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.

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FINAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE UMN PROJECT IN BULGARIA

The final public event of the UMN project in Sofia was the international conference organized by the partners CITUB and SDA on 27 September 2022. The conference gathered representatives of local and international organizations – public bodies, NGOs, employers – for a constructive and insightful dialogue on the challenges to integration of TCN in Sofia and in Europe. Welcome addresses were delivered by the president of CITUB, Mr Plamen Dimitrov, N. L. Narasimha RAO, UNHCR Representative in Bulgaria, and Ms. Malina Edreva, municipal councilor and chair of the Standing Committee for Culture, Education and Cultural Diversity at Sofia Municipal Council, Deputy Chair of the EU Committee of the Regions. International guests and project partners from Slovenia and Belgium also attended, sharing interesting ideas about TCN social and labor integration. Speakers emphasized the need to setting up mechanisms for assisting refugees and person with temporary protection (refugees from Ukraine), which guarantee not only the access to jobs and services, but ensure that TCNs enjoy their rights, are not discriminated against, and have the resources to build decent lives for themselves and their families.

While the conference put an end to the project activities in Sofia, the UMN consortium will gather for a final international conference in Brussels, on 13-14 December. Visit the project website and the special multilingual platform for access to services for TCNs at https://www.unionmigrantnet.eu/get-in-touch/ for other news and fresh ideas on integration.

UMN project co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.      

                    

        

   

  

INTRODUCING THE NEW ELECTRIC MINIBUSES IN SOFIA

On September 22th, the World Car-Free Day, the Municipality of Sofia presented to the citizens the new electric minibuses, that will deliver the innovative “transport on demand” public service. The Karsan Jest Electric buses are 6 meters long, which makes them convenient for a busy city area with narrow streets and heavy traffic. All the vehicles have low floors and are wheelchair accessible. They are air-conditioned and can carry up to 20 people at a time. The buses have a 88kWh battery and can drive up to 250 km with just a single charge.

Six fast charging stations will also be installed. Five of those will be in the Tramcar depot of Sofia Public Electrical Transport Company JSC to minimize the investment cost, one will be located at the terminal stop on one of the busies boulevards in the southern part of the city. The buses will join the fleet of Sofia Public Electrical Transport Company JSC.

At the end of September a test run of the on-demand service will begin in three zones in Southern Sofia residential areas:
          Zone 1 – “Yellow” – Manastirski livadi, Buxton
          Zone 2 – “Blue” – Gardova glava, Panorama Boyana, Buxton, Pavlovo, parts of Krasno selo
          Zone 3 – “Red” – Karpuzitsa, Gorna Banya

The goal of the pilot phase is on the one hand to train drivers and dispatch officers, and equally important - to engage the communities in these three areas to explore the application and possibilities for the service. This process would result in stronger communities, greater equality of access, better economic performance, more attractive neighborhoodss, and a more sustainable environment. It is expected that the buses will start serving citizens from December 2022.

The Deputy Mayor of the Sofia Municipality and INNOAIR project manager Kristian Krastev pointed out that people are starting to return to public transportation again. 80% of the passenger flow has been restored as far as data from 2019 is concerned. In his words, "the better the public transport in Sofia, the more people will use and thus reduce car traffic".

The on-demand service will be used through the BUSINN mobile application, which will soon be available on Google Play and the App Store. The app is free and gives access to all the features of the service. The demand transport platform creates dynamic routes based on the exact demand, taking into account the preferred starting point and the destination of all available requests in the geo-fenced respective zone. The mobile app with an intuitive interface uses machine learning and in-depth data analysis to create the most efficient route for each trip, collecting the maximum number of passengers on each trip.

The initial and final stop along the route will coinside with the main metro stops (Metro line 3, Tm 5, 7) or transport hubs (the roundabout on "T. Kableshkov" Blvd.).

"Through an interactive mobile application, which you will soon be able to download through the respective app store, you can request transport to and from your home and use it. After the test period, the service will be available later this year. The service will be easily accessible to all and represents another measure towards a more sustainable way of transportation.", Georgi Georgiev, Chairman of Sofia Municipality‘s City Council, explained.

 

      

                 

 

 

 

LAUNCH OF THE NEW ELECTRIC MINIBUSES: INNOAIR INFORMATION DAY

Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association are pleased to invite you to an Information Day about INNOAIR project. The event will take place in the framework of the European Mobility Week, on Thursday, September 22, the Car-free day.

If you are interested to see the new electric minibuses bought through the project, and the mobile application BUSINN with which you can order and use the innovative service “on-demand public transport”, you are welcome! You can view the buses in Gurko Street, in front of the national stadium – closed for traffic that day – from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Project experts will also be available to provide any additional information you may need.

We are looking forward to seeing you there! Come on foot, by bike, by e-scooter – and do not forget to use the mobile app SofiaCoin that rewards active transport, and turn your kilometers passed into attractive awards. 

INNAIR is the only Bulgarian project funded by the EC’s initiative Urban Innovative Actions. It is implemented by a consortium led by Sofia Municipality and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

THE FOOD AND SPICES WALKING TOUR TOOK PLACE IN SOFIA

In honor of the Day of Sofia, the Food and Spices Walking Tour was held in the center of the city.

Two different tours, one in Bulgarian and one in English, were organized and 20 people got to be a part of an adventure of the senses on “Tsar Simeon” street in Sofia.

The first stop was an Iranian bakery, where guests were taught how to make lavash. After stopping by Mustafa’s shop, the participants heard Ahmed’s story – an engineer who has lived in Bulgaria for the last 40 years of his life. He told the groups that one of the best moments of his life was when he got to vote for the first time as a Bulgarian citizen.

