BlueLink Projects

BlueLink's Current, Recent and Past Projects

Fostering Public Debate on Green Recovery and Resilience Process in Bulgaria

This project runs from January 4 to December 31, 2021. The strategic goal of the project is to contribute to the improvement of the public dialogue with various stakeholders and professional groups that will be directly affected by the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPRR). Activities include research and analysis of alternatives and good practices from 3 other EU Member States related to the green recovery from COVID-19. The analysis will identify the 3 most problematic thematic areas of the proposed NPRR and will prepare recommendations and position papers with specific proposals for their alignment with the applicable EU regulations. The position papers will be discussed with representatives of political parties, institutions, industry and trade organizations, NGOs and other target groups, which support the "greening" of NPRR. They will also contribute towards the development of journalistic articles and publications in social media. The project is organised by the Green European Foundation (gef.eu) with the support of Bluelink and with the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation.

 

Towards Transparent Management of Public Funds in Blagoevgrad District

Toward Transparent Management of Public Funds in Blagoevgrad District Project is implemented in cooperation with the Association for Free Media - Blagoevgrad, in the period 15 December 2020 - 15 June 2022. The aim of the project is lasting improvement of transparency, civil monitoring and established practices and policies for spending public funds in Blagoevgrad district. BlueLink will support the implementation of project goals through improving the opportunities and capacity for civic and media monitoring of public spending in Blagoevgrad district. In particular, Bluelink shall create a secure online platform for civic participation and oversight of the management and spending of public funds in at least 5 municipalities in the region. The planned project activities will contribute to limiting the misuse of public funds and restoring trust in the institutions and to providing opportunities to every citizen and economic entity in Blagoevgrad district to control the spending of public funds. The project is implemented according to contract № BEE.1036.20201202 from 15.12.2020. Support for the Grantee (Bluelink Foundation) is provided by the America for Bulgaria Foundation. The statements and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the Grantee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the America for Bulgaria Foundation or its affiliates.

 

E-networking and journalism for civic action

BlueLink will support defenders and advocates for European values, democracy, human and environmental rights in Bulgaria by providing a functional e-networking and information hub at www.bluelink.net. BlueLink will consolidate the existing trust-based platform for direct content exchange and co-ordination among CSOs and the virtual newsroom for watchdog journalism in a hybrid platform, employing intensively video exchange and netcasting. First steps of the transformation were supported by ‘Citizens For Europe’ - a community of engaged European citizens from NGOs, foundations, media, public authorities, willing to expand their networks, share resources and exchange good practices.

 

DANube Urban Brand + Building Regional and Local Resilience through the Valorization of Danube’s Cultural Heritage

DANube Urban Brand + Building Regional and Local Resilience Project through the Valorization of Danube's Cultural Heritage (DANUrB +) Project is implemented by a partner consortium led by the University of Technology and Economics in Budapest within the EU program for transnational cooperation "Danube" 2014-2020. The project lasts 30 months from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022. 19 main and 23 associated strategic partners from 6 Danube countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia) will work together to promote the sustainable use of cultural heritage and resources in the Danube communities.
BlueLink will support the realization of the project goals by organizing 6 regional seminars for journalists in the project partner countries and creating a documentary film about the cultural heritage in the peripheral regions of the Danube and the potential for local economies from its protection and development. Experts from BlueLink will take an active part in the organization of project-related meetings and trainings and the development of strategic documents and partnerships, as well as in the identification and promotion of little-known cultural sites in the municipalities along the Danube in Bulgaria.
The project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as well as from the national budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
 

Green policies on social and human rights

BlueLink has launched the project "Expanding green policy space to human and social rights". Among the objectives of the project is to define green policies regarding the protection of human, ethnic, women's, gender, refugee, social and economic rights and to analyze their closeness, to demonstrate successful examples of actions taken so far in this direction, and to outline areas and opportunities for further interaction between environmentalists and human rights defenders in Bulgaria and Europe. The first steps for the realization of the project are carried out with the support of the office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Sofia.

 

People Power

In July 2020 BlueLink, together with the Smoke-Free Life Coalition and the Smoke Free Bulgaria Association, continued to work in support of initiatives and policies for tobacco control and better public health as part of the project People Power: Building Support for Tobacco Control Enforcement" with the support of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

 

United together

The civic assotiation "Ravni BG" aims to offer a platform for dialogue and joint actions against the shrinking space for civic activity in Bulgaria and the revival of anti-liberalism under the slogan of pseudo-primitive values. 'Ravni BG' unites 30 civil society organizations that believe in democratic values and work in the field of human rights protection, vulnerable groups, sustainable development, advocacy and others. The BlueLink Foundation is also part of the new civic association.

