar with the forthcoming project activities, a meeting was organized in GPF office on 10 September 2003. The TV Spot was shown to them and the idea of a traditional "Annual Week on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men" to be started in October was proposed.
  2. National meeting to launch the project
    The National meeting was held on 16 September 2003 in the Information Center of the European Union and women MPs, women from various political parties and trade unions, representatives of interested institutions and NGOs, and a group of six German women from German People's University were present.

III.Conduction of Seminar

The seminars were conducted following the regional Methodology in the following towns: Ruse, Dobrich, Smolyan, Ihtiman, Kirkovo, Lom and Pernik

Issues identified:
  • society does not take enough care for the children's leisure time;
  • there is no public fund for sick and talented children;
  • there are no safety places where parents can leave their children under 7 while looking for job;
  • there is no relationship between parents and children, on the one hand and teachers and children, on the other hand;
  • women are not checked up prophylactically for diseases typical for their town or region because they do not have the habit to see the doctor;
  • the town's hygiene is not on the desired level;
  • there is not a singe organization in town dealing with women's issues;
  • women and youth are not informed on their issues, there is no place where to gather and discuss them, and receive advice.

National Evaluation Meeting

The meeting was held on 20 February 2004 in Princess Hotel - Europa Hall, Sofia and 100 representatives of political parties, the Parliament, interested ministers, local coordinators and seminar participants, NGOs, trade unions and media were present.

At the meeting:
  • the implementation of Women Can Do It - III in Bulgaria was reported;
  • the results of the political science research were presented;
  • Women Can Do It in Romania was presented;
  • conception was proposed by Stanimira Hadjimitova, Bulgarian NGO Focal Point to Stability Pact Gender Task Force and approved for Joint Work and Financing.
All the participants have had the rare chance to show Bulgarian society a model of joint work and united efforts for putting equal opportunities of men and women in Bulgaria into practice by voting for carrying out "Annual Week of Equal Opportunities of Women and Men in Bulgaria" in October and creation of an informal Equality Coalition in Bulgaria and Plan of Action 2004-2005.