About the project

In fulfilment of subsection 17.3 of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, the functions of the NRN Network Support Unit were assigned by the MAFF to an external contractor through a public procurement, in accordance with the requirements of the Public Procurement Act. 

As a result of the public procurement that was held in April 2018, the NRN administration and management activities were assigned to the “Rural Network BG” DZZD consortium. The project “Supporting and strengthening the Network Support Unit of the National Rural Network of RDP 2014-2020” has a duration of four years and is funded from the Technical Assistance measure of RDP 2014-2020.

Project objectives and tasks

The primary objective described in the terms of reference is to select a Network Support Unit for the National Rural Network. The main task of the NSU is to administer, coordinate and support the structures of NRM. The role of the NSU of NRN is to create favourable conditions for successful communication and promoting the cooperation between individuals, organisations and institutions working in the field of rural development at all levels – local, regional, national and European. The technical support, operational and information coordination between the members of the National Rural Network will be exercised by this Unit, which will also provide the necessary human resources and expertise.

Project activities

  • Appointment of at least 28 experts for regional coordinators and building their capacity through periodical workshops, trainings and seminars/conferences; 
  • Organisation of meetings and maintaining contacts with the representatives of the 28 Regional Information Centres, covering the entire country in geographic and sectoral terms for the purpose of expanding the information flow on matters related to RDP 2014-2020, enhancing the capacity and expansion of the Network; 
  • Holding meetings, seminars and conferences for generation of ideas at least twice a year, depending on the level of progress of NRN’s work; 
  • Organisation of Thematic Working Groups and holding at least two meeting per year within them; 
  • Organisation and conducting of at least 2 meetings of the LEADER and EIP-AGRI expert groups (community-led local development) that are part of NRN’s Coordination Committee; 
  • Organisation and holding a training/information seminars at least once per year, targeted specifically at the representatives of vulnerable and discriminated groups; 
  • Organisation of events for exchange of experience, knowledge and good practices both from Bulgaria and other EU member states at least once per year; 
  • Development of analyses, research and studies for the needs of the Management Authority of RDP 2014-2020; 
  • Providing support in the course of training and building the capacity of the Local Action Groups (LAG) based on the LEADER (CLLD) approach and by facilitating and stimulating the inter-territorial and transnational cooperation projects with LAG and the process of seeking and finding partners in relation to Measure 16 – Cooperation of RDP 2014-2020; 
  • Provision of a platform for communication and exchange of ideas between the representatives of the advisory and innovation support units, including the established Operational Groups of EIP AGRI; 
  • Support and dissemination of projects of the Operational Groups of EIP AGRI; 
  • Establishing contacts and holding workshops with representatives of the academic community at least once per year for the purpose of collecting and exchanging information about data dissemination and preparing analyses related to the innovation projects, as well as for the needs of the operations of the Coordination Unit for innovations; 
  • Establishing contacts and holding workshops with stakeholders and partners at least once per year for the purpose of generating ideas for good practices and identification of poor practices and violations at local level; 
  • Drafting and processing evaluation sheets from awareness campaigns, trainings and/or seminars in order to track the public attitude and the level of success of RDP 2014-2020; 
  • Ensuring technical and expert support for assistance to and organisation of the work of the Thematic Working Groups; holding trainings for regional coordinators; development of relationships among the members of NRN; support and consultation to the administration of MAFF and the members of NRM related to cooperation with the European Network for Rural Development, with other national rural networks within the EU, with the Network for EIP-AGRI and with the operational groups of EIP-AGRI; 
  • Preparing and holding events (seminars/trainings/roundtables/open days by sectors and fields, etc.) for potential beneficiaries under RDP 2014-2020 at least once per year; 
  • Preparation of and holding at least one event per year (seminars/trainings/roundtables, etc.) for the administration of RDP (the Managing Authority, State Fund Agriculture – Paying Agency and the units that support their work under the Programme) at central and local level for the purpose of acquiring knowledge in the field of effective management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Programme and its integration to other policies; 
  • Procuring and organising the drafting, publishing, photocopying and dissemination of printed materials about RDP 2014-2020 and NRN; 
  • Development and maintenance of a new website of NRN, upgrading and updating the website of NRN, maintenance and updating of a register of the members of NRN and a register of questions received about NRN. 
  • Preparation and organisation of at least one event and participation of NRN’s representatives at the events of local significance in rural municipalities; 
  • Development of a calendar of events of regional and local importance; 
  • Conducting the overall organisation of one international meeting with other European rural networks on the territory of Bulgaria; 
  • Preparation and provision of support to the MA for the next programming period – organisation of meetings and events for generation of ideas for the future programme period at least once per year; 
  • Ensuring logistical support, preparation and organisation of the debate about CAP after 2020 – organisation of meetings and events for discussion on the topic – at least once per year.