America for Bulgaria Foundation

CAP Communication Awards – 2013

CAP Communication Awards – 2013

Innovative communication Winners 2013





The Land Programme was initiated in 1997 and went through three phases: Pilot phase; Institutional development; and Establishment of the Land Source of Income Foundation.
In December 1997 C.E.G.A. Foundation, with the consulting assistance of the Institute for Market Economy, started to work on the “Land – Source of Income”  Programme, where the following priorities were defined:

  • Providing access to land for landless Roma families who earn their living through agriculture;
  • Helping Roma families develop practical skills for effective agricultural activities by providing on-site consultations and trainings;
  • Providing access to financial resources for agricultural operating capital.

The development and implementation of the programme went through the following stages:

Pilot phase (1997 – 1999)

The pilot phase lasted 30 months, and ended in June 2000. A financial scheme for providing working capital to Roma families was initially made available in two villages in the Plovdiv District. Because of the pre-existing legal limitations, the financing was done in the form of a donation, provided that the granted funds were paid back to a specially dedicated Fund for Regional Development.

During the first year of the pilot phase, the repayment rate in the village of Chalukovi reached 62%. Only a small share (14%) of the provided funds were paid back in the village of Boretz, thus resulting in the termination of the programme in that village. During the second and the third year of the programme, only Roma families from the village of Chalukovi were eligible to continue.

First Stage (2000 – 2003) “Setting up the main structural parts”

In September 2000 the Zemya (Land) Association was set up including 7 partners from the village of Chalukovi. Its main goal was to implement a financial scheme for purchasing private land by landless Roma families.

As a business entity the Zemya Association has a few important advantages: it is a legitimate tool for implementing micro-crediting schemes; it uses various mechanisms to guarantee the given loans; it has a great potential for motivating the business initiative of the partners. 

The purchases are made according to a lease scheme, where the buyer provides 20% of the price as his own financial contribution, the annual interest is 6% the term of the loan is maximum 5 years.

In September 2000 an Agro-information Centre (AIC) was set up in Plovdiv to provide a wide range of consulting services, specialized information, organizes trainings and agrotechnical consulting through on-the-spot visits. The Agro-info Centre provides information, technical and legal advice to landless families willing to take part in the process of gaining ownership on land.  The activities of AIC cover the territory of 5 municipalities in Plovdiv region. Meetings were held with the mayors in relation to the Ordinance for gaining ownership on land and 5,000 information leaflets were circulated among the population to bring awareness and provide information on the topic. Through the meetings the team of LSoI Foundation received data about 1,000 Roma families from 16 villages who were interested in possessing land. The good partners’ interaction between LSoI Foundation and the municipal administrations resulted in a prompt decision about which part of the municipal land to be made available to landless and poor families.

In January 2001 nine student initiatives started in the technical high schools of agriculture in the towns of Peroushtitsa, Kouklen and Sadovo. They involved 250 young people who studied viticulture, horticulture, apiculture, rabbit and pigeon-breeding. The participants in the initiatives visited leading agricultural and animal farms around the country and monitored their good practices. During the next three years new student initiatives were generated and carried out in those three high schools. They were targeted at building the basis for the setting up of model farms for efficient agriculture and animal breeding.

In 2002 our team contacted five Bulgarian organizations dealing with the problems of landless and poor families. The working meeting and trainings organized set the beginning of joint actions for lobbying in front of state and municipal bodies and disseminating the information about the land ownership gaining process and procedure.

Towards wide dissemination of the results the following actions were taken:

  • 1500 brochures entitled On Roma, Agriculture and Integration were printed. They presented the result of our work on the Land – Source of Income Programme
  • The Programme was presented as a good practice for creating income through agriculture in the publication Avoiding the Dependency Trap – a regional report on the status of Roma people in Central and Eastern Europe – publication of the UN Development Programme in 2003.
  • A model for efficient support of entrepreneurship initiatives was developed  for vulnerable families willing to start their own business. It summarizes the experience gained in the work with landless Roma families. The model is applicable both in rural and urban areas of the country.

Second Stage (2003 – 2007) “Institutionalization”

Land Source of Income Foundation (LSoI Foundation) was registered in July 2003 in Plovdiv as a non-profit legal entity for carrying out activities for community benefit. The activities of the Foundation are in the framework of the already developed programme entitled Land – Source of Income. The LSoI Foundation provides access to information, consulting services, training, It also provides access to resources through its two main organizational units – the already existing Agro-Info Centre and the newly registered Land and Income Ltd (Zemya i dohodi EOOD). 

Third Stage (2007 – 2011) “European Funds as a Tool for Programme Development”

During this stage the LSoI Foundation developed and implemented two projects:

– “Providing access to professional education and training of Roma families dealing with agricultural activities”, financed by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Bulgaria through the Human Resources Development Operational Programme;

– SUNRISE “Rising teacher and trainer motivation and skills for a knowledge-based society” ……

In this period the participants in the Land – Source of Income Programme – who were willing to apply and get financing under the measures of the Rural Development Operational Programme – were efficiently consulted by our team, which resulted in four developed, approved and financed projects: 

– under measure 112 “Setting up farms by young farmers” – three applicants;

– under measure 141 “Support of semi-market farms” – one applicant.

Fourth Stage (2011 – 2013) “Dissemination of experience”

At this stage LSoI Foundation continued implementing the actions under the project Roma Families Integration through Business Initiatives which began in May 2010 in partnership with America for Bulgaria Foundation. 

The main goal of the project is to support Roma families in generating income and employment. The project has two components: 

  •  further extending the activities in Plovdiv region;
  •  supporting organizations from other regions of Bulgaria to implement the model developed by LSoI Foundation.