National Participation Day in Sofia: The Art of Connecting

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National Participation Day in Sofia: The Art of Connecting

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…
John Donne

The Art of Connecting or how and why we gather together for a common goal or initiative has been the focus of the National Participation Day held on 16-17 May in Sofia, organized by the Citizen Participation Forum and the Danube Civil Society Forum. The partnership has put forward a two-day event with around 70 civil society organisations from Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania.

The Participation day presented an opportunity for all participants to discuss the aspects of networking, the challenges and successful approaches. Speakers at the conference presented various initiatives and models of cooperation that has proven essential in different communities. Teach for Bulgaria, Tuk-tam, the European Citizen Action Service, the National Youth Forum, Multi-Kulti Collective, the Fulbright Commission, Reach for Change Bulgaria, Vienna municipality and the Danube Civil Society Forum shared their experience in how they manage to engage different stakeholders on grassroot, national, macro-regional and EU level.

The event opened a space for communicating the values that shape the bedrock of collaboration. Interactive exercises and discussions outlined common goals and chances for exercising impact. The macro-regional framework of cooperation gives a new model for development and inclusion of civil society organisations.
The National Participation day opened a space for discussions about how we work together. The common theme in all interventions was that “without working together on all levels – EU, macro-regional, national, local, we cannot hope for a meaningful impact”. The shared stories of the speakers were inspirational and authentic, finding points of intersection among all participants.

A special slot has been devoted to “Citizen Dialogues”, where representatives of national and local authorities took part and discussed the effective ways of public dialogue and partnership with the civil society organisations.
The participants shared new ideas for future cooperation and common projects. They also underlined the importance of such Participation Days in strengthening networking and improving citizen participation.

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