Partners-Bulgaria was established in 1998 to work with governmental institutions, municipalities, social institutions, civil organizations and the private sector to develop a strong and sustainable civil society in Bulgaria. The Center specializes in working with Roma and other marginalized groups to promote tolerance and implement collaborative projects, promoting the rights of children in schools and the larger community, and providing mediation services to resolve neighborhood, family, business and other disputes.
Partners-Bulgaria’s main programs include:
Ethnic Conciliation & Integration. Partners-Bulgaria helps decrease violence, reduce negative stereotypes and build tolerance and cooperation across diverse groups through cooperative community initiatives.
Children’s Rights. Through a series of initiatives, Partners-Bulgaria works to promote the rights of children. The Center provides legal consultation to parents, teachers and children, and trains educators and social workers on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child through its Child’s Rights Information Center; the My Rights, My Duties program educates teachers on the human rights of children; Partners-Bulgaria’s Day Center provides vocational, career, legal, health, and psychological support for youth in transition from state care to independent life.
Mediation Services. Partners-Bulgaria provides mediation services to individuals, organizations and corporations, and is promoting a legislative initiative on the inclusion of mediation in Bulgarian law. In addition, in collaboration with Bulgarian National Television, Partners-Bulgaria prepared a popular educational TV series on mediation, “I Win, You Win,” and established a Mediator’s Club to develop professional and ethical standards.
Mediation in Bulgarian Prisons. Partners-Bulgaria implemented a program to foster prison reform and resolve conflicts among prisoners and penitentiary workers. In this year-long initiative, the Center trained prison security officers, administrators, social workers and psychologists in conflict prevention and resolution, and then worked with penitentiary staff to apply mediation skills to their daily activities in prisons across the country.
Environmental Issues. Partners-Bulgaria worked with elected officials, local NGOs, and environmental and health experts in the highly polluted town of Vratza to identify common interests and mitigate conflicts resulting from poor health and environmental conditions. A permanent Citizens’ Forum was established for ongoing information exchange and negotiation, and is now developing strategic programs and partnerships to clean up pollution while promoting local development.
Academic Courses. Partners-Bulgaria conducts academic courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Law Faculties of Bulgarian universities, and has published a textbook on ADR, in order to promote the study and development of this growing field.
To find out more about Partners Bulgaria's recent activities, please see: Spring 2011 Newsletter for Partners-Bulgaria