Friday, June 3, 2011
EC Structural Funds
I’m quiet because I’m busy! Swimming first thing in morning – with refreshing walks through Sofia’s great South park with Vitosha Mountain above always offering a fascinating artistic backcloth, with or without clouds. Wednesday the sky was as spectacular as it gets hereabouts – stormy greys and blues…with thunder rolling around in late afternoon as we scurried home protectively clutching the latest painting acquisition. Our fifth Milcho Kostadinov – but first seascape – which has rich hues of green, blue, grey and crashing white foam. This is it - above.
I’m also thinking about a possible bid for a project in Bulgaria’s Structural Funds (SF) (Administrative Capacity) – whose terms of reference are, naturally, in Bulgarian. But the more I learn of the detail, the less enthusiastic I get. The project I am currently involved in is required to train 2,800 local officials (in aspects of bidding for and managing SF) in a 12 month period. That’s one workshop every day – somewhere in one of Bulgaria’s regions. Understandably, the process is more about ticking boxes than developing the sort feedback, learning and quality needed for sistainability. The new project I’m looking at would require 5,000 officials to be trained in 6 months! That’s almost 4 workshops each day!! Impossible - unless it is all done at a regional level, when it does become manageable. But companies bidding would have to put money upfront – and hope that the authorities would honour the receipts. No wonder so little money actually gets spent!
Yesterday I visited a workshop we were running on Communications and Information – for 20 municipal officials – and chatted with the 2 trainers. I was fascinated to learn that the Gates Foundation is funding work with the local library system here – Bulgaria has 900 of them! And, given the parlous demographic state of many of the villages here, it is not suprising that few have computers or internet connections.
A year ago - some comments about education.