The USAID Bulgaria mission closed in 2008. Below is a press release archive of its accomplishments during its operation
USAID/Bulgaria Bi-weekly, July 2, 2008
USAID/Bulgaria Bi-weekly, June 4, 2008
At a ceremony on April 22, the day of international celebrations of Earth Day, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commemorated the donation of more than 500 newly planted trees and improved infrastructure in the South Park of Sofia. Ambassador Beyrle, Sofia Mayor Boiko Borissov, USAID Mission Director Michael Fritz, and Ginka Kapitanova, Executive Director of the Foundation for Local Government Reform, spoke at the event and unveiled a stone marking the donation.
USAID’s green initiatives continued in the Rhodope Mountains near the town of Chepelare last week with a record of 200 new pine trees were planted.
On Tuesday April 22 at 10am, USAID will officially commemorate the donation of more than 600 trees planted in Sofia’s South Park with a ceremony behind the City Center Sofia shopping center.
A total of 50,000 new trees will be planted near Stara Zagora. USAID has been a key partner in this initiative as part of a series of green events highlighting the close out of USAID assistance to Bulgaria.
At USAID Anti-Trafficking Program Final Event, Schoolchildren Teach Audience about Risks of Trafficking
The young participants in the NGO program “Open Your Eyes: You Can Get Help!” participated in a lesson about the dangers of trafficking in persons in front of the several hundred gathered guests during the closing event of the USAID/International Organization for Migration anti-trafficking program.
The English teacher training supported by USAID and the Democracy Commission of the U.S. Embassy helped Roma and non-Roma participants from Sofia and other locations in Bulgaria acquire new skills and forge lasting friendships.
Airport visitors can now learn about U.S. development assistance in Bulgaria while they wait to catch or meet flights.
Eleven participants from across the country, including 6 Roma and 5 other Bulgarians, have passed the midpoint of a one-month English teacher training course in Sofia.
Ambassador Beyrle presented the Roma Entrepreneur 2007 Awards at a ceremony organized under the USAID Roma Micro-lending Global Development Alliance (GDA) project. The ceremony recognized the winners in a nationwide competition among Roma micro-credit clients.
USAID is partnering with the local community foundations in Stara Zagora and Chepelare to assist the forest recovery. This joint initiative, launched in late 2007, will replant a 2,471-acre of forest devastated by last summer’s wild fires, while at the same time commemorating USAID’s graduation.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and USAID organized training in combating trafficking in human beings for social workers from the region of Northern Bulgaria. The municipality of Veliko Turnovo supported the initiative and proudly presented its crisis center for children who have been victims of trafficking in the village of Balvan.
USAID Bulgaria posters will be placed at a number of spots to create a visual reminder of the achievements and legacies of U.S. development assistance.
A national promotional campaign for Informoney, an SME financial clearing house that launched in October, kicked off in mid-February. Informoney Information Days targeted SMEs throughout the country, primarily from agriculture, tourism, and industry.
The results of the first national research on the professional orientation and motivation of Bulgarian students were presented at a press conference at Sofia University.
More than 150 government officials and business representatives discussed the role of Bulgarian municipalities in promoting local economic development at the second annual conference of the Foundation for Local Government Reform “Municipalities and Business: Partners for Economic Development."
USAID Bulgaria has launched the second phase of its final public awareness campaign with a more focused approach aimed at youth and business audiences.
Junior Achievement Bulgaria (JAB) announces the Seventh National Manager for a Day Initiative to be held on March 18. Registration deadline is February 29.
USAID Bulgaria congratulates its partners who successfully competed for grants under the EU operational program "Administrative Capacity."
The book describes the small hotels and family-run bed and breakfast inns around Bulgaria that have earned the Authentic Bulgaria Quality Mark.
One thousand secondary and vocational school counselors from across Bulgaria will be trained and certified as career counselors by September 2008.
The National Anti-Trafficking Commission, with assistance from USAID and the International Organization for Migration, is progressing with implementation of the Action Plan for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
The public awareness TV spots produced by USAID in the fall of 2007 will run again on Nova TV during news and prime-time programs during February.
