WCIF brought together 86 representatives of the civic organizations it supports at its Annual Meeting "Extraordinary lessons - how we work for the child's strengths". The meeting was held on 14 July 2017 in Sofia and took the form of a round table.
"In the last two years, 80% of our funding programs address the development of children and young people and are based on the development of their strengths. The topic of this meeting came after journalist Maria Cherneva's program at the Bulgarian National Television - with videos she shot covering part of the supported projects. We like this topic because we and you in the nonprofit sector are usually working in an extraordinary mode. We cover deficits in educational or social policies, we partner institutions in their primary role of being responsible for local development, we learn from each other. That is why we invited to the meeting representatives of the legislature and the executive authorities, who, like us, work on the problems and needs of children and young people on a daily basis", said Iliana Nikolova, Executive Director of the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation.
In the first panel "State policy on the move" took part Nadya Klisurska, Member of the 44th National Assembly, Committee on Labor, Social and Demographic Policy, Rositsa Dimitrova, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, and Desislava Ivanova, Senior Expert at the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The attendees had the opportunity to raise their questions and recommendations to the representatives of state institutions and at the end of the panel were discussed were possibilities for multiplication of the published good practices in the implementation of the state policies.
The second and third panels were dedicated to two main topics linking the projects that WCIF supports. These are: education and social work. In the Education panel, representatives of WCIF-funded organizations shared how they deal with deficits in the extra-curricular forms of learning, how they involve children and youth in different educational activities, and how, drawing from their strengths, they work to develop important educational and social skills.
In the "Social Activities" panel presented were examples related to prevention of groups at risk of dropping out of school, preventing of and combating violence at school, early pregnancy and childbirth, and fostering responsible and positive parenting. The presentations of some of the projects started with videos from the series "Extraordinary lessons". At the end of each panel, the participants discussed various case studies and problems related to their work.
The topics discussed were addressed during a working lunch, which took the form of thematic discussions. The lunch covered seven of the most important questions whose answers are looked for by different organizations working with children and young people: "Children of economic migrants - emotional growth and social inclusion"; "Involving parents in child and youth development activities"; "Equality and tolerance against violence"; "Extra-curricular forms of education - personal expression and social inclusion of children and young people"; "Supporting the professional and personal development of children and young people at risk"; "Forum theater as a form for social work with children and young people", and "Transparency in the work of the nonprofits".
Besides a forum for exchange of experiences and good practices, the event inspired the participants for new ideas and partnerships and was another reason to take stock of the results achieved in the implementation of projects in the field of child and youth development.