How can museums contribute to human rights and democracy education of young people?

The Human Rights Academy, together with Partners Bulgaria Foundation, as the leading partner, and representatives from schools, municipality and museums in the Bulgarian municipalities Montana, Varshets, Blagoevgrad and Gotse Delchevof,  will work with schools and museums to increase the democratic competence and human rights understanding among young people.

The project will be implemented from October 2019 to February 2022 and aims to contribute to education in democracy and human rights education among children and young people. In cooperation with the Bulgarian partners and with the participation of representatives from the Norwegian Human Rights Network of National Museums, this unique model that brings local museums into human rights education will be introduced among Bulgarian stakeholders.

A large-scale study of opinion and understanding of young people on human rights is envisaged, as well as an assessment of existing educational practices in this regard. 

Online platform, seminars and a guide to human rights education in the work of museums 

As a result of this international cooperation, an online platform with educational materials and other resources for human rights education will be made available for the wider use, as well as a guide to human rights education in the work of museums and other key community institutions. A series of seminars on human rights will build capacity of teachers, municipal officers, youth facilitators and student councils from 4 pilot municipalities in the country – Montana, Varshets, Blagoevgrad and Gotse Delchev.

Youth initiatives will be implemented in the communities, thus giving the young people possibility to bring into practice what has been learned. Thus the knowledge gained by young people will be reinforced through local community actions and transformed into lasting attitudes, showing the development of a democratic culture.

The project “Increasing Democratic Competence and Understanding of Human Rights among Young People” is implemented by Partners Bulgaria Foundation and Human Rights Academy, Norway, with a financial support of 171,000 Euros provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism.


Projcet partners.  

From left: Project Manager Eugenia Khoroltseva, the Human Rights Academy and Director Daniela Kolarova, Partners Bulgaria Foundation  



- It is very important to highlight the problem of domestic and gender-based violence in Bulgaria, says Solveig Bergman from Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress (NKVTS), after presenting good practices for tackling these issues in Norway, at a workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria 2nd - 4th December.  

The workshop was a cooperative effort between Partners Bulgaria Foundation, Centre for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria) and the Human Rights Academy (Norway) and gathered a broad range of stakeholders from the Bulgarian society. Both representatives from the Agency for Social Assistance, General Directorate of the National Police as well as regional police directorates, were present. Also several crises centres providing support to victims of violence, as well as non-governmental organizations that work to prevent victim´s rights were present. Norwegian representatives were Solveig Bergman (NKVTS) and Lillian Hjorth, Director of the Human Rights Academy.

The workshop´s primary focus was to share information about the scale of domestic and gender based violence in Bulgaria and the need for improving existing support mechanisms for victims. An important aim was also to inform about the Norwegian experiences. Solveig Bergman lectured about the scope of domestic and gender based violence in Norway and informed about Norwegian support for victims of domestic violence, particularly the development of the crisis centre movement, while Lillian Hjorth, in her lecture, talked about domestic and gender-based violence in a human rights perspective.  

The aim of the workshop is to contribute to the development of knowledge and skills of professionals working with these issues in Bulgaria and as an input to the government in their policy making, awareness raising efforts and development of social service system for the victims.

The workshop is part of the “National Study on Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (DGBV) and Elaboration of a Victims Support Model (VSM)” project.

About the project

The project aims to contribute to the prevention of domestic and gender-based violence and to improve the situation of the victims in Bulgaria, with a specific focus on Roma women and girls. The activities, that will be implemented to achieve the objectives of the project include:

  • legal, institutional and policy analyses

  • quantitative and qualitative research

  • development and piloting of a victim support model

  • generating specific recommendations, advocacy and dissemination activities

The project is funded under Program BG 12 “Domestic and Gender-Based Violence” of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. Project initiator is the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The main target groups of the project are victims of domestic and gender-based violence in the country in general and those among Roma communities. Special attention will be paid to those housed in crisis centers. The respondents also include law enforcement and social care agencies, specialists in crisis centers, NGOs activists and central authorities.

The results of the research will be disseminated among a wide range of experts and stakeholders - police officers, social workers, specialists in child protection, specialists in crisis centers, local communities and other organizations working in the field.

Read more about the project here

The first report: National Study on Domestic and Gender Based Violence (DGBV) and Elaboration of a Victims Support Model (VSM). August 2015.


Below are some pictures from the workshop:

The Norwegian Ambassadeur to Bulgaria, Guro Vikør (second from right), visited the workshop. Here in conversation with Solveig Bergman and Lillian Hjorth.

Solveig Bergman from Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress (NKVTS).


The initial meeting. Representatives from Partners Bulgaria Foundation, Centre for the Study of Democracy and Human Rights Academy

The Human Rights Academy (HRA) is partner in an extensive project that aims at mapping the situation on domestic and gender-based violence in Bulgaria.  One of the goals is to develop tools to support the victims. The cooperating Bulgarian organisations are Partners Bulgaria Foundation and Center for the Study of Democracy. The first partner meeting took place in Sofia August 19th.. Representatives from HRA were Gunn Bjørnsen and Lillian Hjorth.

The project is funded by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants.

Awareness raising and victims' support

During the next ten months there will be conducted surveys with more than 500 respondents as well as qualitative interviews with victims, police-officers, social workers and others in Bulgaria. Tools for victims´ support and activities to raise awareness in the population and among stakeholders will be developed.

The Human Rights Academy´s role in the project is to report on Norwegian experiences, including lessons learned and good examples. We will contribute with developments taken place in legislation, policy making, institutional structures and research. We will also be responsible for conducting a seminar in Sofia in November 2015 about domestic and gender-based violence in a human rights perspective. Participants will be activists, social workers and police-officers.

The HRA will eventually communicate from the project´s results in newspapers, articles and journals.

Follow us on our website and Facebook on the development of the project.

Read more about the project in Bulgaria here.

From left: Gunn Bjørnsen, Chair of the Board ,Human Rights Academy and Daniela Kolarova, Director, Partners Bulgaria Foundation

Sofia, Bulgaria





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