 

Role of Internet in gender based violence

What is the role of technology in the problem of gender-based violence, and whether Internet communication can overturn dominant attitudes against gender rights, analyzes a research team led by BlueLink. The study aims to present possible approaches to the wave of negative reactions against gender rights and gender-based violence in Bulgaria and to help civil groups and institutions deal with them. The study was conducted by a research team of experts from BlueLink, the Media Democracy Foundation, the Gender Alternatives Foundation and independent experts. It is implemented within the project "After the Storm: How to restore policy dialogue and supportive discourse against GBV online in Bulgaria", implemented by BlueLink as part of the project "Feminist Internet Research Network" (FIRN) of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

 

Implementation of European tobacco control legislation

BlueLink, together with ICF, Rand Europe, King College London and IVO Research Center, is implementing in 2019-2020 a project to analyze the implementation, enforcement and impact of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40 / EU, since its entry into force on 19 May 2014 so far, in 28 EU Member States. The results of the project will support the EC with a broad, independent, evidence-based analysis of the implementation of the Directive by the EC, EU Member States and stakeholders such as business and civil society.

 

 

The right of health

In November 2018 BlueLink continued the joint work with the Smoke Free Life Coalition and the Smoke Free Bulgaria Association to adopt a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in Bulgaria, stricter control of compliance with the smoking ban in public places and controlling the interference of the tobacco industry in public health decision-making. The activities are carried out within the project "Melting the ice for MPOWER in Bulgaria", funded by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases. 

 

Justice for environment

BlueLink is a partner of the Justice and Environment network in a project under the EU LIFE+ program. J&E brings together 14 organizations of lawyers working on environmental issues in Europe. The activities in which BlueLink participates in the period 2017-2021 are related to the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and in particular the overcoming of barriers to access to justice and the implementation of environmental assessments, and climate policy and law.

 

Journalists and environmental activists against toxic waste

The Center for Environmental Rights BELLONA, in cooperation with BlueLink, the Association of Environmental Journalists in Russia, the Russian-German Environmental Information Bureau, the Pechora Conservation Committee, the Animal Protection Organization"For the Beast" and the Eco-Logica organization, with the support of the EU-Russia Citizens' Forum, launched the project "Quality Journalism for Environmental Activists in Russia and the EU". The aim of the project is to develop professional skills and contribute to the exchange of experience between environmental activists and journalists from Russia and the EU, with a focus on investigations of waste management issues, including hazardous non-radioactive waste.

 

Journalism on the SDGs

BlueLink's executive editor Pavel Antonov prepared and conducted a training session for journalists from Bulgarian media on some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The two-day event was organized in Plovdiv by the Bulgarian Platform for International Development, co-founded by BlueLink. External speakers from the WHO - Bulgaria, the UN Refugee Committee, the Gender Project in Bulgaria and others took part in the journalism session.

 

 

Rural Watch on Albania's extractive and energy industry

EcoPartners, Tirana, and BlueLink.net, Bulgaria, launched Rural Watch - an EU-sponsored initiative to improve quality of life and ensure a clean and safe environment by addressing pressing issues caused by extractive and energy industry (EEI)  in the rural areas of Albania.  Rural Watch aims to improve environmental performances of energy and extractive industries in selected rural area hotspots across Albania. Other purposes of the project are to increase transparency and accountability of public authorities and businesses related to EEI in rural areas. The goal is to get rural communities better informed and empowered for monitoring and control of EEI’s impact in rural areas.

 

Stories on migration

Articles on the status and detention of migrants were prepared within the BlueLink Virtual Newroom and published in the electronic magazine journalism in the public interest "Euromegdan". The texts were prepared in cooperation with the Center for Legal Aid - Voice in Bulgaria within the project "Protection of migrants with precarious status: reducing the use of detention and implementing alternatives in the community", implemented by the Center for Legal Aid - Voice in Bulgaria and English human rights lawyers, funded by the Network of European Foundations (NEF) through the European Program for Integration and Migration (EPIM).

 

Free Speech vs Hate Speech in Bulgaria

Bluelink is launching a campaign "Free Speech v.s Hate Speech: Online security for Environmental, gender and human rights activists in Bulgaria" to reasearch ways, routs and consequences of online hate speech against civil society activists in Bulgaria as well as to give a start to effective counteractions that activsts can use in their work. The project was supported by the Association for Progressive Communications.

