Supporting civil society and refugee organisations at the local level for the integration of refugees: the Academy for the Professional Civil Sector: NGO Governance, Financial Sustainability and Advocacy Engagement

Civil society organisations working at the local level play a significant role in supporting refugees in emergency situations, as well as their long-term integration into Bulgarian society. The capacity of these organisations, the extent to which they are involved in advocacy and policymaking, and their funding mechanisms vary considerably.  Due to the important role of local and Ukrainian community organisations in supporting refugees from Ukraine, the prospects for developing and expanding constructive dialogue, cooperation, partnership, and advocacy in the integration field are increasing.

Support to strengthen the professionalism of organisations in this field is important for their development and sustainability. To this end, on October 13 and 14, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants (BCRM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Multi Kulti organized the “Academy for a Professional Civil Sector: Governance, Financial Sustainability and Participation in NGO Advocacy”. The Academy is part of the strategic efforts of BCRM and UNHCR to decentralize capacity development of local and refugee-led organizations on refugee integration and the opportunities that integration generates for social and economic development at the local level.

More than 20 representatives of local organizations participated in the Academy for the Professional Civil Sector and were introduced in detail to goal setting, the legal requirements for NGO management and the creation of a development and sustainability plan. During the academy, issues related to project development and implementation, as well as aspects of funding, financial sustainability, and working with donors and funders, were addressed. The academy focused on tools for civic participation and advocacy, as well as the development of coalitions and partnerships with other civil society organisations.