General Information
ROMACT Cycle: 
Reinforced process
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Kostadin Koev
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Tanya Krasteva - Junior expert "Humanitarian and social activities"
Tsonko Tsonev and Yuksel Yasharov
Total population: 
32 951
National census 2021
Roma living in the Municipality: 
2 022
Description of the Municipality: 

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Velingrad Municipality is located in southwestern Bulgaria and is part of Pazardzhik Province. Velingrad town administrates 21 settlements. 
According to official data, the Roma population consists of 5% of the total population in the municipality. However, according to municipal sources, the Roma population is about 4 600 people. They live in separate neighborhoods and are concentrated in Velingrad and Draginovo.

Some of the main problems Roma are faced with are:
• Illegal houses;
• High migration rate to western European countries;
• High unemployment rate;
• High level of discrimination against Roma;
• Absence of water supply network in parts of the Roma neighborhoods;
• Unregulated landfills;
• High rate of population without health insurance.

The ROMACT Process

ROMACT started in March 2020 with the signature of the Letter of agreement.

The Taskforce for Roma inclusion was created following Mayor's approval in September 2020. 

The Municipal Action Plan for Roma inclusion was adopted by the Local Council in March 2021.

As of July 2022, ROMACT process is reinforced in Velingrad and a new agreement was signed by the Mayor.

The Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following project :
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.

* "Socio-economic integration of vulnerable groups and integrated measures to improve access to education" - Funded by the OPHRD&OPSEIG.
Budget: 750 000 euros
Status: approved

Trainings provided by ROMACT experts :

Community Action Groups (CAG):
* Role and functions of an NGO;
* Role and functions of local authorities and advocacy;
* Participation in the public discussion: Budget 2021 and Plan for integrated development of the municipality 2021-2027;
* Registering an NGO;
* Participation of CAG members in the municipal budget process;
Community Survey;
Data collection and preparation of the Community needs assessment;
Understand and Participate in CLLD strategies;
Development of a Plan for integrated develoment of municipality - PIRO;
Achieving the Community Action Group sustainability through establishing and developing a civil society organisation.

Local Authorities (LA):
* Opportunities under the new Erasmus+ Program (2021-2027) in the School Education sector
* Intercultural training (for pedagoges);
* Including priorities and measures for Roma communities in the Integrated stratedies for territorial development;
* Participation in a public consultation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Bulgaria;
Information on procedure BG05SFPR002-2.003: “Future for the children” in Bulgaria;
Opportunities under the new Erasmus+ Program (2021-2027) in the School Education sector.

LA and CAG : 
Consultations with LA and CAG on the establishment of neighbourhood councils.

Taskforce :
* Increasing the capacity of Taskforce for team work;
* National programs 2021 - 2027 funded by the EU structural and cohesion funds in support of municipal policies for social inclusion.

ROMACT Small Grants Scheme :
ROMACT offers small grants scheme to support the efforts of the municipalities and Community Action Groups to respond together to the needs of the most vulnerable and to multiply the good practices across ROMACT municipalities.
Under the scheme of small grants, the following projects were supported by ROMACT between May 2020 - March 2021:
Initiative to counter COVID19 pandemic – Municipality of Velingrad
ROMACT supported the municipality with 3569 €, reaching 280 people with dire financial status from Roma community. The project provided essential food supplies for the families most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Volunteers from the community took part in the implementation of the project and actively assisted with the distribution of the food packages.

A Brighter Future – Municipality of Velingrad
ROMACT supported the municipality with 4923 € to install streetlights in the Asphaltova Baza and Anezitsa neighborhoods. The project improved the living conditions of the neighbourhoods where around 4500 Roma community reside in poor conditions. Streets lights provided a safer environment for children returning from school during winter and reduced petty crimes in the neighbourhood.

Together for every child – Georgi Benkovski Primary School
ROMACT supported the school with 3855 €, reaching 24 students with dire financial situation. The project provided the students with tablet PCs and internet services for one year to ensure Roma children has access to online education portals during the pandemic. The implementation of the activity was received by the community extremely positively and led to a significant inclusion of students in the online learning  process.

Timeline Points

25 Mar 2020
Step 1- Becoming Committed- Signature of the letter of agreement
29 Sep 2020
Creation of the Municipal Taskforce for Roma Inclusion
23 May 2021
Municipality Action Plan for Roma Inclusion was adopted by Local Council
31 Dec 2021
End of ROMACT Process
6 Jul 2022
Start of ROMACT reinforced process with the signature of a new letter of agreement
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