Improving public awareness for the role of the civil organization in the society

Project facts

Project promoter:
Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development(BG)
Project Number:
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:


The city of Varna is a community of about half a million people. The majority of the citizens show mistrust and even hostile attitude towards civil society organizations (CSOs). Local schools and universities rarely offer forms of learning addressing the civil society. Provoked by different opponents (economic, political), the citizens of Varna regard NGOs as agents of foreign ideas, factors hampering the development of the state, municipality, business and their own understanding of life. The media have rare and filtered coverage of the NGO work. The latter reasons have alienated citizens and result in low involvement rate in the civil sector structures. The project aims at raising the awareness of the citizens about the role of NGOs in society. We expect to achieve the following outcomes through the project: a system of online information tools to promote the work of CSOs, a centre for sharing and support of working civil practices; organization of thematic civil society campaigns to raise the awareness of citizens about the NGO role, annual forums held to present completed or ongoing civil activities. By carrying out all these activities for 33 months we will bring some dynamics in the civil society in Varna. As a result, we expect CSOs to have a more positive image. We expect non-formal groups of various issues to turn more often for cooperation and help to acting civil society organizations. At the end of the day we believe that the project will help us contribute to boosting the capacity and sustainability of the civil society sector in Varna.

Summary of project results

The main objective of the project aimed at improving citizens'' awareness of the role of NGOs in the community. The approach included: developing communication channels to share information; promoting the work of active CSOs; opening a hub to share and support working civic practices; organizing thematic civic campaigns to improve citizen awareness of the role of NGOs; holding annual forums to showcase completed or ongoing civic activities.

The OCESD team are convinced that because of the project the profile of CSOs has been raised. Through the videos, podcasts and articles produced, dozens of organizations, initiatives and case studies of organizations and informal civic groups were presented to the public. Through the six marketing campaigns on different topics, the project has generated a wider response and active citizen action on important issues, such as the use of disposable packaging, recycling of specific waste, including the promotion of campaigns to raise funds to finance work on environmental issues.
The unforeseen extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis made it necessary to adapt the proposed online communication tools to carry out some of the planned tasks, without compromising their quality. The traditionally held "Conference on Democracy" forums were broadcast via a streaming platform on the social channels (facebook and youtube) of the organization and partners, which gave an over-regional character to the events.

Thanks to the project, the organisation was able to enhance its capacity. The team has the necessary tools to continue to build on what has been achieved. The percentage of income from the developed online store and donations in the total budget of the organization has increased compared to that of the implemented projects, which is another step towards sustainability.

Information on the projects funded by the EEA and Norway Grants is provided by the Programme and Fund Operators in the Beneficiary States, who are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of this information.