Sustainable Tools

The International Training Course “Sustainable tools” – part of EuroMed’s “Youth in Action” program, was held from 11th till 17th June, 2010 along the banks of Shiroka Polyana Dam. The purpose of the project was to provide people working with youths from the Mediterranean region with means, tools and methods for work on issues related to sustainable development, responsible consumption, biodiversity, fair trade, environmental ethics, etc.
The training course was attended by 22 people from 11 European and Mediterranean countries (Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan). The training encouraged youth workers to spread the results of the project in their community and among their “students”. As part of the training program a feeder for cloven-hoofed animals was built in hunting reserve “Shiroka Polyana” with the help of all participants and a model of an open lesson on the topic of sustainable development was developed in cooperation with school’s nature lovers club in Velingrad. As a result over 40% of the participants have taken part or have initiated projects or activities inspired by the training.

PURPOSE: To provide youth leaders with tools and methods for work on issues related to sustainable development in the context of learning through experience: – responsible consumption, biodiversity, fair trade, environmental ethics.

TEAM: Sasha Vitanova, Zhelyazko Mechkov, Ioannina Taneva, Evgeni Monov;

WHEN: 11 – 17 June 2010

WHERE: Shiroka Polyana Dam.

Meet for change/Creative drink

MEET 4 CHANGE / CREATIVE DRINK is a brand new format that has been invented and implemented by Ideas Factory since 2012. This is our series of Networking events to create a space for mixing and interaction between groups that usually don’t get to meet each other. Thus people who are crazy about facts (scientists, researchers, activists) meet people crazy about communication and various forms of expression (designers, journalists, artists, marketing specialists, directors, animators) and together they create unique public campaigns, social innovations, they change something or they just meet and have a chat over a glass of wine! For our first experiment we gathered animators and activists in the summer of 2012, this was followed by a second Creative Wine on 28.11.2012 in Beta Cafe. The initiative has already conceived its first results, which you’ll soon learn about!

In its Meet for Change variation, the initiative brought together young activists and civic groups in non-hierarchical dialogue with local authorities and representatives of local decision-making institutions in order to catalyze dialogue and facilitate the joint development of innovative strategies through an integrated approach that involves young people. In 2012 such meetings were already held in Vidin and Burgas. Brace yourselves Ruse and Plovdiv!

Meetings to achieve understanding, meeting with open endings

OBJECTIVE: To catalyze and create conditions for the quality communication of important topics by full-blooded and unique networking.

WHEN: Creative Drink Vol.1 – June 15, 2012 in Art-Space in front of NDK in Sofia, Vol.2 – 28.11.2012; Meet for change Vol. 1 – May 2012 Sea Casino in Burgas, Vol. 2 – July 2012, the Regional Government of Vidin. Follow this site and our FB- page, to learn about the next editions of the initiative in 2013;

Forum Theatre

Decision for the People by the People!
Not only we do what we love for work, but we do it in the most amazing places around the world! Together with our partners from 6 organizations from Africa and Europe we are leaving for Tanzania to complete the last stage of the project for the implementation of the Forum Theater as a method for finding solutions within the community itself. The end of the project, however, proved to be the beginning of our brand new Forum Theater troupe, which will work on various issues related to oppression in order to translate them in the language of theater. Our first stop for training social workers, teachers and municipal employees will be the city with the “pinest” air that we’ve ever encountered – Devin.

Th13teen Arts

The first day of July turned into an unforgettable experience for the participants in the competition for business ideas in the field ofcreative industries Th13teen Arts. “Ideas Factory” and Art “Na tamno” zone are the partners of the Ministry of Economy and Energy in the national phase of the global competition Creative Business Cup.

Winner of this year’s competition is Vanya Ivanova and her Vanilla Kitchen. Her idea of a network of pastry shops in which the client creates his own product sends her directly to the final of the Creative Business Cup in Denmark.

The event included presentations of another twelve very interesting business ideas from almost all areas of the creative industries. Second and third place after Vanilla Kitchen deserve diKollect, whose idea is to connect the authors of works of art with their potential buyers and WIshi – a platform that aims to bring together people with the same desires.

The winner will represent Bulgaria in the international finals in Denmark in November. He will have the opportunity to compete for prizes totaling of $ 100,000 and to present his idea to the largest companies and investors in the world and together with them to find a way to implement it.


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.

Changemakers Academy Plovdiv 2014

Over 140 enthusiasts from different Bulgarian cities participated in the Social innovation challenge by Ideas Factory across the country and dozens of like-minded teams rushed to solve real problems, including the lack of sewerage system in one of the neighbourhoods in the village of Sinemorets, solutions for the unemployed women over 50 years of age, the need of support for a small start-up business in the Plovdiv district “Stopilinovo” and finding a way for autistic youngsters to create their innovative social enterprise.

The jury selected six of the ideas that were awarded not only with mentoring support, but also with a scholarship to participate in the Changemakers Academy in which lecturers and social innovators from Bulgaria and the world will be at their disposal and will help the young teams to put Bulgaria on the world map of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

From 5th to 8th of June Plovdiv, also known as the “city under the hills”, was conquered by the Changemakers and the team of the Ideas Factory on their “Mission Change”. For a second year the “fabricants” provided the agents of social change with a series of lectures, seminarsand activities to help them understand what is the effect of the processes behind the major changes.

Systems thinking, negotiation skills, U-theory, World caffe, Ideas Lab, empathic leadership, nightchallenges and a meeting with the municipality to create innovative vision for the social services in Plovdiv were only a small part of the cherries on the cake.
Lecturers at the Plovdiv Academy were Ralph Böhlke, Tsvetana Chakarova (Amsterdam) Filka Sekulova (Barcelona Free University) and Asen Nenov and the event wasopened by Gemma Baruhk – Executive Director of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation.

The results: A community of happy, confident and connected with each other agents, burning with desire for solving the challenges. After the Academy, 97% of the participants answered the question “From 1 to 100, how would you describe your motivation to continue with your idea or project for social change after the Academy?” with 120…

A very special event during the Plovdiv Academy showed an innovative approach for catalyzing the civic creativity in order to solve urban challenges. The “academicians”,municipal staff, journalists and representatives of creative professions were mixed in a non-hierarchical dialogue aimed to upgrade ideas. The format is called World Caffe and allows for a minimum time as many people as possible to form optimal quality ideas on an given issue.

The Academies in Burgas and Vratsa will stir up the Southeast and Northwest in September (04-07)and October (02-05) respectively.
The Academy has the incredible power to create space for the birth of bold new visions and to give wings to those who have the courage to implement them. The sessions involving social entrepreneurs from around the world, speakers and mentors from home and abroad, the combination of techniques makes the methodology a crucial support for the young and ambitious social innovators.

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.