Reneta Nikolova, Bulgarian National Television journalist and chairwoman of the Journalists Against Corruption NGO, is the Journalist of the Year announced the European Voice magazine.
Silvia Hubenova, president of Partners Bulgaria Foundation-Asenovgrad, was elected to the Asenovgrad municipal council in local elections in October 2007. On January 7, she was officially appointed to the position of Deputy Mayor for European Issues. Ms. Hubenova is one of the most proactive and committed NGO leaders with whom USAID worked on the local level.
The Business Foundation for Education launched a new software tool that will assist career counselors to give students better information about their interests and aptitudes and to help them make the right educational choices.
USAID Bulgaria placed in the Top 50 (#35) out of more than 450 entries in the Magellan Awards for communications campaigns sponsored by the League of American Communications Professionals.
Nachala Cooperative, a key legacy institution of USAID microfinance assistance, becoame a member to the European Microfinance Network (EMN).
USAID is embarking on several environmental initiatives to celebrate the Mission’s closure in 2008. Planting of a new “forest” in South Park near the Hilton Hotel will be marked with an event in the spring. USAID also funded the design and production of a 2008 calendar made from 100% recycled paper with creative green graphics and thought-provoking tips on easy ways to live a greener lifestyle.
A group of seven journalists from national Bulgarian media outlets traveled with USAID to Bucharest, Romania to learn about what USAID has accomplished in their neighboring country. USAID will close its mission to Romania in September 2008, at the same time that USAID will close its doors in Bulgaria and Croatia. Most of the Bulgarian journalists were struck by the similar challenges facing the two countries.
On December 11, USAID sponsored a working breakfast for the members of the new Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). Former staff of the USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative presented the accomplishments of U.S. assistance programs in the areas of judicial administration and court improvement in the last seven years.
Mission Director Michael Fritz participated in a press conference marking International Human Rights Day organized by the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The Commission’s Executive Secretary, Antoaneta Vassileva introduced American director Michael Cory Davis, whose documentary “Cargo” was part of the commemoration of 16 Days Against Violence Against Women.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cash Center of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) took place in Sofia on December 6. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Sofia and BNB Governors from the last 20 years. The construction of the Center is expected to take more than one year.
Radio communication equipment and chainsaws provided by USAID will enhance the efficiency of Bulgarian Civil Protection Teams in responding to future wildfires. Deputy Chief of Mission Alexander Karagiannis and USAID Mission Director Michael Fritz presented the equipment to the Ministry of State Policy for Disasters and Accidents in a December 5 donation ceremony in Sofia.
National Anti-trafficking Commission Goes on the Road to Interact with Experts, City Officials and Village Youth
On November 21-22, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons, Antoaneta Vassileva, and the National Commission Expert Group traveled to Varna for a workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with USAID support.
The Bulgaria Fund - a final initiative of USAID in Bulgaria - will be launched on November 15 in Sheraton Hotel, Sofia. Ambassador John Beyrle and the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria, Miglena Tacheva, will speak at the ceremony, which will provide attendees with information on the Bulgaria Fund’s core objectives, strategic focus, and the first call for proposals.
Public opinion polling conducted in late October by the research firm MBMD on behalf of USAID revealed that public awareness in Bulgaria about USAID has increased. The results are most likely attributable to the USAID Bulgaria public awareness campaign that ran from mid-September to late October and included print, internet, TV and radio ads.
The first graduates of the MSc program in Information Systems of the Stevens Institute of Technology and Sofia University received their diplomas on October 30 at Sofia University.
In addition to funding renovation and furnishing of the Commission's new office space, USAID and the International Organization for Migration assisted the National Commission in developing its action plan for 2007.
USAID/Bulgaria Assessment Report Seventeen Years of Partnership in Transition: 1990 – 2007
The survey, conducted through the USAID-supported network of university career centers, will include questions on students’ career focus, salary expectations, and education.
Local government practitioners from all 264 Bulgarian municipalities will directly benefit from training activities conducted in the center.
Ambassador John Beyrle and USAID Mission Director Michael Fritz recognized 13 national and regional journalists for their objective and informative reporting on U.S. assistance to Bulgaria.
