General Information
ROMACT Cycle: 
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Mr Vasil Edrev
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Ms Sonia Shistakova, senior expert within the department for “Culture, education and religion, health and sport”
Ms Dora Petkova
Total population: 
28 327
2011 National Census
Roma living in the Municipality: 
3 101
Description of the Municipality: 

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Last update 02/08/2016
The municipality of Aytos ( Айтос ) is located in the Eastern part of Bulgaria, in the Burgas region. The municipality administrative territory consists of 17 settlements (16 villages and one city) with a total area of 403 square km.
The municipality has a total population of 29,000 inhabitants and according to official statistics Roma communities make up approximately 11% of the population; though it is possible that the population cold actually make up as much as 25% (around 7,000 people) based on data provided by the Roma community themselves.

The Roma of Aytos mainly live in three settlements:  the Aytos municipal centre (around 2,400 people); the village of Maglen (Мъглен)(approximately 270 people); and the village of Chukarka (Чукарка) (around 270 people).  In the Eastern part of the city of Aytos there is an additional Roma neighbourhood where roughly 2,400 people live.  According to representatives from the municipality about 90% of the neighbourhood is located in the city's legislature (according to the urban plan).  90% of this Roma neighbourhood has paved roads, sewage service, running water and electricity.  The remaining 10% of this neighbourhood outside of the city limits is deprived of all amenities (without paved roads, sewage service, running water or electricity); many of the Roma living in this section also lack property titles.   The lack of title to their homes limits the abilities of local authorities to enact appropriate support for these particular settlement inhabitants.  The marginalisation of this part of the Roma community in Aytos is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Roma of this municipality, and, combine the inability to access social house with high unemployment rates, high school dropout rates of the children, significant child labour statistics and early marriage the municipality recognise the urgent need to find ways to support this community.

ROMACT Aytos photo gallery

The ROMACT Process

With the signature on a letter of commitment to ROMACT by Mr Edrev, Mayor of Aytos the municipality officially joined the ROMACT programme in November 2015.
Prior to joining the ROMACT programme, Aytos had already initiated a Municipal Action Plan for Roma Integration 2014-207 (MAPRI) and a “Municipal Development Plan, Aytos 2014-2020
The ROMACT national facilitator has worked with the CAG during her engagements with the community to ensure that Roma in the area are active participants and citizens engaging with the Local authority and also that they are involved in the development of the monitoring of MAPRI activities; this approach ensures the Roma participation remains a priority for the local authorities as well.
Early in February 2016, the CAG drafted a letter to the mayor detailing their short and long-term priorities for inclusion in the MAPRI.  By the 26th February 2016, the CAG held a working meeting to focus on these recommended priorities, which can be summarised as follows:


Short-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
InfrastructureRepair and pave the main streets in the neighbourhood inhabited by Roma
HousingProvide social housing solutions in the municipality
EducationEnsure children attend school and reduce the number of school dropoutsTake appropriate measures to improve the knowledge of Bulgarian language among Roma children
OtherFind a sustainable solution for the high poverty rates, especially among children (provide them with clothing, food, etc.)Guarantee effective emergency services
Long-term priorities of the CAGObjective 1Objective 2
HousingImprove the housing conditions for poor Roma families
InfrastructureInclude the remaining 10% of the Roma neighborhood within the municipality's urban planningPrevent illegal garbage dumping on “Detelina” Street
EducationEnsure children attend school and reduce the number of school dropouts
OtherWork towards the prevention of early marriagesPrepare emergency measures to reduce unemployment

In October 2016,  the Municipal Taskforce for Roma Inclusion (Public Council for Social Inclusion) was created.
Given the current plan was ending in 2017, the municipality proposed to develop a new one for the period 2018-2020 and to have a formal agreement with the CAG with regards to the identified priorities until then.  The Internal Agreement between the Mayor of Aytos and CAG was signed by the mayor  on 21 December 2016.

The Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following projects :
* "Support for pre-school education of disadvantaged children”, OP- SESG-
Status : not approved.

* Project BG05M9OP001-2-.004-0039 "Integrated services for early child development for children between 0-7 years and their families from Aytos”, OP-HRD –
Budget : 124 500 €
Status : approved.

The expertise provided by ROMACT for municipalities involves training and guidance on preparing project proposals and implementing inclusive policies aimed at improving the living conditions and social integration of vulnerable populations, including the Roma.

Trainings provided by ROMACT experts :

Community Action Groups:
* Advocacy;
* Local self-government;
* Establishment of an NGO;
* Activities planning;
* Identifying approaches to limit the illegal constructions;
Addressing drug delivery and use in the Roma neighbourhoods.

Local authorities:
* Available funding opportunities and how to  linking them with priorities;
* Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the MAPRI with the community participation;
* Inclusive Roma Policies and Project Planning under EU Operational  Programmes;
* Planning the short-term and medium- term activities;
* Establishing the schedule for the implementation of MAPRI/Internal Agreement for 2017 and starting the consultation for developing the Joint MAPRI for 2018-2020;
* Establishing the Rules of the Taskforce;
* Identifying ways to integrate the priorities  of MAPRI  in the Municipal Development Plan (MDP);
* Identifying approaches to limit the illegal constructions.

* Intercultural communication and working in an intercultural environment;
* “Marginalization and communication - discussion on implementation of short and medium term activities”;
* Monitoring.

The following measures to solve problems in Roma community were taken:
* Appointment of a health mediator;
* Infrastructural check-up (missing channels) in the Roma neighbourhood;
* Cleaning of two garbage land fields;
* Campaign against drop-out;
* Health campaign.

Timeline Points

25 Oct 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 1
15 Nov 2015
Local Elections in Bulgaria - Round 2
20 Nov 2015
STEP 1 - BECOMING COMMITTED - Aytos joins the ROMACT programme
23 Nov 2015
STEP 2 - AGREEING ON NEEDS AND PLANS - First Joint Meeting between CAG and LA in Aytos
30 Nov 2015
Step 4- Funding, Implementing, Monitoring- Project proposal submitted for OP-SESG - Support for pre-school education of disadvantaged children
3 Oct 2016
Creation of the Taskforce
21 Dec 2016
Approval of an Internal Agreement between the Mayor of Aytos and CAG
27 Sep 2017
End of ROMACT Process
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