33 Bulgarian municipalities receive funding for social services to small children from poor families

May 31, 2011

Sofia, May 31, 2011 – Mayors of 33 Bulgarian municipalities signed financial agreements with the Minister of Labor and Social Policy Totyo Mladenov at a public ceremony today. The event marks the launch of the active implementation of the World Bank supported Social Inclusion Project, which aims at providing better services to disadvantaged or disabled children of pre-school age and their families. Within the first round of project implementation a total of 63 Bulgarian municipalities will receive funding to start providing better social services to the most vulnerable members of Bulgarian society. These services include, among others, refurbishment and construction of social facilities and kindergartens, covering expenses for kindergarten for the poorest, establishment of day care centers, parental training, family support, including healthcare training and services for marginalized families.

“What we all want to see is a Bulgaria of well educated citizens with good jobs that generate welfare for everybody. What we all want to see is breaking the vicious circle of poverty and exclusion”, Markus Repnik, the World Bank Country Manager for Bulgaria, said at the ceremony today.

On behalf of the Bulgarian Association of Municipalities the mayor of Smolyan Mrs. Dora Yankova extended local governments’ appreciation for the project to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, emphasizing the timely support for essential social services that would allow protection for the most vulnerable groups, and strengthening employment in time of economic crisis.

The total amount of the World Bank supported Social Inclusion Project is 78 233 200 BGN (40 million euro), 69 216 823 BGN of which are allocated for direct funding of municipal subprojects, providing social services to vulnerable children at the age 0 to 7. The municipalities have 2 years to implement their projects. It is expected that, if the SIP mechanism proves to be successful, future funding for continuation of the program would come from EU funds.

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