The foundation C.E.G.A – Creating Effective Grassroots Alternatives was registered in 1995 and works for sustainable democratic development of marginalized communities resting trough stimulating citizens’ participation in solving locally significant problems.
C.E.G.A. Foundation works on specific programs funded by the Dutch organization for international development and cooperation NOVIB, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund, the PHARE program, the MATRA program of the Dutch government.
C.E.G.A supports civil initiatives and organizations by: 1. Providing consulting, access to information and assistance in fundraising; 2. Disseminating information on effective democratic practices; 3. Organizing and taking part in coalitions and public campaigns regarding specific problems.
The basic target groups are the Roma communities and young people of all ethnic groups .Other target groups are the media, other non-government organizations, central and local institutions, the public.
C.E.G.A.’s long-term priority is the equal access to development for the marginalized communities and groups.
Our priorities are education and income generation as critical issues regarding the sustainability of the attempts at access to development:
• We view education as access to the various levels of the educational system and combating the threat of lasting illiteracy;
• Regarding income generation, we stress the continuation of the development of new opportunities for creating sources of income in rural areas by means of alternative practices in the field of agriculture, as well as in urban areas – through pilot practices of establishing a Centre for Development and Support of Small Family Business.
To support the integration of marginalized communities and stimulate them to participate in the local decision making process, C.E.G.A. has to work at three levels:
1. Establishing and circulating locally practices for solving the problems of communities in an unprivileged situation. C.E.G.A. helped develop the capacity of over 50 local organizations using an integrated development approach – access to education, pilot programs for income generation, improved access to services. C.E.G.A supports this process by providing the organizations with a series of practice-oriented training programs aiming at responding to the specific needs of the local community through the implementation of specific initiatives.
2. Linking the already established initiative groups and civil organizations in a common experience exchange network, joint learning and extracting of common practices to serve as alternatives in advocacy campaigns for changing inefficient local/national policies. C.E.G.A supported the establishment of the youth network Youth in Action and of two platforms. The platform Different Together is a union of civil organizations and pursues sustainable development of the following communities in an unprivileged situation: minorities, young people and children inrisk. The platform Bulgarian Official Development Assistance is a union of non-government organizations which is currently being established, and which is to be a fully-fledged partner of the Bulgarian government in implementing the Official Development Assistance.
3. The established efficient practices and skills on local level will be a basis for a change of policies and social prepossessions on a national scale. C.E.G.A’s approach links the local civil level with the national one. Thus the work pursuing the development of a civic awareness and leadership in the community serves as a basis for effective advocacy and public campaigns.
Women and young people cross all the programs and projects of C.E.G.A.