"Community Opposition of Disastrous Events" Project

DESCRIPTION

General objective of the project:

To increase local capacity in rural areas of Romania-Bulgaria birder region for disasters’ prevention and mitigation trough development of extended volunteer units.

The implementation period: February 2016 - January 2018

Envisaged activities

1.Project promotion (month 2-3)

The reason of implementation of this activity is to attract participation from side of target groups and of local communities in rural areas of Romanian-Bulgarian border region (Dolj county Romania, Vidin and Montana districts Bulgaria). Project aims to create a model for prepared and safe communities, developing of the first place their human capacity. This means that we plan to include a limited number of rural municipalities (10 per country, 20 total), but selected on the base of their needs and motivation. Regardless of the results of pre-project feasibility studies, this activity is important, due to the dynamic political situation (e.g. upcoming local elections in Bulgaria) and also for creation of the competitive environment, necessary for the selection process. In other side this will make the project more transparent and will contribute to its publicity.

During the promotional period, two PR experts will visit 30 communities (15 from Romania, 15 from Bulgaria) and organize a presentation of the project before project target groups – its aims, activities, expected results. We expected participation of 450 local stakeholders, experts and volunteers in these one-day events (225 RO, 225 BG). The promotional materials also will be distributed – a leaflet about the project, project poster and a roll-up banner (in Romanian and Bulgarian languages).

2. Implementation of Comparative Research (month 3-4)

The reasons and targets of implementation of this activity are:

  • the project team and other project’s experts to be familiar with current situation in participating countries and target communities in field of civil protection and risk management, including creation and use of voluntary units; the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for its further development;
  • to compare preparedness of local communities from both countries for disasters, common hazards, available voluntary structures, additional human resources, legislative obligations and limitations, etc., to ensure most effective peer strategy of cross-border interaction;
  • to make needs assessment for improvement of local capacity to meet better the European and national policies’ requirements for creation of safety and disaster resilient communities.

The product of the research will be a consolidated report about mentioned above targets – current situation and identified needs in participating countries/communities for capacity building for civil protection and disasters risk management (with a focus on preparation of extended voluntary units).

The research will be done in each participating country by own researcher/s, using common methodology, developed by an experienced research leader. It will combine desk research (of laws and other documents) and field work. The target respondents can be local authorities, responsible institutions and experts in disaster prevention/mitigation on place, local civil society organizations, social services’ providers, volunteer structures, other relevant experts (e.g. psychologists, social workers, medical specialists, etc). The methods of work can be: descriptions, survey by questionnaires and interviews, focus groups, overview of publications and statistics, case studies, etc. Each part will produce country information set, which translated in English will be consolidated and analyzed by the research leader in a report. This final product will consist also descriptions of prevention and risk management systems used in every country, because this can be important in cases of cross-border actions.

The whole process of research will require on-line collaboration and cooperative work. The final report will be translated in Bulgarian and Romanian.

3. First CODE meeting of experts (month 5, Romania)

The first CODE international experts’ meeting will aims to:

  • Adopt the report of the Comparative Research implemented;
  • Develop the Term of Reference (TOR) for creation of common Methodology Set for preparation of local human resources for risk prevention.

It will be necessary to evaluate and complement the research and its conclusions, which will be basis for further development of methodical guidelines and educational programmes (see A4). The participants in the meeting will be 20 experts in risk prevention/mitigation (10 per country), such as for example local authorities, officers from public institutions with key competencies in risk management situations and their local bodies, leaders of volunteer units, Red Cross representatives, and research team. The experts will be selected by the partners with the help of local authorities and other responsible institutions. The meeting will take 3 days and will be located in Romania. It  The main result will be the elaborated TOR for Methodology Set, but it will be also opportunity for relevant experts to know each other, to be introduced with warring and risk management system of neighbor country, to share the experience and good practices of voluntary participation, to discuss common problems and solutions. 

4. Methodical Set elaboration (month 6-8)

The Methodology set will be a product, based on:

  • Needs assessments of concrete target communities;
  • Available resources, opportunities and limitations in them;
  • Legislative requirements in disaster risk prevention and management;
  • Best practices available in participating countries and abroad, etc.

It will be developed in a collaborative way by external methodical experts with relevant experience and expertise under the supervision of the methodical leader, who will be responsible for whole process, its compliance with TOR (see activity 3), and for the final product. The experts will work on the methodology using on-line tools for collaboration. They will follow the recommendations of the forum, apply their own expertise and experience/best practices of relevant institutions from both countries (identified in the Research analyses), etc. The set will consist of methodical guidelines, educational/training programmes and materials. The concrete content will be chosen from the experts on the base of TOR, but for example we can mention: fire protection, rescue activities, first aid, psychological support, etc. It is important to mention, that idea is not just to make a compilation of existing programmes used in Bulgaria and Romania, but to create one supplemented product, which can be used for advanced (not only basic) training and for an extended target group of volunteers. This final product will be consolidated by the methodical leader and presented before next CODE meeting of experts (see activity 5).

