LEAD International – the most well established network of leaders for sustainable development in the world – for the first time realized a “sustainability challenge” in Eastern Europe at the invitation of the Ideas Factory. The international event was a unique opportunity for a new way of interaction between people from different sectors with experience and interest in the complex topic “sustainable development”. The area that was chosen as sufficiently problematic was “Bulgarian Energetics” or an aspirationally more sustainable energy mix for our country, decentralization and elimination of monopolies and corruption. After a successful brain-storming of the interdisciplinary team that ended with World Cafe-event in British Council and exploration of the Sofia mysteries … here we are again with great news:
LEAD chose Bulgaria and Ideas Factory to host the Pan-European meeting “Leadership for Sustainability in Urban Development” in April 2013.

WHEN: 13 – 17.10.2012

WHERE: Sofia


Ideas Factory hosted a meeting of the South East European Youth Network (SEEYN). Apart from creating pleasant conditions for sharing Albanian Skanderbeg Cognac and Serbian “lozovaca”, the meeting made three things clear:

First – almost all of the participants in the Balkan Network have managed to establish volunteer or youth cultural center. Why hasn’t this happened in Bulgaria, as it has in Serbia, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia?

Second – European funding needs democratization for countries like ours, where youth organizations don’t have the administrative and financial capacity to comply with the current requirements such as “EUR 300 000 personal contribution” (Yeah, right!).

Oh, and third – Prici srbski da te bio celi svijat razumje!

Otherwise, our participation in the network is an extremely valuable resource for all those within the network of the Factory that have the opportunity to travel around the Balkans and receive training in various topics. We will gladly direct you towards awesome organizations for quality volunteering throughout the PeninsulA.

WHEN: 07 – 09.12.2012

WHERE: Plovdiv


We can’t wait to tell you what the Ideas Factory was involved in…
We are proud to be partners with the leading organization COPADE on the project “PRICE” – Promoting Responsible Investment and Commerce in Europe.
PRICE is a project about the interaction between Ethical financing and Fair trade. The project is encouraging the Fair Trade movement and the ethical finance institutions to work together – on one handthe Fair trade to use the ethical finance services in their everyday financial needs, and on the other to stimulate the ethical financial institutions to invest in organizations engaged in fair trade. PRICE launched in 2013 and involves 10 partners from 9 countries – AGICES, Equação, Fair Trade Hellas, The Cultural Foundation for Ethical Responsability (FCRE), KoperattivaKummerċĠust, PFTA, Protect the Future, The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Ideas Factory.
The aimis to connect the ethical financing with the fair trade on a European level and to introduce them in Bulgaria so we can learn more about these topics and find out how to apply them.

A fine example of this model is Banca Popolare Etica –, the first ever bank in Europe that seeks real change, creating and implementing models of ethical finance and fair trade in Europe, Central America, Asia and Africa. The Bank’s policy is determined by its 37,000 members who decide how to use the finances of the bank (their savings and investments) in order to have a positive impact on the society as a whole – social entrepreneurial initiatives, green and cultural start-ups, urban cooperatives, etc., that usually other “normal” banks wouldn’t pay any attention to.

Ideas Factory organized the first event in Bulgaria aiming to create alternative ethical funding mechanisms, independent from the existing financial institutions.

On the 16th of June webrought together visionaries and practitioners from Bulgaria and Europe, social and green entrepreneurs, consumers, food and parental co-operatives, activists, financiers and economists interested in the possibility of creating an ethical financial instrument in Bulgaria.
Together we started the debate on the need to launch the instruments of ethical finance in the context of the need to raise interest in Fair & Domestic Trade in Bulgaria.

BancaEticais a unique example of a started as a grassroots initiative bank, as a result of the efforts to avoid the corrupt Italian banking system. Today the bank has 37 000 members – all of them gather at an annual General meeting and decide the direction of development of the bank. They make Banca Etica a unique example of civic participation, responsibility and an instrument giving independence of small projects in the community’s favor.

Dance with me!

„Dance with Me“ is one of the freshest inspirations of Ideas Factory – a 10-day training course for youth workers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Israel, Greece, Georgia and the Netherlands, who will explore the opportunities to use contemporary dance as innovative learner-centered approach in activities involving youth.

It is a training course on beginner level in contemporary dance and performance-creation, combined with action-based coaching, video and team coaching to facilitate group work in performance creation. 80-90% of the program is pure practicing and improvement, consisting of 8-10 hours of physical movement a day. Professional instruction and coaching is provided by trainers from the European network called the International Synergy Group, who will be assisteb by a team of volunteers.

The purpose of the training is to explore contemporary dance as a tool in youth work by personal experience, practice and physical training. The training offers a practical, easy to follow process promoting social inclusion, healthy lifestyle and active European citizenship on individual and community level. Main focus is development of creativity and entrepreneurial skills.

The training is directed to people, who work with youth groups and use methods of non-formal education, or are considering to do so as a career option as professional or as volunteer – e.g. in community work, cultural work, sports, dance, theatre, circus, art, creative expression, youth work or any other form of education.

11-20 June,


EU flag-Erasmus+_vect_POS The project is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

The results from this training course are classified in the following way:

Data, based on the analysis of the feedback forms and reports from the course participants, filled in online:
– Skills, attitudes and competences which the participants cultivated during the course: 1) contemporary dance techniques, 2) more responsible attitude towards their own health, 3) non-verbal communication and expression, 4) creative and entrepreneurial approaches and attitudes, 5) inclusion attitude, cultural awareness, tolerance, team work etc.

– Increased self-confidence, creativity and proactiveness.

Data, based on the collaboration with partner organizations on local and international level:
– consequential “Dance with me ”project offer, which draws the partners from this project into a new one, which will be in Israel and Hungary;

– the participants gained knowledge, experience, skills and tools to bring dance and physical movement in group activities. They used it to create shows which they performed in front of the local community;

– new partnership with the chitalishte (creative community hub) of Karlovo “Vasil Levski – 1861”. We were invited to collaborate with them in future youth projects.

– new partnerships with the local authorities and institutions – Karlovo Municipality, Center for people with intellectual disabilities in Bania, Bania Municipality and Kliment village, local NGOs.

Visible results
– The participants and the local youth had a close interaction which brought to the process of informal learning and to the Erasmus+ mobility additional value (11 students and 5 teachers participated in the workshop at “Hr. and Evl. Georgiev” School; 8-10 children frequently spent time with our group during the outdoor session in the yard near the chitalishte; 85-100 people who were passing around during the outdoor session stopped by, talked to us or just observed; there’s also a multitude of people who we couldn’t register);

– – a final video which shows the multiformity of the training course – from indoor work to open air shows in front of the local in 3 different towns and villages with socially diverse audiences.

– – this is a video of a free contact improvisation workshop in park in Riga, Latvia organized by participants from “Dance with me” in Karlovo (from Latvia and Bulgaria)

– A new methodology for using contemporary dance in work with youth was introduced – 29 youth workers from 9 countries (2 trainers, 5 fascilitators and 22 participants)

– There were 21 underprivileged participants: unemployed, with low income, from conflict regions, belonging to a minority, out of the educational system, from broken families etc.

– 4-hour workshop for Bulgarian national dances led by 4 professional dancers from Karlovo.

– 3-day training with 12 school children organized by one of the Georgian participants. They did a flashmob with other 45-50 young people and a show in front of 180-200 people. – video from a training course during which visually impaired children worked together with socially underprivileged children using elements from “Dance with me” course in Karlovo. The place is Latvia and the participants – from Latvia, Finland and Russia.