Regional capacity building training for refugee assisting NGOs

Non-governmental organizations have an essential role in integrating and including refugees in their new communities. Their commitment proves to be crucial both for the refugees themselves and for society as a whole. Non-governmental organizations provide essential services and support needed to provide basic human needs to refugees, including assistance in health, education and social care. Through their activity, they create a safe and stable environment for refugees, allowing them to rebuild their lives and develop the skills necessary to adapt to the new environment successfully. Non-governmental organizations offer opportunities that play a crucial role in overcoming communication barriers and creating mutual understanding between refugees and host communities. It is also essential to emphasize that NGOs often act as intermediaries between refugees and host communities. They help to create positive relationships and to understand the cultural characteristics and needs of all countries, contributing to faster and more efficient refugee integration. Non-governmental organizations are indispensable in supporting refugee integration by providing services and mediation for their successful adaptation to the new environment. Their activity is essential for the formation of inclusive and tolerant societies.

On September 27 and 28, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants held а regional training to support the development of the capacity of non-governmental organizations working with refugees in Eastern Bulgaria in Sofia. The event is part of the strategic efforts for regionalized and localized support for non-governmental organizations and strengthening partnerships and cooperation, as non-governmental organizations are central actors in everyday situations and crises.

Thirty-five representatives of various non-governmental organizations from Sofia, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Lovech and Smolyan participated in the training. The training program includes a wide range of topics identified through a survey conducted among organizations to increase their effectiveness in the integration and inclusion of refugees, as well as an interactive panel for sharing ideas, experiences, coordination and strengthening cooperation among organizations.

Mariana Tosheva, the chairperson of the State Agency for Refugees under the Council of Ministers, presented the topic of cooperation between non-governmental organizations and institutions in the context of the long-standing partnership between the State Agency for Refugees under the Council of Ministers and non-governmental organizations, including those that operate on the territory of the registration and reception centers.

Reni Borisova, an expert from the Ministry of e-Government, presented the topic of digitization and digital transformation of non-governmental organizations, ways of using various digital resources and open data.

Associate Professor Rositsa Simeonova from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” presented the topic of quality management in organizations working with refugees, as it is of paramount importance to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and ethical behaviour of their activities and structures.

Associate Professor James Iolovski from VUZF: University of Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation presented the topic of financial management, financial sustainability and funding sources for NGOs, as financial management, financial sustainability, and funding sources are vital cornerstones for the operational efficiency and sustainability of non-governmental organizations.

Anelia Miteva, director of CATRO Bulgaria, presented the topic of cooperation between business and non-governmental organizations as a means of converging efforts to promote the economic empowerment of refugees and fulfilling corporate social responsibility, business and economic development.

Olga Toncheva, consultant to the Bulgarian Council for Refugees and Migrants, presented the topic of information management and data analysis for non-governmental organisations that support refugees. Information management systems facilitate the organised collection, storage and retrieval of data, enabling NGOs to draw valuable conclusions and develop practical models to guide their activities.

The interactive session provided an opportunity to outline proposals and follow-up actions to strengthen the capacity and optimise the work of non-governmental organisations in the order of integration and inclusion of refugees linked to the process of social and economic development at the local and social levels.

The Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants organised the event under the “Advocacy for the Integration of Refugees in Bulgaria” project, financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – The UN Refugee Agency.

In October, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants is organising a regional training for refugee assisting non-governmental organisations from Eastern Bulgaria in Varna. If you represent a non-governmental organisation working on refugee integration and wish to participate, you can get more information by contacting us at