The closing ceremony, which celebrated seventeen years of partnership and progress, was attended by prominent representatives of Bulgarian civil society, media, business, government, the judiciary, and academia.
USAID Close-out Ceremony Speeches
The Volunteer Network for Training and Consulting is a joint initiative of the Bulgarian Center for Development and Training and a committee of Peace Corps Volunteers which provides innovative responses to local training needs.
The Chamber of Investigators of Bulgaria and the International Organization for Migration regional centers in the city of Bourgas and Sliven conducted two lessons with children from special assistance schools and community support centers.
Representatives of the media are invited to attend a ceremony celebrating the U.S.-Bulgaria partnership and the closing of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to Bulgaria.
USAID Marks Closing of Business and Trade Development Program with Launch of Informoney Website and Expansion of Authentic Bulgaria Initiative
Media are invited to attend the event to celebrate the success of the program in the Grand Hotel Sofia on Tuesday, October 2 at 18.30 h.
The Expert Group under the National Anti-Trafficking Commission played a key role in the development of the Action Plan, together with the Secretary of the National Commission.
Business Foundation for Education Wins a European Commission Grant to Promote International Internships
The project will raise awareness about opportunities for Bulgarian students to study abroad and participate in paid internships under the EU-sponsored Erasmus Program. It will target at least 50,000 students and professors and at least 10,000 employers.
On September 20, Minister of Justice Miglena Tacheva bestowed the Ministry’s Sign of Honor on British Ambassador Jeremy Hill, USAID Mission Director Michael Fritz, and USAID implementing partners Chris Thompson and Ken Stuart.
On September 19 the USAID CLRP conducted a discussion with government representatives to discuss the possibilities of effective use of private enforcement agents in collecting public claims.
On September 14, the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents presented the first issue of a case book on selected court judgments.
The significant growth in positive court user assessments can continue and eventually overtake negative perceptions.
The film highlighted the stories of three enterprising Bulgarians who realized their dreams in the difficult years of the transition with the help of USAID assistance.
USAID is producing a series of advertisements to start airing on Bulgarian TV channels first half of September.
Verbatim equipment ensures a more accurate transcript of court hearings through its precise digital record, and increases transparency and accountability in trial proceedings.
The Bulgarian Deposit Insurance Fund was nominated for the Deposit Insurance Organization of the Year.
The U.S. Government is providing $50,000 for the purchase of fire fighting equipment.
Following up on an earlier course that prepared 14 Bulgarian teachers for work with municipal personnel, this course led to internationally recognized certification for 3 Bulgarians and 3 Americans.
The new information center of Bourgas Regional Court will help clerks do their jobs better and will redirect the flow of people in the building. Information Centers increase transparency of court operations, serve the public, and help to fight corruption.
PC3 Telecenter Association Continues to Emerge as a Leader in IT Support for People with Disabilities
Two Telecenters in the network of the PC3 Telecenter Association recently conducted seminars on IT solutions for people with disabilities.
The USAID-funded CityLinks program implemented by the International City Management Association joined forces with the Bulgarian Foundation for Local Government Reform to address waste management practices in Bulgaria.
A four-year portable guarantee agreement with USAID will enable Nachala to meet the increasing needs for investment and working capital.
The goals of the Volunteer Network for Training and Consulting are to seek inexpensive, creative ways to address local needs and to promote volunteerism in Bulgaria.
Representatives from NGOs and their partner courts met in Razgrad on July 20 to share best practices at the fourth public exhibition sponsored by the USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative.
The organizers were the USAID Participant Training Program and its legacy organization, the Bulgarian Center for Development and Training.
“While we say goodbye to some Americans who have worked in Bulgaria, I view today’s event more as a new beginning,” said Ambassador Beyrle.
The new department will continue to recruit and support courts under the ongoing SJC Courts in Partnership program. In the past two years the SJC has shown a strong interest in endorsing USAID activities.
The tool is useful for meeting organizations’ needs for financial management, cash flow monitoring, and project planning.
Goodbye to the USAID Participant Training Program, Good Luck to Bulgarian Center for Development and Training
Since 1993 the program has trained more than 4,000 Bulgarians in support of USAID technical assistance programs.
