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Call for Proposals VP/2008/010 – Budget Line 04-04-01-01

PLOVDIV, 10 – 12 March 2010

International Partners of the Project:
Province of Vicenca (Italy)
Province of Cuneo (Italy)
Coordinamento Nazionale Comunit? di Accoglienza /CNCA/ (Italy)
Larnaka District Development Agency (Cyprus)
Fondo Formacion Euskadi (Spain)
Administration of the Governor of the Region of Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

The Challenge Project is supported by the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (2007-2013) – PROGRESS.
This programme is managed by the Directorate-General for Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities of the European Commission.
This programme was established to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in the employment and social affairs area, as set out in the Social Agenda, and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy goals in these fields.

For more information of the PROGRESS Program see:

For more information of the CHALLENGE Project see:

The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.

Labour Market Governance and Welfare System: creating jobs at the local level: Local Employment Development

The European Commission is promoting the establishment of holistic, integrative local employment development (LED) strategies. A very important aspect of LED is that it should be multi-stakeholder, encouraging committed local partnerships that identify with the localities they operate in. The Commission looks for good understanding and dialogue, combined with a commitment to management excellence that will bring out the best in citizens in local communities.

Local Employment Development (LED) as an ‘instrument’ to combat unemployment has been recognized by the European Commission and other European institutions in the early 1980s and since then has been continuously gaining importance (European Commission, 2007b). Since about 2000, particular attention is paid to the strategy of subsidiarity. The European Union, the Member States, the regional and local levels as well as social partners and the civil society should, therefore, be involved in economic, employment and social policies by taking advantage of multi-stakeholder partnerships .

The European Commission, DG Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, with the notification of the 11th of November 2008, approved the Progress project proposal “Challenge”.

The principal goal is in fact „to elaborate innovative locally-generated employment strategies (LDEI – Local Development Employment Initiatives), able to develop a co-ordinate approach of social inclusion for disadvantaged people“, through the constitution of qualified multilevel partnership in a position to assure the elaboration of local development strategies, integrating the various levels of governance; the analysis the strategies of inclusion, and the definition of possible integrations with the labour active policies at regional, national and European level; the development of local social networks, in order to share knowledge and experiences among experts in the field, to elaborate common innovative methodologies, models and tools to manage negotiated programming paths.

Project Challenge Activities

Phase 1: Project Coordination and Governance: Activation of the steering committees for the project management: Partners Assembly; Executive Board; Action Teams.

Phase 2: Opportunities and Threats Analysis for a New Welfare Model:
(1) Analysis of the changes at a national level and within the local communities’ structure; (2) Analysis of the variables and determinant aspects behind the extreme forms of social and labour discrimination;
(3) Interviews with local stakeholders, in order to point out the communities perceptions about extreme forms of social and labour discrimination and the offer of social and labour inclusion tools and policies.

Phase 3: Good Practices Review: Good practices peer review and comparative analysis.

Phase 4: Awareness Raising: Management of European Awareness Scenario Workshop: 1 for each territorial context.

Phase 5: Learning Laboratories:
(1) ICT Based Community activation;
(2) Visits and exchange experiences organization;
(3) One-week transnational laboratories for LED innovation (Transnational staff granting technical assistance to the various territories): for each territorial context.

Phase 6: New governance systems:
(1) Elaboration of an operative handbook for public and private operators;
2) Elaboration of a „green paper“ in order to explicit the new vision in terms of policies and strategies;

Project Challenge Execution in the Region of Plovdiv
Pre-Project activities started in November/2008. Actual Project activities started in February/2009, when official document exchange between the Leading Partner (the Province of Vicenca, Italy) and the Administration of the Governor of the Region of Plovdiv (Bulgaria) was inducted.
The National Coordinator for the Challenge Project for Bulgaria was pre-approved by the Leading Partner and later, officially approved by the European Commission, the Leading Partner, and the Governor of the Region of Plovdiv. The National Coordinator position is occupied by Prof. Krastyo Petkov, PhD for the whole period of the Project Execution.
The initial team of experts (from Bulgaria, and from the institutions of the rest partners in the Project) was changed after the re-modulation of the Project at the late December/2009.
Up-to-date execution list of some of the most significant actions of the Administration of the Governor of the Region of Plovdiv (Bulgaria) includes: presentation of special reports in Vicenca (Italy), Bilbao (Spain); contribution report submission; organization of Workshop/Seminar; organization of the Final Conference; final presentation materials distribution.

