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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Building Local Capacity to Implement the LEADER Approach


This project, implemented by the Municipalities of Rakitovo & Batak in partnership with private and non profit sectors enabled the creation of the LAG Terra Bessica, fostering local participation and awareness raising of the area identity.


The area of the Municipalities of Rakitovo & Batak is one of the largest in Bulgaria among all eligible for LEADER. The area is predominantly mountainous, with a large share of forests, a great share of protected natural areas, ancient history related to the Thracian tribe Besses. The two main religions in the area are orthodox Christianity and Islam, and this was one of the challenges addressed in the process of building a local action group. The project is funded from the preparatory measure 431, actions 2, which aimed to prepare local areas to apply LEADER.


The main objectives of the project were to help local actors to acquire skills in order to animate the local community, develop a local development strategy, form and register a Local Action Group, and prepare and apply for the LAG' s recognition under the Bulgarian Rural development programme.

Main activities

The main activities were: launching a communication campaign to inform community groups about the LEADER approach and engage them in planning and elaborating the Local Development Strategy (LDS); organising focus groups and interviews with local stakeholders in order to identify the main priorities for the development of the area, as a basis for the preparation of the LDS; organising training activities targeting potential LAG members and staff; preparing the legal and administrative documents.

Results & Benefits

The project was awarded from the Ministry of Agriculture as the most successful implemented by a Bulgarian municipality. Thank to the project a public private partnership was created with 21 members. The LDS was prepared, including all internal functioning rules for the LAG. The LDS focused on eco tourism development and mountainous agriculture. As a result of the planning process, projects and ideas on eco tourism flourished. An annual festival celebrating the area culture was established.

Lessons learnt

Implementing joint activities oriented towards celebrating the natural, cultural and historical heritage increases engagement and ownership if the process is the result of a participatory process to develop a common vision for the development of the area. The inclusive and longer process undertaken to identify priorities and develop the LDS helped to increase the awareness of the specific identity of the area and its potential for development.

Project location and other information

Municipalities of Rakitovo and Batak forming the LAG territory.



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

65 000

EAFRD contribution (€)

48 750

National contribution (€)

16 250

Contact name

Svilen Topchiev


+359 895 755 885

Languages for contact

English, Bulgarian

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Public/local authorities, Local Action Group

Budget range

€20 000 - €99 999

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Implementing the LEADER Approach
• Local Action Group management
• 431. Running the local action group, skills acquisition, animation


Public participation, Public-private-partnership, Leader, Local Action Group, Local development strategy

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