USAID has supported the grass-root development work of the volunteers in the areas of English language education, youth development, and community and organizational development, through the Small Project Assistance Program since 1993.
A group of 15 private enforcement agents are now better prepared to handle potential conflicts after completing a Conflict Resolution Training Course.
Euromoney ranked BACB third among 102 "Emerging Europe" companies in the category "Most Convincing and Coherent Strategy".
On June 22 – 23, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a workshop for the Expert Group under the National Anti-trafficking Commission.
The Second National Public Exhibition "Courts and Communities Together" featured a wide variety of items, including research studies, computer systems, and media products such as films and mock trials performed by students.
USAID Interethnic Interaction program marked its closure with a two-day conference on June 14-15 under the motto "Diversity and Equal Opportunities - The Debate Continues". Representatives of Bulgarian government, U.S. government, EU, and civil society honored the event.
Leading business and educational organizations, as well as state institutions, participated in a round-table on the development of entrepreneurship education in Bulgaria.
The training centers will help NGOs working with people with disabilities to achieve financial and organizational sustainability through social entrepreneurship.
During the U.S. Presidential visit to Bulgaria on June 10-11, the First Lady Laura Bush met with clients of the microfinance institution Ustoi.
The NIJ has produced impressive numbers during its growth from a small NGO housed in an office attic space, to a national institute with two buildings and 48 staff.
Two minivans equipped with laptop computers and printers will expand the reach of microfinance institution Nachala in rural areas in Bulgaria.
PRESS RELEASE: President Bush Announces Creation of America for Bulgaria Foundation to Promote Private Sector Development
During their meeting in Sofia on June 11, 2007, President Bush informed President Parvanov of the creation of the “America for Bulgaria Foundation,” which over the coming years will be endowed with $200 million from the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund (BAEF).
The town of Chepalare in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains celebrated the opening of a new artificial-grass soccer field on June 15.
Municipal experts from six American cities and 39 Bulgarian municipalities attended a Best Practices Symposium organized by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Foundation for Local Government Reform (FLGR) in Varna on June 11-12.
The first visit of President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush to Bulgaria included several USAID activities.
On June 5, the St. Ivan Rilski Charity Association in the village of Balvan officially launched its small grant project called "Open your eyes - you can get help!"
Mita Georgieva of the National High School of Business and Finance in Sofia has enthusiastically supported Junior Achievement Bulgaria for the past ten years.
The students from the company "JA's Experts" will represent Bulgaria at the Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise Europe trade fair for student companies, July 26-29 in Berlin.
The managers of the implementing agency reported that the IT system for the new centralized electronic commercial register is ready, office locations for the Registration Agency are identified and staff will be hired within weeks to observe the new July 1st deadline.
Mission Director Michael Fritz, Democracy and Local Governance Chief Gene Gibson, and USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative Director Ken Stuart were each given the “Sign of Honor” by NIJ Director Pencho Penev.
The documentary film "The Solution" will present the development of mediation in Bulgaria and the role which USAID played in the process. It is a joint production of USAID and the Bulgarian National TV and will be broadcast at the end of June.
The period in focus was June 2005 – May 2007, during which more than 900 people participated in 41 programs in 17 countries.
Celebration of tolerance took place in Aytos, Devin, Isperih, Kardjali, Momchilgrad, and Razgrad as part of the series of graduating events under USAID Interethnic Interaction program. The closing nationwide conference of the Interethnic Interaction program will take place in Sofia on June 14-15.
The Bulgarian Center for Development and Training is working on a World Bank Bulgaria project to help the bank become better prepared to support Bulgaria in the early EU post-accession period.
The goal of the excursion was to expose the journalists to the wide range of USAID assistance projects in areas such as judicial reform, local governance, economic development, and labor market reform.
The first career development center for secondary school students was established at the professional school of electronics M.V.Lomonosov in Gorna Oriahovica. The Business Foundation for Education and the National Pedagogical Center will continue training and certifying career counselors from secondary schools during 2007.
The last of the MBA Enterprise Corps volunteers in Bulgaria through the USAID Business and Trade Development Program, completed her assignment on May 18. Since September 2006, Megan Weber worked with three mediation centers in the areas of strategy, marketing, and new business development, with the goal of long-term sustainability.