5. Second CODE meeting of experts (month 9, Bulgaria)

The Second CODE international experts’ meeting will aims to adopt the draft version of Methodology Set for preparation of local human resources for risk prevention.

It will be necessary to evaluate and give recommendations for complement/edition (if needed) of the elaborated product. The participants in the meeting will be 20 experts in risk prevention/mitigation (10 per country), such as for example local authorities, officers from public institutions with key competencies in risk management situations and their local bodies, leaders of volunteer units, Red Cross representatives, as well as methodical experts. The main part of experts will be the same from the previous international meeting (A4), but it is possible to have also new members of this pool, identified during the work on methodical materials. This will give opportunity to increase experts’ potential of the group, in same time keeping the focus on TOR adopted on first CODE meeting.

The meeting will take 3 days and will be located in Vidin county, Bulgaria. The main result will be a Methodical set prepared for use and testing, but it will be one more opportunity for specialists to share the experience and good practices, to discuss common problems and solutions. 

6. Web-site development and maintenance (month 3 – 24)

The CODE web-site will be a virtual tool which targets are:

  • To provide access to methodical materials created under the project and other relevant resources for preparation of volunteers and other specialists from target communities and wider for disaster risk management;
  • To offer a place for experts and volunteers, nationally and internationally, to share experience and expertise during the project implementation and after it;
  • To disseminate the project results.

During the project implementation, the site will be also used for project management purposes - to support communication between partners, between experts, to keep "memory" of the project progress, to offer access to evaluation questioners and other important documentary forms, to provide necessary level of transparency and to promote the project, etc. In this way the web-site will practically incorporate a Community of Practice (CoP) to increase collaborative work, to share members’ experience.

The concrete content and design of the site will be elaborated during project implementation. The site will be created it English, Romanian and Bulgarian languages. All project products will be available for free downloading.

For design and programming (technical) work for creation of the site will be responsible FYC, but other partners and their experts will participate in whole process, including testing and evaluation.

7. Training sessions (month 8 – 20)

This is the key activity in the project. The aim is to provide adequate training of the project’s target groups – local administration, volunteer units and other relevant specialists, such as for example psychologists and social workers, who are leaving of the territory of the concrete community. The methodology of the training session will be based on the previously produced Methodology set. In this way it will be also tested and evaluated. The training will also include how to use the project’s web-site for further education and communication inside the network.

We plan to implement next training sessions:

  • 40 two days long sessions for volunteer units (20 in Romania, 20 in Bulgaria);
  • 6 two days long sessions for local administration representatives (3 in Romania, 3 in Bulgaria);
  • 6 two days long sessions for social workers from local social services and other relevant specialists (3 in Romania, 3 in Bulgaria);
  • 2 two days long sessions for psychologists (one in Romania, one in Bulgaria). Note: In case that there are not enough such specialists in target communities, other relevant will be included, as well as from other settlements in border region, to ensure cost effectiveness of the training.

The total number of trained persons is expected to be 480 (240 from Romania, 240 from Bulgaria). The Bulgarian Red Cross and Red Cross – Dolj will implement a part of training (9 for each), which is motivated with its specialization (e.g. first aid, social work, psychological assistance). The majority of training sessions will be on place, in the concrete community, but in some cases two or more municipalities can be combined in order to have better costs effectiveness. The trainers will be external experts with relevant qualification and experience. Concrete themes of the sessions will be chosen on the base of Joint methodology and specific local needs, just for example we can mention: actions in case of forest fires, floods, earthquake, blowing snow, radioactive contamination, etc. Every session will finish with short examination test. The result of the training sessions will be 20 local communities better prepared for disaster events (10 In Romania, 10 in Bulgaria).

8. Joint practical exercises (month 20-22)

The culmination activity in the project will be two joint practical exercises (one in Romania, one in Bulgaria). The aims of exercises will be:

  • To train representatives of target groups practically, using specialized training facilities for disaster protection/mitigation;
  • To test a joint action of volunteers from both countries, in situation of international (cross-border) support;
  • To report, demonstrate and promote project achievements before experts’ community and general public.

Every exercise will take two days and will include a set of practical simulations in cases of different disaster events, based on previously developed Methodical set. The place of the exercise will be the specialized practical training centres of public institutions, responsible for disaster protection, on the territory of border region (for example there are such centres in Dolj and Montana). In every training will take participation 30 representatives of extended volunteer units (15 from Romania, 15 from Bulgaria), chosen by the partners on base of motivation and achievements during the training sessions. The representatives of responsible Ministries and institutions from both countries will be invited, as well as journalists.

9. Material provision of education and network (month 5-20)

This activity aims to:

  • Contribute to the quality of education of the voluntary units – the purchased equipment will be used during the training sessions and practical exercises (some of equipment need education to be used – e.g. radio stations, first aid set, etc.);
  • Secure the volunteer units with minimal equipment, necessary for their operation in case of emergency;
  • Secure the methodical centres (including Red Cross branches in CBC area) with equipment, necessary for project implementation, communication and provision of services during the project and after its end.

