SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.



During the third project meeting in Prague the host organization People in Need initiated a joint walk with representatives of Pragulic - team of young people who use social entrepreneurship in a daring and entertaining way and who want to change the public opinion of the homeless – one of the hated community and make it easier for people without homes to return to ordinary social life.

The Positive Messengers project partners presented the project and exchanged experiences with representatives of the local community on the creative ways of engaging communities in meaningful social causes.


How to create a “tasteful training menu” as project legacy discussed Coalition of Positive Messengers partners and exchanged experiences from the conducted and planned trainings during an interactive workshop. Partners proposed different “starters” such as talk on human rights and hate speech, multi culti city quiz, “mains” such as talks on the media responsibility and regulations, rewriting good news, dramatizing hate speech and lot of other useful methodologies, approaches to conduct training on how to counter hate speech online.

How to reach the target of 30000 people was the topic of two other discussions and workshops with experts invited from the host People in Need who created and are managing the biggest public media campaign in Czech Republic “Hate Free”. We learnt from Jana and Jaroslav but also made new friends of our Coalition of Positive Messengers who will spread our messages around.

Castilla y León University-Business Transfer

Castilla y León region hosted an interregional learning event on November 21 – 23, 2017, featuring their regional policies to foster university-business knowledge transfer. The workshop and study visit were part of the InnoBridge project, funded by INTERREG Europe, and Sofia Development Association is a partner in it.

Castilla y León use structural funds to directly fund universities with the objective is to connect them and enterprises within the framework of smart specialisation of Castilla y León, identifying niches of scientific and economic specialization. Specific initiatives include University-Business challenge, INFRARED (sharing scientific equipment) and entrepreneurial Campus.

The project partners with the participation of some of their stakeholders worked together on the transfer of good practices and the development of their action plans to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in their regions.

The dream Youth Innovation Lab

What would be the dream Youth Innovation Lab was the main issue we ideated with 30 young people representing different youth NGOs, organizations advocating people with disabilities rights, students, representatives of Sofia Municipal Council and Local Advisory Group.

The Sofia Development Association team in cooperation with the Sofia Municipality team organized the interactive event under NewGeneration Skills project, funded by Interreg Danube Programme.

The discussion had 3 ideation sessions: the (infra) – structure: the PLACE – how it would look like in order to attract young innovators; the PEOPLE – whom we would like to have there working and who would be the main target; the SERVICES – what would be the services our Sofia Innovation Lab would offer.

We believe the involvement of decision makers from the Sofia Municipal Council and the future users of the Innovation Lab in the beginning of the process of creating the Sofia concept is a guarantee for its successful creation. 




Civil Society Empowerment Program (CSEP) Training Seminar in Sofia

On Oct. 19, 2017 a training seminar under the Civil Society Empowerment Program (CSEP) took place in Sofia. The purpose of this program is to support and empower civil society organisations to become more active in the online domain. The training seminar provided an opportunity for civil society organizations in Sofia to learn how to use social media as part of their prevention and outreach strategies on various topics, such as radicalization, violent extremism, hate speech. Snezhina Atanassova took part in the training and presented the successful approach of the project Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, which is coordinated by Sofia Development Association. The training was a good opportunity to learn from leading European experts, to share ideas with fellow civil society organizations and to look for ways to collaborate more effectively in the future.

NewGenerationSkills naturally found its supporters at the first meeting of the Sofia city Youth Consultative Council

New Generation Skills project was presented by SDA team and Michaela Ivanova, Sofia Municipal Councilor and Sofia LIAG chairperson, on 11 October 2017 during the first meeting of the newly formed Sofia Youth Consultative Council.

The Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova welcomed more than 40 young people from 11 student associations, schools, youth organization that will assist the Mayor and the Municipal Council on youth policies and particularly the implementation and evaluation of Sofia Youth Strategy.

The knowledge and skills acquirement and professional orientation is one of the main priority in the Strategy, thus the NGS project and the Innovation Lab that SDA and city of Sofia will create is fundamental for achieving this priority. The involvement of Sofia Youth Consultative Council turns NGS project into a citywide initiative.



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