Local partners of the Challenge Project are:
(1) Directorate “Regional Office of Employment” /DROE/ – Plovdiv of the National Employment Agency of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy;
(2) Directorate “Regional Office of Social Support” /DROSS/ – Plovdiv of Agency of Social Support of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy;
(3) Agency for Disabled People of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for South Central Region of Planning;
(4) Administrations of Municipalities in the Region;
(5) NGO Foundation “Indi Roma 97” /City of Kuklen/;
(6) NGO “Earth – A Source of Income”;
(7) NGO “Samaritans” /City of Stara Zagora/;
(8) NGO “Union of Disabled” – Plodviv;
(9) Various NGOs and Institutions;
(10) Akademika Ltd. – Sofia /main media and logistics partner/;
(11) Various local and national media partners and organizations;

The Region of Plovdiv in Statistics:
• Territory: 5’973 km? ; 5,4% of the territory of Bulgaria;
• Population (2009): 754,843 (2009); ~9% of the population of Bulgaria;
• Unemployment (2009):
o 6,7% for the Region of Plovdiv; 7,6% for Bulgaria;
o Average number of unemployed per month for 2009 ~ 22,173 individuals;
o Average number of continuously unemployed per month for 2009 ~ 5,425 individuals (24% of all registered unemployed in the Region, while this percent is 28% for the Country);
• Poverty (2008):
o ? 6% out of 340,000 individuals (20,400 individuals) live in poverty in the City of Plovdiv;
o ? 15% out of 750,000 individuals (112,500 individuals) live in poverty in the Region of Plovdiv;
In a nationwide plan, in comparison to the 4th quarter of 2008 (4Q/2008), the number of unemployed for less than 12 months in a roll increased by 86,8% for the 4Q/2009, and this number reached 155,200 individuals; this is 56,9% of all unemployed. The number of unemployed for more than 12 months in a roll (long-term unemployed) increased by 24,2% in comparison to 4Q/2008 and reached 117,600 individuals at the 4Q/2009; and this is 43,1% of all unemployed.
Employment Policies on Regional Level. Examples for Individuals Included in PROGRAMS and PROJECTS for Employment and Education in the Region of Plovdiv (2005-2008)
(NP – National Program; P – Program; RP – Regional Program; PJCT – Project)
Type of Program № of individuals
1. NP: From Social Allowances to Employment Provision: 13,848
2. NP: Assistants of Disabled People: 5,191
3. NP: Literacy and Qualification of Romas: 536
4. NP: In Support of Maternity: 425
5. NP: Beautiful Bulgaria: 397
6. P: Career Start 82
7. P: No Interest Credits for Disabled People 147
8. P: Teachers for Disabled Children 21
9. RP: Literacy, Professional Education, and Employment 23
10. PRJCT: Active Services on the Labor Market 560
11. PRJCT: Youth Employment – A Warranty for the Future 160
12. PJCT: Optimism 70
Total Number of Individuals Employed Through Programs and Projects: 23,197 (2005-2008)

Employment Policies on Regional Level. Examples for Individuals Included in MEASURES for Employment and Education in the Region of Plovdiv (2005-2008)
(Various Measures are initiated in accordance to various Articles of the Law for Employment Promotion /LEP/)
Type of Measure № of individuals
1. Art.46/LEP: Opening of Jobs for
Obtaining Qualifications Through Apprenticeship: 2,178
2. Art.41/LEP: Education for Obtainign Qualification and/or
Apprenticeship of Unemployed who are 29 years of age or younger: 972
3. Art.36/LEP: For Unemployed Young Individuals up to 29 year of
Age without Work Experience: 817
Total Number of Individuals Employed Through Measures of LEP : 6,461 (2005-2008)

Practices of The Non-Governmental Sector to Combat Social Exclusion and Unemployment

(1) NGO “Samaritans” – City of Stara Zagora,
Presentation of this NGO and its activities was executed by Mr. Dimo Dimov on the local Workshop/Seminar, held on 15 Feb.2010 in Bulgaria,

Mr. Dimo Dimov from the NGO “Samaritans” spoke on the local Workshop/Seminar about the Bulgarian experience on social enterprises establishment. He also accented on the fact that there is no legal basis to set-up a social enterprise in Bulgaria, nowadays. He revealed that their organization actually operates a for-profit business to support their social activities. He presented their project “Buy a Beehive – Support a Child!”, where, according to their estimates the cost of a beehive is about ?110, but the returns per a beehive a positive for 15 years in a roll. Thus, attracting donators to buy beehives, “Samaritans” are able to financially support their social assistance activities.

(2) NGO “Indi Roma 97” – City of Kuklen
Presentation of this NGO and its activities was executed by Mrs. Albena Kostadinova on the local Workshop/Seminar, held on 15 Feb.2010 in Bulgaria,

Mrs. Albena Kostadinova in her capacity of Chief Executive of the NGO Foundation “Indi Roma 97”, primarily focused on revealing how their organization works towards social inclusion of individuals of Roma origin. An interesting fact, she revealed on the Seminar, referred to how 4 individuals from Roma origin of all 550 Romas from the City of Kuklen were assisted to acquire higher education. She accented on the fact that these 4 individuals were supported in one way or another by her foundation to graduate. This NGO Foundation operates an educational center for low-income individuals; and moreover, it operates as a labor broker finding jobs for illiterate, low-qualified, low-skilled labor force.

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