The USAID Participant Training Program organized a study tour to Italy and Ukraine for 13 Bulgarian experts from 11 institutions as part of USAID Bulgaria's support for anti-trafficking efforts.
On May 10 the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Stock Exchange and USAID, organized a Regional Workshop on Investor Relations. A highlight of the seminar was a discussion of Corporate Governance Codes.
Nearly 50 people attended a conference conducted by the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents organized to present the new profession to the judiciary. The Chamber also announced to the judges the extension of a targeted grant by USAID, aimed at collecting written court opinions on judgment enforcement, analyzing them, and publishing a case book with commentaries on court practices.
For the second year in a row, the “Juniors in Action” national competition was held to encourage the ideas and achievements of the youngest entrepreneurs aged 6-12. “Our city” was the motto of the competition, officially opened by Sofia mayor Boiko Borisov.
The transfer was completed with a three-day training in Blagoevgrad. The program was the latest in the series of Judiciary Media Trainings offered by USAID through the JSI and Bulgarian experts at ProMedia over the past two years.
The new Study and Information Center will be a resource for all distance learning programs and research functions, and will house the NIJ library. The USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative contributed to the office furnishings and library materials.
On April 26 the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) aired the last issue of Municipal Radio Forum, a joint initiative of BNR’s "Horizont" program and the Foundation for Local Government Reform (FLGR) with the financial support of USAID.
USAID-sponsored Survey on Public Attitudes about Roma Entrepreneurship Points to Benefits of Microcredit
The study was commissioned by CRS as part of the joint USAID/CRS/Microfund/Ustoi project “Alliance for Inclusive Business Development of Roma Communities in Bulgaria”. The results pointed to the potential of microlending to create a series of positive incentives for Roma clients. Most interviewed agreed that receiving a loan will have a positive impact on fostering a desire to work and repay the loan, leading in turn to increased investment and enlargement of the business.
High-level Bulgarian Government officials attended the annual forum. Ambassador Beyrle’s opening remarks highlighted CSD’s analysis of the immense cost of corruption to all Bulgarian citizens. The think tank presented their eighth Corruption Assessment Report which covers the period immediately preceding Bulgaria’s accession to the EU through the first months of EU membership. It analyzes the main results and risks of the Bulgarian anti-corruption strategy.
USAID’s Commercial Law Reform Program (CLRP) publicly presented the newly developed Judgment Enforcement Performance Monitoring System (JEPMS) in Russe on April 20.
One of the most difficult issues in the judiciary was addressed with the opening of a new room for interviewing child participants in court proceedings on April 20 in Sofia.
At a conference on April 17, USAID celebrated the successful completion of its assistance program in the area of local government reform. USAID presented a film capturing key events and achievements of the program in the last 13 years.
The USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative and the SJC will now jointly distribute the comprehensive Information Center Concept to all Bulgarian courts. Courthouse Information Centers are an essential tool in bridging the divide between the public and its judicial institutions.
The National Conference on Public Procurement System Integrity organized by the USAID Open Government Initiative on April 4 in Sofia was attended by all key stakeholders in the public procurement process. USAID invested almost $10 million to help Bulgarian public institutions become more transparent, efficient and responsive.
On March 20, Chris Thompson, Chief of Party of the USAID Commercial Law Reform Program, celebrated his first ten years in Bulgaria by playing with his band Late Night Messiah (LNM) in front of over 70 fans, friends and colleagues.
The Registry Agency demonstrated a strong commitment to implement the business registration reform in a timely manner, and openly discuss with media and businesses the challenges that lie ahead.
On March 28, USAID implementing partner Junior Achievement celebrated its 10th year in Bulgaria with a conference, "10 Years’ Investment in Education - Let Their Success Be Your Inspiration.”
The main issues debated at the national forum on the proposed new Judicial System Act included the full-time status of members of the Supreme Judicial Council, and the role of the Ministry of Justice in overseeing judicial facilities and property.
The NACC is a key legacy of USAID, with an active membership facilitating trainings, producing curricula, and advocating for the professional development and labor rights of some 4,000 clerks and secretaries nationwide.
