Refugee Advocacy Team
Are you a refugee in Bulgaria? Are you actively engaged in advocating for refugee rights in Bulgaria? Are you a refugee advocate or working in a refugee-led organization? Are you interested in deepening and broadening your knowledge and expertise in Bulgarian legal framework of asylum and integration? And interested to motivate other refugees to be active and give them a voice?
Then this is for you!
We search for members of a new advocacy team of refugees!
I.Purpose of the Refugee Advocacy Team
The advocacy team of refugees is to be set up by the following partners: Center for Sustainable Communities Development (CSCD) and the Bulgarian School for Politics (BSP) under the supervision of UNHCR Bulgaria and with the financial support of Active Citizens Fund set up by Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.
Its goal is achieving sustainability of the idea of inclusion and empowerment of refugees in Bulgaria. For a long-term solution to the problems of the refugees, it is necessary to involve them in the decision-making process on the problems that directly concern them.
The crisis in Ukraine and the intensity of the refugee wave posed a new challenge to Bulgaria. To the wave of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq was added a far more populous one from Ukraine. By the end of June 2022, there were nearly 120,000 people registered for temporary protection, of which 84,000 were women and 36,000 were men. Their number as of mid-September is estimated at around 60,000. Some of the Ukrainian refugees have found jobs; the children of others have started school or are attending kindergarten; many study Bulgarian. But the general concern is that the government support is declining, a government taskforce to run the policies towards Ukrainian nationals no longer exists, and the NGOs, as well as the media are barely getting adequate information anymore.
In the same time, the number of refugees from other nationalities has also sharply increased, being the highest since the Syrian crisis in 2015-2016. These communities face even more challenges in accessing their rights and building a new life in Bulgaria, often being a target for discrimination and highly politicized public narrative.
The refugee advocacy team will allow the authentic, constructive voice of refugees from both Ukraine, Middle East, Africa or elsewhere to be heard. The opportunity for people who have lost their homes and security to be actively involved in important discussions affecting their communities has the power to restore their personal confidence, give a new direction to their lives in the Bulgarian reality and improve trust in institutions and the legal order.
The members will work to improve the understanding of the real needs of refugees, for targetted national policies for integration and inclusion, for creating bridges between the refugees and the local communities.
III.Required Experience and Skills from the Future Members of the Team
Fluency in written and spoken English is a must. Knowledge of other languages is a strong advantage, especially proficiency in Bulgarian (as one of the main aims is to provide the opportunity to work directly with relevant Bulgarian institutions);
Good understanding of the challenges faced by refugees in Bulgaria;
Ability to prepare clear written analysis, including providing advice and actionable recommendations to policy-makers;
Experience working in human rights, advocacy or civil society, governmental or inter- and non-governmental organizations is an asset;
Good knowledge of international relations, European and/or national policies and practice on refugee protection, migration and related issues is an asset.
1.Residence and personal documents
Legal residence (temporary protection holder; asylum-seeker; beneficiary of international protection, including those who have obtained Bulgarian citizenship, stateless persons);
A minimum period of residence in Bulgaria of one year (for asylum-seekers and beneficiaries of international protection only).
2.Intentions and commitments
Willingness to remain in Bulgaria in the foreseeable future;
Strong desire to work in support of the refugee community and for its empowerment;
Strong desire to understand the Bulgarian legal and institutional framework and study Bulgarian language;
Previous experience in supporting refugees is an asset (e.g. employment in the humanitarian sector; volunteering; personal initiatives; informal community leadership, ).
3.Professional background and skills
Basic computer skills are an asset;
Other unique skills such as photography, graphic design, journalism, etc. are an asset;
Experience in the Bulgarian labour market is an asset.
As part of the selection process partners will take into account the diversity and equal representation of various refugee groups in terms of:
Countries of origin;
Geographical location within Bulgaria.
V.Main Activities of the Refugee Advocacy Team
Advocacy: The goal of the advocacy team will be:
working towards improved access to rights and more opportunities for refugees in Bulgaria;
participation in working groups and mechanisms for the creation and improvement of measures and policies for the protection of refugees;
supporting state and local authorities.
Community outreach: all members of the group will contribute to refugees’ participation in processes related to their stay and access to rights in Bulgaria. The team will actively reach out to refugees to provide information, opportunities for their engagement and fruitful exchange with the local community.
VI.First Operational Tasks of the Members
Design the group’s name, internal operational and ethical code;
Attend all the trainings provided by the partners, including:
Leadership and strategic thinking;
Political process and policy formation in Bulgaria;
Civic participation in Bulgaria.
The trainings will be held in Sofia in English, within several modules of two or three days. Trainees from outside Sofia will have their accommodation and transportation costs covered.
Engage in available opportunities for acquiring Bulgarian language proficiency;
Jointly carry out a needs assessment of refugee communities in Bulgaria;
Develop a roadmap/action plan for working with Bulgarian institutions and refugees;
Participatе in a series of meetings with the identified key institutions.
The initial mandate of the group will be one year. Upon the completion of the one-year mandate, UNHCR preserves its right to continue supporting the functioning of the advocacy team, subject to the set goals, priorities and achieved results.
VII. Selection Procedure
All interested candidates must fill in the application form available in this link.
Only full application forms will be reviewed. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview by an international selection committee.
The selection procedure schedule is as follows:
Online application closes: 28 October, 2022
Short-listed interviews: November 1 – November 28, 2022
Establishment of the advocacy group: by end of November, 2022
For further details please contact Stanimira Hadjimitova at [email protected], or Ivan Nachev at [email protected], or Iva Partsaleva at [email protected]
Parthership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion project is being implemented with financial support of EUR 17,067 provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA. The main goal of the Parthership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion project is to enhance skills of refugee communitie representatives for recognition of the institutional environment and access points to the decision-making system in Bulgaria.
All responsibility for the content of the document is borne by Center for Sustainable Communities Development and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria.
 Temporary protection – first observations on the effects of the influx of Ukrainian citizens“, Institute for Market Economy, Petar Ganev / 08/05/2022