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"We need to support this community more"

13 July 2021

-We need to support this community more! ..

-We need to get together more often and increase this community. This is how the exchange of ideas and energy between the generations for common actions takes place.

These are the words we exchanged on the way out with one of the #CivilianHitchhikers in Plovdiv.

On Saturday, July 3, the Roman Ancient Stadium became a contemporary forum for discussion between students, civil organizations and the local community - Civic Hitchhikers.

...

Who is he? He is a young activist, he's not indifferent to what is happening around him and is always ready to participate in something meaningful. He likes to talk, ask questions and share personal thoughts, ideas and reflections. He is extremely CURIOUS, full of ideas and last but not least - he is an enthusiast for living better together HERE and NOW.

This is him - the civilian hitchhiker.

Register HERE so we could invite you to the next meetings in the Club of the Civil Hitchhiker.

You can also learn more information in the FB group Guide of the civil hitchhiker.

On the question: How to achieve a balance between ecology and economy, we discussed specific cases and possible solutions:

- about the illegal catch of esters in the Danube and how the skills of the fishermen can be directed in new and profitable for them sphere of work - shared Ekaterina from WWF Bulgaria

- about the almost unknown Bulgarian salt from Atanasovsko Lake and the efforts to preserve and not to industrialize its production in this protected area - said Rumyana from the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation

- for a long-term struggle with a new youth charge - the struggle to protect Sinemorets from unregulated construction - said Remina, a law student and part of the group for #SAVESINEMORETS

- achieving a balance by moving to a circular economy - a topic presented by  Assen from the Institute of Circular Economics.

Three concrete proposals for solving the discussed problems gathered the most support:

-> the signing of the petition for protection of Sinemorets from redevelopment

-> the signing of the petition for the adoption of a Management Plan for Natura 2000 areas and other protected ones in order to prevent unregulated actions and to have effective monitoring and control over what is happening in these places

And the most personal contribution to achieving the balance with nature was expressed through the statement:

-> I will stop using plastic to reduce waste.

...

Civil participation or How to make the government hear us better was the second discussion. Four speakers shared their own experience and asked the participating Civic Hitchhikers some questions and gave interesting suggestions.

- Stoyan from the Citizens told how a group of newly graduated students give several technological solutions to the problems related to submitting signals to the municipality - quick and easy submission, fast and accurate distribution to the responsible employee in the administration, quick and electronic response to actions taken by a signal.

- how the topic of purchased and controlled voting is covered thanks to civil society organizations and what still needs to be done to have an effective solution to the problem - said Vanya from the Transparency International Association

- why youth participation is not unimportant and how we stand up to the local authorities to achieve partnership, despite the changes in the administration - said from his experience Daniel from the Youth Association for Peace and Understanding in the Balkans

- how the passion for something significant and the drive for action are the most important “ingredients” for us to be active citizens, to be engines of change and to unite our efforts with others, thinking and fighting for the same, and why the media are among the strongest tools for more audibility from the institutions - said Lina from Toest

Three of the proposals on what personal commitment each person takes to achieve better civil participation gathered the most support:

-> I will report in any way the irregularities around me

-> I will support organizations that fight for civil education and volunteering to be part of the whole educational process

-> I will vote.

The conclusion of this discussion was reduced to a phrase: "You must care." - to participate and be consistent in your actions. And in this way, the institutions will begin to hear us more and better.

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The Day of the Civil Hitchhikers in Plovdiv ended with a conversation dedicated to the media environment. Irina Nedeva, a long-time journalist of the Bulgarian National Radio and chair of the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria, highlighted many significant trends in the influence of the media on our perceptions of political and civil processes. She addressed the dynamics of (dis) information and how to protect ourselves from extreme pessimism. Moreover, she emphasized on the responsibility of journalists and readers in the boundless field of the Internet.

Irina shared several specific tools for recognizing misinformation online: Chronicles of Infodemia, Factcheck and Guide to Checking Facts in the Digital Environment. As well as examples of the development of propaganda campaigns in which Bulgarian society is an experimental field for international interests. One of the strongest messages she sent to the audience was not to get lost in our own and other people's fears and to seek dialogue to overcome them - to look for bridges, not dividing lines between us.

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Throughout the day, three activities with the participation of civil society organizations and students took place in the area around the Roman Stadium - a demonstration of the interaction between active young people and active civil society organizations:

 

-> Civic Alarm Clock - a fun game for learning about our civil rights, suitable for children and adults

 

-> Born ready - popularize the petition Born ready in support of people with disabilities and installation for writing messages with chalk

 

-> DarPazar in Plovdiv - stand of the DarPazar platform for selling products with a cause.

...

The journey of the #Civilian hitchhikers continues during the summer months. Students from all over the country are involved in the work of dozens of civil organizations in small and large settlements.

In September we are going to learn more about their experience and what they went though this summer within our next catch up in Sofia.


The initiative is implemented within the project "Civic Hubs in Universities: Activation of Civil Energy in Support of Civil Society Organizations" (ACF / 61) of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law, funded by the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2014- 2021

                           

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