Mission Director Michael Fritz participated in a March 14 ceremony marking the transition of Bourgas Regional Court to Model Court status. At a March 21 roundtable at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, the Mission Director briefed journalists about upcoming USAID graduation events.
Based on the new Criminal Procedure Code, the Prosecutor Initial Training Manual includes 41 separate training modules covering 115 topics, and is the first systematic training on the new Criminal Code offered by the NIJ.
Media representatives and 40 guests had the chance to preview the new film of BNT's program "The Law and Us" about a study tour on private enforcement to the Netherlands, organized by the USAID Participant Training Program. The film was produced by journalist Reneta Nikolova.
Due to the publicity the number of claims filed with the Conciliation Committee at the Bulgarian National Bank has increased substantially.
The first medium-size independent project of the Bulgarian Center for Development and Training featured a conference to support NGOs that have received Democracy Commission funding since 1994.
USAID supports the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to award small grants for combating trafficking in human beings in Bulgaria
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) awarded six small grants to four NGOs, one community center and one Municipality supporting local initiatives against trafficking in human beings on February 21 in Bourgas.
The Varna and Dobrich Regional and District Courts were honored for their achievements in implementing the goals of the Court Improvement Plan as part of their work with USAID's Judicial Strengthening Initiative.
A ceremony held in the Bulgarian Parliament marked the close-out of the USAID Parliamentary Internship Program. The program is a successful model of citizen participation in the legislative process.
A ceremony held on February 22 presented the website www.KakviDaStanem.bg and also marked the close-out of the Labor Market Project - one of the most successful USAID initiatives in Bulgaria. Since 2002 USAID has been actively engaged in increasing the flexibility of the Bulgarian labor market.
PRESS RELEASE: Invitation to the launch of website www.KakviDaStanem.bg and announcing the close out of the USAID Labor Market Project
The Labor Market Project (LMP) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) invites media to the presentation of a new website www.KakviDaStanem.bg – an interactive portal to help young people find and shape their future careers. LMP will also organize the first national conference of professional career consultants in Bulgarian education, which will take place on February 21 and 22.
In the beginning of February, the Authentic Bulgaria Quality Mark was presented at a specialized international expo for alternative travel, Rеisepavillon, in Hannover, Germany. More than 300 exhibitors from 30 countries participated in the exhibition, which was visited by more than 18,000 people.
The NIJ will guide and support courts to organize trainings based on a local needs assessment, thus ensuring that each court receives the most needed and relevant training. The new NIJ local training program is a successor of a similar program successfully implemented by the USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of city-to-city partnerships in Bulgaria. The USAID-supported Technical Twinning Program matched participating Bulgarian municipalities with an American municipal twin to share expertise on technical and management issues. Cities across the U.S. volunteered their staff and resources to provide technical assistance, humanitarian assistance, and share cultural experiences and camaraderie.
USAID grantee Journalists Against Corruption presented a special screening of its latest film on January 31 at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in Sofia.
A diverse group of emerging local economic development experts visited Greece from January 21-27 for a study tour on “Local Action Groups – a Bottom-Up Approach for the Development of Rural Areas.”
The USAID-supported Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents held its first regular General Assembly on January 27 in Plovdiv. Private enforcement agents have successfully closed 5,500 enforcement cases and have collected more than BGN 89 million in June - December 2006.
On January 26, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted amendments to the constitution granting taxing powers to local governments which marks the culmination of several years of USAID support for fiscal decentralization.
The Competitive Grants Program supports collaborative efforts between Bulgarian courts and civil society groups to increase the transparency, efficiency, and accountability of the judicial system.
USAID/Bulgaria invites the Bulgarian journalists to participate in a USAID-sponsored competition for national and regional media outlets for coverage about the results of the U.S.-Bulgaria partnership and development assistance.
The USAID Labor Market Project and the Business Foundation for Education announced on January 9 the establishment of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Bulgaria.
USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative new draft regulatory amendments seek to clarify conflicting rules and streamline access to court documents and court hearings.
Health for Everyone Association, a Pleven-based NGO, launched a nationwide information campaign to promote the newly established Social Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities.
