The Mediators project was carried out by the Future for Bulgaria Foundation with the financial support of the program “Reform of the Local Government” of the Open Society Institute in the territories of the municipalities of Botevgrad, Veliko Tarnovo, Devon, Dospat, Dragoman, Dryanovo, Kardzhali, Mineralni Bani, and the districts of Haskovo, Ruse and Saedinenie. The project started in the late 2003 and was implemented within 10 months.
The purpose of the project was to create a favourable environment for improving the exchange of information between representatives of the local authorities and the citizens through the media. This purpose was achieved through creating suitable premises for identifying the existing problems impeding or complicating the two-way information flow between the representatives of the local authorities and the citizens, and the role of the media as constructive mediators in this dialogue; improving skills of the public relations experts and of the municipality officials to cooperate with the representatives of the regional media with the purpose of optimizing the information flow and raising the capacities of the representatives of the local media to inform the society systematically both in the course of the routine work of the local authorities and in times of crisis (natural disasters, technical failures, etc.); creating a pattern for the effective cooperation between the municipality officials, the representatives of the regional media and the local non-profit organizations in connection with informing, discussing and solving the problems common for the whole region. The Foundation also drafted and disseminated a brochure called “Mediators”, containing information materials from the organized seminars, carried out 10 interactive training courses for the target groups of the project on team work, simulation of a critical situation and reflecting the routine work of the local authorities for 40 municipality officials, 40 representatives of the regional media and 20 representatives of local non-profit organizations. The lecturers of the training courses and the seminars were experienced journalists, specialists in public relations and university professors.