Partners Bulgaria Foundation, together with its partners – PartnersGlobal, USA, and 4 municipalities in Northwest and Southwest Bulgaria  – has initiated  innovative educational program to increase young people’s media literacy and their skills to spot and counter disinformation and misinformation.

Bulgaria occupies a place near the bottom of the media literacy index for 2022 – 33rd position out of 41 countries (OSI, 2023) and has shown high vulnerability to fake news related to Covid-19 which resulted to lowest vaccination rate (25.90%) and highest death rate in Europe. Support for NATO in Bulgaria, shown by about 50% of respondents, was lowest among nine CEE countries in 2021. The country is most prone to believing in conspiracy theories about democracy in the CEE.

The proposed project aims at increasing public resilience to disinformation and thus reducing risks that represent threat to national security. It is a 12 months initiative focused on supporting schools to accommodate media literacy program and thus

1/ build youth resiliency to disinformation and misinformation; and

2/ engage youth in civic initiatives addressing security risks as a result of disinformation and misinformation and strengthen their media literacy.

These objectives are achieved by activities such as development of educational materials and curriculum; a toolkit for teachers and facilitators; workshops for youth and adult learners from 4 communities; students’ study trip to NATO; and youth led initiatives to conduct campaigns countering disinformation related to chosen issue of public importance in each community.

As a result, youth will increase their media literacy and civic participation; they will take action to counter disinformation. The curriculum and the toolkit will be published in Bulgarian and English which will help multiplication of the program among youth, schools and the public.

The project is designed to work towards increasing public understanding of NATO’s critical role in ensuring regional and global security. The activities target both adult and younger audiences and shore up support for NATO security priorities along with countering and building resilience to disinformation and misinformation.

This project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of State – U.S.Mission to NATO.