The participants also tried Lebanese sweets and ended their adventure in Sarah’s Afgan restaurant which she opened a year ago. There they tried sambosa, bolyani and other typical Afgan food.

Every last owner or worker in the establishments also shared their personal stories of migration, which made the tour a very personal one. All migrants had one thing in common – they love Bulgaria and adore Sofia as a city, because of its people. Happy Day of Sofia!

Organizers of the event were Meeting Points and the Sofia Development Association, with the financial help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The event is a part of the official Day of Sofia program as well as the European Mobility Week in Sofia.

CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

       

       

   

  

MIX AND MOVE The European Mobility Week is here!

This year’s EMW theme is “Better Connections”, meanwhile the initiatives during the week will be under the name “Mix and Move”

The European Mobility Week starts on September 16. It is an initiative of the European Commission, dedicated to sustainable mobility, which aims to promote clean and shared means of transportation in cities, which act as an alternative to private cars, responsible for much of the air pollution in big communities.

This year’s theme is “Better Connections”. Its’ aim is to reflect the desire of people across Europe to reconnect with each other after a period of isolation and restrictions. Transportation plays an important role in connecting people and is a main theme of the European Green Deal, proposed by the European Commission.

In the first days of the new school year, when everything seems to be speeding up and we are increasingly connected, it is especially important to pay attention to safety. That's why this year's initiatives starts with the FM+ Radio campaign "Reduce speed, save a child", which is a partnership with Sofia Municipality.

Some of the main events will take place during the weekend of 17th and 18th September. On the 17th – the Day of Sofia – a concert will be held as part of the Sofia Summer Fest program. A special retro tram will travel to and from the venue of the concert (just behind the Earth and Man National Museum in Sofia). Its route will be the Palace of Justice – “Macedonia” square – The Five Caches – the National Palace of Culture – The National Trade and Banking Highschool – Ivan Vazov and back.

Meanwhile in the North Park the “София ърбан зона спорт 2022” (Sofia Urban Sport Zone 2022) event that is a part of the European Week of Sport will be held. In the Strelbishte district the “Квартален Park(ing) Day for Fitness” will take place.

The metro performance "Catch the different subway car" will once again surprise passengers on first and second line of the capital’s metro and will include dances, pantomime, DJ, parkour and many more.

Culinary lovers can enjoy an extraordinary Food and Spices Walking Tour along Tsar Simeon Street, which is going to be a real journey for the senses.

On Sunday, September 18th, it will again be an active day (and night) with “Нестле за Живей Активно! Град 2022”. Meanwhile the “София ърбан зона спорт 2022” (Sofia Urban Sport Zone 2022) continues in the North Park.

On September 19th, those who are interested can go to the The Metropolitan Transportation Open Day, where they can see an exhibition of vehicles. On September 20, the doors of the Zemlyane depot will be opened for public visits. Тhere visitors can find a simulator for training drivers and a traffic management center. Last year's initiative generated interest, this year we have secured more possible groups of visitors. Follow the page of "Urban Mobility Center" EAD on Facebook, for pre-registration.

September 21st is once again dedicated to road satefy and is dedicated to the "Drive Carefully and Be Safe on the Road for the Sake of Children! Look at How Much I Know, I Follow the Rules Myself!" initiative.

The European Mobility Week traditionally culminates on September 22 - Car Free Day, when cyclists take over the city in its designated and car-free perimeter. At 11 a.m. a ride under the title "Happy Biking - Healthy Living" will be launched, which is a partnership between the Danish Embassy, ​​the winners of last year's INNOAIR hackathon Soffenhagen and Cyrcl. The deputy mayor of transportаtion, Mr. Krastev, and the deputy-head of the Mission of Denmark, Mrs. Birgit Sarah Kondrup-Palmquist, will greet the participants and kick off the event.

On "Gen. Y. Gurko" street, which will be closed to vehicles between "Vasil Levski" blvd. and "Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi" blvd., an exhibition of alternative means of transportation in the city will be held - e-scooters, bicycles for rent, electric city and mountain bikes and others. The latest electric buses, part of the "bus on demand" service and the application for using the service under the INNOAIR project will also be presented. Visitors to the demonstration initiative will have the opportunity to view the installation "You are Sofia, Sofia is green", which shows the progress of Sofia as a green city. On September 22nd, the first two cameras for counting cyclists in Sofia, made by the Technical Universities in Gabrovo and Sofia, also under the INNOAIR project, will be operational.

Mix and move in a clean and sustainable way in the city! Download and use the SofiaCoin mobile application, which provides great rewards to people who actively move around the city!

THE FIRST ONLINE INFORMATION CENTER OF THE NATIONAL CONTACT POINT FOR EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL INNOVATIONS IN BULGARIA IS NOW OPEN

The National Contact Point for Employment and Social Innovation in Bulgaria has officially presented its new website. This is the EaSI program’s first information center in Bulgaria, which also aims to increase the number of Bulgarian beneficiaries under it. The program is part of the ESF+ (European Social Fund+). The EaSI Bulgaria Information Center is managed by the BCause Foundation in partnership with the Sofia Development Association.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, „SIS Credit“ AD and the Trust for Social Achievement are associated partners. The project is financed by the European Commission and has a duration of two years.

The website is located at https://easi.bcause.bg/. In it you can find the current funding procedures for different companies, organizations and institutions, as well as other useful information in the field of social innovation. The website also has a "Resources" section where various supporting documents can be found to assist in understanding the program and applying for it.

Over the next two years, the Information Center will continue the work for the popularization of the program, providing online and live consultations and organizing information events about its specifics.

The EaSI project is funded by the European Commission and has a duration of two years. (2022-2024).

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