Za Zemiata's DIY Contest Awards 19 Green Ideas with Micro Finance

Environment | March 7, 2015, Saturday // 13:39|  views

The three-strong DIY Contest jury (in the photo) includes experts in project management and sustainable development. Photo: Za Zemiata

A total of nineteen project applications have been approved for funding in the Do-It-Yourself Contest 2015 organized by Za Zemiata, one of Bulgaria's largest non-profit environmental organizations.

The contest aims to prove that anyone who has a brilliant idea, puts in some effort, and is provided with financial assistance can introduce "green" changes to the place they live in.

To name a few shortlisted ideas, they include creating a tactile garden, afforestation, beekeeping, growing clean vegetables, fruits and mushrooms, building playgrounds, urban green spaces or an extensive green roof, and many more, a press statement of Za Zemiata reads. 

Those who have been singled out can count on a micro grant of up to EUR 1000, eight months to develop their project and support from members of the organization.

The winners (whose full list is available here [BG]) are from places as diverse as Varna, Sofia, Pernik, Gabrovo (and adjacent villages), Montana, Ruse, Kardzhali, Kazanlak, Kardam, Kovachevtsi, Byaga, Zhelen, the river Kamchiya's valley and many others. Their projects will involve various groups of people including children and adolescents, citizens with intellectual impairment, migrants and members of minorities.

This year the 19 awarded ideas have been selected out of 348 applications. In 2013, the first edition of the Do-It-Yourself Contest resulted in 65 submitted projects and three winners: urban beekeeping, the creation of a bike route and setting up a solar charger for parks. All these have been successfully put into practice, bringing about a change to their respective communities.

A three-member jury of experts in project management and sustainable development has sought to ensure that at least half of the awarded projects are carried out outside the capital Sofia.

In October 2015, Za Zemiata will also provide municipalities and local organizations with advice on securing microfinance for civic environmental organizations.

Bulgaria lacks "public funds under which NGOs, and not just municipalities and educational institutions, could be beneficiaries," whereas "there is great potential of civil energy and ideas that remain concealed to the institutions," in the words of Nataliya Dimitrova, who is part of the jury. Incentives should also be provided to the donor culture and mechanisms of the so-called "crowdfunding" in order to encourage similar initiatives, Dimitrova is quoted as saying.

Za Zemiata unites the efforts of people determined to work for a life that avoids exploitation of people and nature. It is also the only Bulgarian member of Friends of the Earth, the world's biggest civic environmental organization developing activities in 76 countries with more than 2 million activists across the globe.

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Tags: Za Zemiata, Do-It-Yourself Contest, micro finance, green, projects


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