We have information, that big part of created volunteer units in the target area has not any proper equipment for disaster protection (such as for example radio stations, first aid sets, etc.). The lack of this equipment makes them ineffective in case of emergency. The project budget will try to support the units in this direction with the most needed. All purchased for them goods will be given to the units for use during the project and after its end.

As we explained in section 2.6.2 below, Vasilada association and Free Youth centre created two methodical centres for social volunteering under previous Romania-Bulgaria CBC project. The CODE initiative will upgrade the centres and will expand their functions. In the same way will be equipment Red Cross branches in Vidin and Dolj, which will be also part of the network.

10. Conclusion forum (month 23)

The reasons to include the activity in the project and its role in this context are:

  • To evaluate the project results, including here used methodologies and approaches, to measure the indicators, etc.;
  • To report and inform the experts’ community and general public about project achievements and lesion learned;
  • To disseminate the achievements in order to multiplicity the project idea and to expand the network in the future;
  • To make conclusions and, if necessary, recommendations to responsible institution in field of risk management;
  • To discuss a strategy for sustainability, etc.

The Conclusion forum will take two days in Romania and will collect 40 participants (20 from Romania and 20 from Bulgaria) – as participants in the project (from direct beneficiaries, but also methodical experts, trainers, etc), as well as guests from public institutions responsible for disaster protection, experts, etc. Local, regional and national media will be also invited to popularize the event.

11. Publications (month 23-24)

The activity aims to disseminate project achievements and result to specialized expert community, as well as to report them to the whole society in the both countries. For these purposes two publications will be prepared and distributed:

  • A Collection with methodical materials from the project – an essential part of tested Methodical set, for the expert community (guidelines, recommendations, training programs, volunteers’ motivation tips, successful stories or learned lesions, etc.);
  • A brochure ("layman’s report") – popular explanation about project’s achievements with text and photos for general public.

Both publications will be issued in Romanian and Bulgarian languages. They will be available for free download from project web site as well (the Collection also in a e-book version).

12. Information and publicity (month 1-24)

This constant activity will ensure necessary level of publicity and transparency of the project. It will be permanent and will cover whole project duration. The activity will include:

  • Informing the mass media about all important public events (press releases, invitations, interviews);
  • Two press conferences in every country (in the beginning and in the end of the project) – to announce the idea and to report the project results;
  • Design, print and distribution of promotion materials, such as pens, folders, leaflets, posters, roll-ups, as already described under activates “Promotion”, “CODE meetings”, “Training sessions”, etc. for direct project beneficiaries and target communities;
  • Design, print and distribution of project products, such as a Collection with methodical materials and a brochure for general public, as already described under activity “Publications”;
  • Design, publication and maintenance of a network web-site in English, Bulgarian and Romanian language for project participants and other interested worldwide with project description, news section, free access to project products, etc.;
  • A special activity in the beginning of the project to attract participation in target area – “Promotion”, which will inform local stakeholders and communities, for which PR experts will be hired.

The roll-up banner will be used in every public event – training, international meetings, joint exercises, closing forum, etc. to inform the participants and media about project and the programme, etc.

13. Project management (month 1 – 24)

The organization of project implementation of leading organization and the partners will include: Detailed plan of activities, Project procurement plan for each partner (if applicable); Project visualization and a plan for publicity and transparency; Monitoring procedures; Scheme for payments and cash flow; Risk management plan; Dissemination plan; Sustainability strategy; Key experts profiles/job descriptions, procedures for nomination and selection of participants, etc. The application of adopted documents will be controlled by: three months written reports system - each partner will report its activities, results, spent funds, problems faced, etc; On-line meetings - for discussion of problems and planning; Management meetings – min. six times during the project; Other ways in emergency cases - by phone, e-mail, etc.

The project activities will be organized by project management teams of Vasilada association and Free Youth Centre and will be supported by Bulgarian Red Cross. The activities and results will be monitored through: Monitoring of the all project events by country coordinators and project manager (leading partner); Monitoring of development of all intellectual products (research report, Methodology set); Intermediate and final evaluation of the project implementation and result on the base of indicators - during project reporting.

The project staff will participate in all important events under the project (international meetings, training, practical exercises, etc.) in order to secure organization and monitoring. During the project implementation 8 management meeting will be organized – 4 in Romania and 4 in Bulgaria, approximately once every 3 months.

Results and products expected:

  • joint evaluation of needs and opportunities for better preparation of volunteer resources implemented;
  • joint methodology for education of volunteers and other relevant experts developed;
  • 200 volunteers from volunteer units trained and prepared for (joint) actions;
  • 120 local administrations officers prepared for risk management;
  • 160 relevant local experts involved as an additional resource and educated;
  • 20 local communities better prepared for disaster events’ opposition.

HOW TO BE INVOLVED?

Involvment of communities and volunteer units will happen on a competitive basis, as considered:

  • Motivation of participation;
  • Potential for sustainability.

For more detailed information about the project and participation in it, please contact us (section Contact on the website).

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