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You are wanted: applications open for our training program under the PROTEUS project

PROTEUS is a project funded by the EU’s CERV program and it aims to enhance the sustainability of civil society organizations and support democratic participation through capacity building and financial support.
If you are a new, recently-launched civil society organization (CSO) or a small organization which aspires to further develop its capacity and potential; if you work on topics and issues related to civic participation; if you believe in upholding European values and fundamental rights and that this is the job of organizations such as yours; if through your work you aspire to contribute to strengthening civil society in Bulgaria - then the PROTEUS capacity building training (CBT) program is right for you.
Who is the PROTEUS capacity building training program for?
We are looking for up to 25 representatives of CSOs from around the country that:
  • wish to continue their organizational development and enhance their capacity
  • work in small towns and sparsely populated areas and/or remote areas (away from urban centers); populated areas in in regions with disadvantaged social and economic development (we accept applications from CSOs whose office is based in a city, but whose main activity centers on smaller and remote areas)
  • work on political, social or cultural topics and issues related to civic participation
  • are familiar with the challenges facing the community they work with
  • believe in the importance and power of civic education and civil participation as well as the values and fundamental values of the European Union
  • want to develop their competencies and skills to help them deliver on civil society causes which would contribute towards improving the civic infrastructure and participation of their community
  • or would like to develop competencies and skills that would contribute to the organizational development of the CSO they represent
  • are available and motivated to dedicate three weekends during the next few months to complete our training.
The program is open to representatives of CSOs (applications from individuals who are not employed by a CSO will not be accepted). We accept applications from one representative per organization.
What does the capacity building program offer?
The CSO capacity building program under the PROTEUS project offers:
  • a series of training events the content and activities of which will develop the skills and competencies of the participating CSO representative with the aim of enhancing the capacity of their organizations. Topics that will be covered during the training include fundraising and project work, financial management, communication skills and advocacy, network building with like-minded organizations, digital communications and engaging with media, rights and democracy, etc. The program is divided into 3 training events, including two weekend-long training events (Friday to Sunday) in November** 2023 (10.11-12.11 and 24.11-26.11). The third training event will be held in the spring of 2024, exact dates to be decided.
  • mentoring and continuous support provided by the Sofia Platform Foundation team, trainers and other experts.
  • an opportunity to apply for a micro-grant worth EUR 500-2,500 for the implementation of a local project on a topic related to civic participation. The opportunity will be open only to participants who have taken part in the capacity building training; please note this entails an application procedure and proposals will be reviewed and selected. The micro-grant will be an opportunity for CBT participants to apply their new knowledge and skills as well as a chance for them to implement a project. Applications for the micro-funding component will be subject to a separate procedure that will be announced and communicated in due course.
  • joining a network of like-minded organizations from around the country.
* All expenses for travel, accommodation and food during the three training events will be covered by the Sofia Platform Foundation.
How to apply:
Please submit the following to proteus@sofiaplatform.org
  • an up-to-date profile of your organization: no set format required, please introduce your organization, its mission and goals, completed and current projects, and the team
  • a CV of the organization’s representative applying to take part in the CBT course and a letter of motivation
  • confirmation that the organization’s representative applying to take part in the CBT course is able to take part in all training events (please refer to the information about dates below).
The deadline for applications is extended to 02 October 2023.
The Sofia Platform Foundation will host a virtual information session on 14 September 2023 at 11:00 when we will introduce the program and answer any questions. You could find more info here
Dates for the training events are as follows:
  • Training event I: 10-12 November** 2023
  • Training event II: 24-26 November** 2023
  • Training event III: spring of 2024, the exact dates will be confirmed later.
*All training events will be held in person.
*Please note that each training event will start on the Friday, usually around 2 pm, and will end on the Sunday by 2 pm. This means that applicants need to make sure that they can dedicate (by taking leave or similar) two Fridays in the space of about a month.
*Please note that absence of up to 2 hours is allowed per training event. Participants who break that rule will be asked to leave the program.
** The text has been corrected after its initial publication - due to the local elections announced for October 29, the originally announced dates of the trainings, which coincided with the elections, have been changed. The above dates are correct (November 10-12 and November 24-26, 2023).

What are the criteria for selecting participants and what is the process that we will follow?
After the deadline for applications of 02 October 2023, the Sofia Platform Team, at the latest by 4 October, will select for participation in the CBT program applicants who:
  • submit the full sent of required documents, listed above
  • meet most fully the specifications listed above (please refer to the Who is the PROTEUS capacity building training program for?  Section above).
Preference will be given to candidates who:
  • Represent a new or a small organization, which is still in the initial phase of its development and team formation.
  • Work with the following target groups: women, youth or representatives of other underprivileged groups*.
  • Offer innovative forms of civic participation.
*Underprivileged groups are groups whose members are victims of discrimination based on one of the six traits that are protected under the law of the EU: age, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion/faith.
The PROTEUS  project is funded by the CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values) program of the European Union. Responsibility for this content lies with the Transatlantic Foundation and the project partners. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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