A ceremony at the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC) marked the end of over $3.6 million in USAID assistance to the Bulgarian energy sector.
Private judgment enforcement is a recent, but significant, reform promoted by USAID through its Commercial Law Reform Program. Business representative organizations played a leading role in passing the reform last year.
Linked to the USAID Court Improvement Plan, the trainings emphasized key outreach tools such as information centers, courthouse signage, media work, and customer service.
The series, “Faces from Bulgaria,” is produced by the Broadcast Training Center ProMedia and presents human stories of people of different ethnic backgrounds living in varied social conditions.
Sofia’s University of Architecture, Construction and Geodesy joined the growing network of university career centers in Bulgaria, an initiative of the USAID Labor Market Project.
Junior Achievement Bulgaria (JAB) openes a new center for entrepreneurship at the Hristo Botev High School for Construction, Architecture and Geodesy in Sofia.
The Plovdiv Information Center will serve the Appellate, District and Regional courts, and allows public access to information about the movement of cases, the location of offices and courtrooms, and state fees.
Over 1,500 Bulgarian magistrates – judges, prosecutors and investigators – assembled on 17-18 November, 2006, at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia for the first ever National Conference of Magistrates in Bulgaria.
From October 8-15, a group of local development experts from 8 Bulgarian municipalities traveled to Estonia for training on Improving the Economic Development Environment of Local Communities.
Two USAID-supported institutions in Bulgaria celebrated milestone anniversaries last week. The National Association of Bulgarian Municipalities, founded with USAID assistance in 1996, recognized its 10th anniversary. The same week, the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) celebrated its 15th anniversary.
The Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents welcomed the second wave of 58 new members with a swearing-in ceremony at Grand Hotel Sofia. USAID has been the main driver of this reform for the last three years.
The District Courts of Kurdjali, Veliko Tarnovo, and Vratsa joined thirteen other USAID Model Courts whose work has focused on specific areas of judicial reform.
The Dobrich District and Regional Courts opened a new information center on October 12, one of the results of their active participation in the Courts in Partnership Program of the USAID Judicial Strengthening Initiative.
USAID/Bulgaria completed training for 432 state and private veterinarians in five locations in Bulgaria on the essentials of controlling highly pathogenic Avian Influenza.
Searching for ways to revive citizens’ commitment to municipal matters, the Shumen municipality has created the first sister city council in Bulgaria.
The first-ever national exhibition on the work of Bulgarian court reform brought together representatives of fifteen courts and twenty-four rule of law NGOs on 28 September in Sofia.
Over the past five years, USAID assistance has strengthened sustainable community development and established strong partnerships at the local level.
On Monday, September 18, 2006, Mr. Michael Fritz, Mission Director of the USAID Mission to Bulgaria will open in Vratsa the first session in a series of technical trainings for the detection and outbreak management of Avian Influenza.
The event gathered 120 educators who learned innovative methods for teaching economics and entrepreneurship in 67 vocational and general secondary schools countrywide.
USAID Attorneys’ Professional Development Initiative to be Succeeded by the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives
The USAID Attorneys’ Professional Development Initiative (APDI) celebrated its successful completion on September 8 at the Central Military Club in Sofia.
The legal profession in Bulgaria is free, independent and self-governing, and has improved in both legal and professional aspects, indicates the Legal Profession Reform Index (LPRI) for Bulgaria.
The Center for Independent Living monitored thirteen cases heard in 2005-06 at the Sofia Regional Court, Sofia City Court, and the Supreme Administrative Court.
On August 9, Mission Director Michael Fritz inaugurated the new branch of the Health for Everyone Association in Sofia. The new branch in Sofia will improve the quality of life of 800 people with disabilities in the capital by providing services based on individual need, free training and consultations.
Eleven Bulgarian Members of Parliament (MPs) will go on a study tour in the United States from July 8 - 20, 2006. The specifically tailored training organized by USAID will expose the MPs to relevant U.S. models, which best address their specific needs, and their institution and country environment.
USAID, through its Labor Market Project, is piloting a new initiative for Bulgaria aimed at narrowing the gap between vocational training in tourism and the workforce skills needed by employers in the industry.