Mission Partnerships Projects


Developing a Model for Sustainable Water and Waste Management for rural areas in Bulgaria

Project Outcomes

Sustainable Sanitation



A tool to enable Bulgarian water and sanitation sector to be part of future European development

A pilot project for two villages from the Municipality of Stara Zagora –
Sulitsa and Stara Zagora Spa

Leading Coordinator: Women in Europe for a Common Future, The Netherlands

The project is implemented with the financial support of MATRA Program of the Dutch Government

Project duration February 2005 – November 2007

Project goal

Bulgarian local authorities have developed principles of multi-stakeholder (democratic) informed demand strategic planning, to be endorsed by the appropriate national authorities as operational guidelines and serve as a tool to:


Expected results

Result 1 A well managed co-operation project with good communication between the project partners and stakeholders; all are familiar with the project plan and budget and the problems it aims to solve.

Result 1.1 Information about the project plan, aims and solutions has shared with, and collaboration started with:

Result 1.2 A website as communication and information tool has been developed

Result 2 A basis for successful pilot project implementations in Sulitsa/Stara Zagora Spa and Topoli is created

Result 2.1 Existing data and reports (in addition to what the project partners have already collected) on waste, water, draught and health will have been found and analysed sand formed the basis for activity 3 and 4.

Result 2.2 The water laboratory tests have indicated the main pollution of sources of ground-, tap- and –spring water (e.g. infiltration from leaking pipes) and their potential use

Result 2.3 Evaluation and assessment reports of the problem identification. In-depth 1 month focus interviews in the field studies will have involved representatives from all sectors of the local population in the 2 project areas, who will have expressed their experience, knowledge, needs and wishes in relation to improving the waste, water, draught, health, democracy and economic situation in the target region

Result 3 Stakeholders adopted strategic planning tools for the improvement of water and waste management in their communities.

Result 3.1 The target groups as well as local partners, have been trained on solution approaches addressing their specific problems and needs for water and waste management.

Result 4 Local knowledge and experience is integrated in setting up plans of implementation for the introduction of sustainable water and waste management systems in the 2 project areas Topoli and Stara Zagora municipality.

Result 4.1.1 2 project committees have been formed with motivated families from Sulitsa/Stara Zagora Spa and Topoli who want to work on water saving and waste handling pilot projects. All committees are given a balanced representation of gender and ethnic-socio-economic background.

Results 4.1.2 1 advisory committee for the overall project with representatives of government agencies have been set up to connect to national and international policy making developments

Result 4.2 Practical/technical plans for the pilot projects in the 2 target areas (3 villages) have been made. For the schools plans for awareness raising and education on sustainable water and waste management activities are developed. For the villages technical implementation plans are made.

Result 4.3 Process implementation plans for the pilot projects have been made defining the activities and the involved persons, contracts made, at least 3 price estimates obtained.

Result 4.4 About 1500 pupils and their teachers have increased their knowledge about water, waste and personal responsibility for the environmental protection and have defined the needs of the schools in the areas of water saving and waste handling as well as the potential contribution of the schools to the implementation projects in the 3 villages

Result 5 Strategic planning tools are tested by the municipalities of Sulitsa/Stara Zagora Spa and Topoli.

Result 5.1 In Sulitsa/Stara Zagora Spa and Topoli pilot projects have tested several options and shown the barriers and opportunities for water saving and waste handling techniques are implemented as example of sustainable water and waste management.

Result 5.2 Local materials and products will have been largely utilised, helping the local business and trade development, and applied research will have helped to test and improve the pilot projects and make them more attractive for replication

Result 6 The target group has learned to express their own views and needs and the project results have been presented to a wider public

Result 6.1 The secondary target group will have been informed about the project development (newsletter, posters..)

Result 6.2 Overview of opportunities and obstacles for water saving and waste handling practices, and multi-stakeholder processes in Bulgaria

Result 6.3 The implementation projects will have been presented by the project partners, families and school children to the local population, decision makers and press at the Official presentations (3 days)

Result 7 Local authorities and/or stakeholders are interested to use principles of multi-stakeholder strategic planning tools

Result 7.1 The local, regional and national press will have been encouraged to cover the project activities and results

Result 7.2 The project results will have been communicated to policy makers (Bulgarian, EU), universities and researchers working on sustainable water and waste management and the Bulgarian NGO network set up as part of the project