 

Remembering Europe

Experienced researchers in the fields of history, politics and the media in Central and Eastern Europe analyze the pressure of politicians and the media against democratic civic groups and organizations involved in human rights and the environment in the region. These actions are compared to the practices of persecution of citizenship by totalitarian regimes in the recent past of the continent. The analysis will serve to identify practical measures to counter the pressure and restore memory and support for the civic and democratic values ​​enshrined in the creation of the EU.

The BlueLink Foundation is implementing this as part of the project Remembering Europe: Civil Society Under Pressure Again, funded by the EU's Europe for Citizens program. The work aims to recall the common history and shared European values ​​of the CEE countries, as well as to offer an answer to the current challenges to civil society in the region.

 

BlueLink Virtual Newsroom

The BlueLink Virtual Newsroom project is being implemented jointly by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Brandenburg and the BlueLink Foundation. Funding is provided by the German Environmental Foundation DBU and Heinrich Böll in Brandenburg. The aim of the project is to increase public attention to the problems of climate change and the opportunities for energy extraction from environmentally friendly sources in the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Within the project, young and active journalists from Central and Eastern European countries work on the topics of climate change and clean energy within the electronic English edition of the BlueLink Foundation BlueLink Stories.

 

Training for Turkish environmental journalists

BlueLink's executive editor Pavel Antonov held in September 2018 a training seminar for journalists from regional media in Turkey on the techniques of covering environmental issues and overcoming the difficulties that accompany it. The training was organized by the Turkish branch of the international environmental organization WWF. The participants exchanged experiences and received information about the state of environmental journalism in Bulgaria and other countries in the Central and Eastern European region.

 

 

Against the shrinking civic space

 

 

BlueLink, together with eleven other organizations, launched a capaign against shrinking civic space in Bulgria between October 31 and November 2, 2018 in seven cities in the country. The aim of the campaign was to promote human rights and democratic values, to inform the public about the active work of non-governmental organizations to achieve positive changes in various public spheres and to alert about the shrinking space and new challenges for the civil sector. The coordinator of the campaign was the Bulgarian Fund for Women with the support of Civitates - an initiative for philanthropy, democracy and solidarity in Europe.

 

In support of a comprehensive TAPS ban

In October 2017 BlueLink continued the joint work with the Smoke Free Life Coalition and the Smoke Free Bulgaria Association in support of adoption of a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in Bulgaria, within the project "Building political will for complete TAPS ban in Bulgaria ", funded by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

 

Investigating and combating cross-border corruption

BlueLink is a partner of the Dutch Helsinki Committee in a project of the expert group for combating cross-border corruption at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. BlueLink's executive editor Pavel Antonov worked as a coordinator at a regional international conference in Prague, held in June 2016, where scientists, investigative journalists and activists presented research and analysis of civil society participation in the fight against cross-border corruption. In October 2017, BlueLink held an international roundtable in Sofia, where leading anti-corruption prosecutors and investigators from EU countries, Ukraine and Russia discussed the practical aspects of their work with civil society representatives and investigative journalists.

 

Journalism by Women for Women

In-depth journalistic articles created by young and active female journalists and women who want to work in the field of independent journalism in the public interest contribute to overcoming discrimination against women and young girls in journalistic content and practice.

The materials were realized within Euromegdan as part of the project "Journalism by Women for Women", implemented by BlueLink with the financial support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. The activities aimed to sharpen the professional pen of journalists, so as to create quality content on the problems and challenges facing women, counteracting the increasingly degrading content in the media.

 

Re-Vision the Economy in the Balkans: Change Policy not Climate

The trans-border project "Revision of the Economy in the Balkans: Change Policy not Climate!", funded by the Green European Foundation, brought together best practices for a green economy in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. The aim was to highlight the transformation to a more sustainable, environmentally friendly economy. The project works to inform stakeholders, politicians and society about the economic potential of a green economy; encourages change in production and consumption and proposes an approach to civic participation in policy-making.

 

Let's free ourselves from tobacco advertisement

As part of the project "Addressing Policy Loopholes for Comprehensive Ban of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship and 100% Smoke-Free Law in Bulgaria", funded by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, the Smoke-Free Life Coalition and BlueLink joined forces for the adoption of a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in Bulgaria. 

