Member Profile: Mihaela Andonova

In a new series of posts profiling our Network members and the work that they do we have asked each member of our network the same questions and we will post the responses here.

Our next profile is on Mihaela Andonova, a Librarian and member of the Management board of Innovative Community Centers Association in Bulgaria.Mihaela Andonova Photo
Describe what you do in your job from day to day. (Describe how your day to day practices are related to adult literacy)

Every day I meet the challenges of working on different topics, related to adult literacy. I am a member of the Management board of The Innovative Community Centers Association /ICCA/ for the last 5 years. ICCA is a Bulgarian organization which carries out activities connected with sustainable development and in particular educational, informational and technological development of local communities through the community centers in our country.

To accomplish one of ICCA main objectives – the access to vocational training and education of the citizens, according to their personal interests and abilities and meeting the needs for qualified workers, competitive on the labor market, in 2006 ICCA Vocational Training Center was certified, realizing the necessity of assuring and maintaining quality in the vocational education and training of people from settlements remote from the significant administrative centers. The vocational training network was established as result of the teamwork of the community centers and libraries in partnership with local government, employers and non-government organizations.

Nowadays, in a time of global financial and social crisis, the market of labor has become very complicated, especially in Bulgaria. Many people are unemployed for a long time. They have gradually lost their qualification and interest to search for a new job and opportunities. The social exclusion is a fact. Now the most important role of our organization is to support these people, young or old, and to give them a chance to enhance their competitiveness through education and training and a chance to live better with new knowledge and skills.

Libraries are an integral part of the community centers in Bulgaria. The uppermost importance for me as a member of ICCA is to work and achieve an equal access to education, qualification and work. This goal was partially achieved through the implementation of training for librarians in the period 2012-2014. Together with the Bulgarian Library and Information Association for three years we trained 242 librarians from all parts in Bulgaria and they gained their third qualification degree in the “Librarian” profession.

Choose and describe one programme that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution.

One of the latest topics I`m working on is the SEAM Project.

“SEAM: Social Education of Adults through Mobility” is a two-year strategic partnership at international level coordinated by Asociación Gantalcalá (Spain) with the support of Innovative Community Centres Association (Bulgaria), Diecezni charita Brno (Czech Republic), Passaggi onlus (Italy), Latvian Adult Education Association (Latvia), Municipio de Amarante (Portugal) and Inštitut Antona Trstenjaka za gerontologijo in medgeneracijsko sožitje (Slovenia). Funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commision, the project aims to join together organisations from different fields in order to work together and exchange good practices related to social inclusion of adults and the acquisition of new cultural and/or language skills through formal and non formal education methodologies.
During the project implementation, partner organisations from the mentioned countries will run together different activities such as:
• Coordination meetings on the project partner countries in order to get to know the best practices and local projects related with adults intercultural and/or social education;
• Design, creation, test and publication of different manuals for organisations managing local projects for adults and toolkits for sending and hosting adults from other countries through cooperation or volunteering projects;
• International learning activities such as trainings for adult educators;
• Transnational activities for adult learners to promote their mobility as a learning tool;
• Local activities for learners and trainers working on the adult field focused on testing new learning materials and developing innovative ones;
• Visibility events on each partner country to disseminate the project results.
Thanks to these activities and a regular cooperation between adults educators and users over 50 years old during all these activities, the project intends to promote the cooperation between European organisations on the field of non formal and formal adult education, that could make possible the creation of a network of partners for the development of mobility projects for adults, that could also help to promote the entrepreneurship and initiative of adults and involve them on peer education projects. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission and the Erasmus+ programme.

Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?

– Share know-how from the best practices;
– Exchange and translate materials;
– Send books in their own languages to places where libraries need it.

What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?

We definitely need strategic partnerships on national level with institutions working on literacy and also support for different activities from the Government and European projects.

What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?

As we grow bigger we will be able to share more practices, training materials, identify specific needs and find financial support for them.

What would you say to anyone that is interested in joining our Network?

If you are interested – you are the most welcome to join, explore, learn and share!
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