Result 7.3 The project partners will have formulated recommendations for the national environmental policy in Bulgaria and how to address institutional barriers based on their experience from the pilot projects and presented this at the 2-day multi-stakeholder dialogue in Sofia. The dialogue will try to get agreement among policy makers, scientists and NGOs present for the need to widely promote the presented integrated waste and water management systems more widely in Bulgaria and neighbouring countries (Albania, Macedonia)

Result 8 Population and pupils in target regions have received educational materials

Result 8.1 8 Bulgarian leaflets/brochures will have been published on among others sustainable water saving and waste handling practices, integrated waste management, drinking water source protection, pesticides and water pollution, role of NGOs and citizen’s initiatives in a democracy

Result 8.2 5 sets of educational materials for the schools in support of the project implementation have been published

Result 8.3 A competition for best drawings on the theme of water has been organised in the schools

Result 8.4 2 exhibitions on the theme of water saving and waste handling have been held in the town halls of Varna and Stara Zagora, with the winners of the drawing competition and photos and educational materials of the water saving and waste management pilot projects

Result 9 Strategic plans which allow for implementation of inexpensive and effective options for dealing with drought and waste management are developed by municipalities together with project partners and project committees

Result 9.1 2 evaluation reports of projects

Result 9.2 2 strategic plans for water and waste management

Result 10 Strategic planning tools are adopted and endorsed by Bulgarian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Result 10.1 Assessment reports, policy recommendations

Result 10.2 Model for multi-stakeholder, and integrated strategy planning for sustainable water and waste management for rural settlements in Bulgaria

Result 10.3 Legal amendments and standards linked to international initiatives

Result 10.4 Insight in possibilities for replication of model in other regions

Planned Main Activities


1. Project Launch
1.1 First mission and kick-off meeting with all project partners.
1.2 Establishment of a website, managed in Bulgaria

2. Problem identification and assessment of local knowledge
2.1 Obtaining and analysing additional published reports with information needed for developing the strategy
2.2 Analysis of local water quality and define sources of pollution
2.3 Socio-economic-gender analysis and baseline studies

Ground work

3. Training for local stakeholders
3.1 2 Local training workshops in Topoli and Stara Zagora municipality

4. Developing pilot project implementation with input of local experience
4.1.1 Setting up local project committees for co-ordinated planning
4.1.2. Setting up an advisory committee for the overall project
4.2 Development of action plans for pilot projects
4.3 Development of project implementation plan for sustainable water and waste management
4.4 2 public events with the local population and authorities, students and teachers to present the results of the plans

5. Implementation of pilot projects
5.1. Implementation of water saving and waste handling practices in and around family houses in Topoli and Stara Zagora municipality
5.2 Applied research carried out by partner universities

Enabling environment

6. National and International exchange of know-how and diffusion of project lessons and results; establishing national enabling environment for the implementation of a model for integrated sustainable water and waste management plans in rural settlements in Bulgaria
6.1 Spreading project results on website, and in international world of experts in water and waste management systems (specialised journals, conferences…)
6.2 Assessment of communal waste and water management structures, review of local regulations and standards
6.3 2 day regional workshop in Sofia: Multi-stakeholder dialogue on the consequences for national policy and international co-operation

7. Communications, publicity actions and working with the press throughout the project
7.1 Regular information about the project progress for the population of the villages and schools (maybe a newsletter made by students) in project centres
7.2 Media work, inviting press to ‘events’ such as the project launch, public events and official presentation to the public
7.3 Official presentation of the finished pilot projects to the public

8. Educational activities: developing and publishing information and educational materials, drawing competitions throughout the project
8.1 Developing and publishing a series Bulgarian leaflets/brochures for the local target regions population
8.2 Developing education activities and materials for the schools with the schools
8.3 Organizing a competition for best drawings on the theme of water saving and waste handling in both of the schools
8.4 Organize 2 exhibitions on the theme of water saving and waste handling in the town halls of Varna and Stara Zagora
Strategic planning

9. Formulating strategic water and waste management strategies for Topoli and Stara Zagora rural municipality
9.1 Strengthening local planning and monitoring capacities
9.2 Development of a strategic plan for water and waste management in Sulitsa and Topoli.

10. Formulation of a strategy for sustainable water and waste management for rural communities in Bulgaria
10.1 Review national policies and donor country priorities, review legal instruments
10.2 Write a multi-stakeholder, and integrated strategy planning model for sustainable water and waste management for rural settlement in Bulgaria
10.3 Prepare legal amendments and standards and link those to international initiatives for water saving and waste management developments