 

Sectoral Policies to Enhance Commitment to Improving the Ecosystem Services in Bulgaria

BlueLink is a partner of the BALKANS Wildlife Association and GRID-Arendal - Norway for a detailed analysis of the state and degradation of ecosystems on the Black Sea coast, their interaction with tourism, economic and climatic impacts on them. Based on the research, a strategy for the sustainable use of ecosystem services for the benefit of both business and nature is created. A BlueLink research team verifies the results of the research using methods from the arsenal of social sciences and coordinates the involvement of various stakeholders. In addition, we train journalists who professionally cover issues and innovative solutions related to the sustainable use of ecosystem services in the online edition Euromegdan. A BlueLink team of journalists produces multimedia reports. Within the project, the other partners collect data and analyze with the help of geographic information systems the state of ecosystems and threats to them, as well as their interaction with the tourism industry along the coast. The project is funded by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area for Bulgaria, within the program area "Biodiversity and Ecosystems", priority 03.03, for improved integration of biodiversity considerations in sectoral policies and legislation. The operator of the program for Bulgaria is the Ministry of Environment and Water. Project website: http://species.bluelink.net.

 

Green Watchdogs

As a part of the project „Establishing a Transboundary Watchdog Mechanism for Environmental Problems For Green Political Parties and NGOs on the Balkans“, funded by the Green European Foundation, were published journalistic investigations and organised events in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Moldova related to illegal logging and cross-border corruption. The project is funded by the European Green Foundation - Brussels.

 

 

The fourth power in young hands

Young and active journalists, wishing to practice honest and serious journalism in the public interest, receive support and opportunity for realization through the virtual newsroom of BlueLink.net. Since the beginning of 2014, the Civic Action Network has renewed its efforts to promote independent journalism and create a quality journalistic product in partnership with the team of the student online radio "Reaction." The goal is to strengthen the professional standards and norms by which the journalist upholds the collective and individual interests of citizens. The network focuses civic energy and resources to counteract the notion that journalism is nothing more than serving the economic and corporate interests of media owners.

BlueLink.net implements a project for independent virtual newsroom (www.evromegdan.bg) and acts to fully engage young and active journalists against attacks on minorities, intolerance of corruption, hatred, xenophobia, manipulation and violation of human rights and democratic participation in government . The project is funded under the NGO Support Program in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.

 

Extractive and Energy Industry watch

The project targets local communities, informal civic groups and investigative journalists. Through its activities, it will meet the needs of local people affected by the activities of the Energy and Mining Industry (EDP) by offering solutions for access to information and litigation. NGOs will enrich their work through established good legal and journalistic practices, and investigative journalists can receive new channels and sources of information, as well as be trained to cooperate with local communities and NGOs. All target groups will be able to access, but also supplement, the collected useful practice and pilot cases through the created resource website - Extractive and Energy Industry Watch. As a partner within the project BlueLink works with journalists who will investigate identified EDP cases. The project is funded under the NGO Support Program in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.

 

Participation for nature. Support for NGO representation and participation in decision-making on sustainable development and environmental policies

Despite more than 10 years of history, the practices of civil and NGO participation in environmental decision-making are not satisfactory for the pre-protection civil society. The project encourages the involvement of NGOs in policy formulation and decision-making at local, regional and national levels. Participation for Nature includes research and analysis of the civic representation for Bulgaria and formulation of recommendations for its improvement, advocacy work on changing regulations concerning the recommendations made and stimulating direct civic participation in decision-making processes and policy-making through joint work with interested communities.

BlueLink is involved in the first stage of the project, which will conduct research and analysis of the existing practices of civic and NGO representation to various institutions in the field of environmental protection, but also outside it. As a result of the study, recommendations for improving civic representation will be formulated. The project is funded under the NGO Support Program in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.

 

YouthLink: Web tools and capacity for civilian monitoring, advocacy and impact

As a result of the harmonization of the Bulgarian legislation with the European norms, the possibility of the citizens to participate in the elaboration and implementation of public policies is guaranteed. Although many state and municipal institutions create electronic mechanisms for such participation, citizens do not exercise this right. The reasons are the inhomogeneity of e-mechanisms, the diverse logic and design of institutional websites, as well as the layered culture of helplessness of the individual in front of the "system", the lack of trust in institutions and in their own strengths and skills. The project overcomes this helplessness by building e-tools: signali.bg and bluelink.net and skills for their use. As a result, at least 45 NGO members and activists, including Roma and people from remote communities, will gain practical skills and access to e-tools for monitoring and participation. The project is funded under the NGO Support Program in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.

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