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Newsletter #9

September 2021

Summer School on Rural Enterprise, Heritage and Tourism Development

Five European Union funded Horizon 2020 projects came together to offer a free short online Summer School over four mornings on July 13th, 20th and 27th and August 3rd. The call was organized by Rubizmo and the rest of projects involved were Ruritage, Ruralization, Liverur and PoliRural. All of them have a focus on Rural Development, Rural Attractiveness, Tourism and Heritage Development.

The aim of the programme was to showcase some of the more significant rural development tools developed by these projects in recent years, all of them tackling influential roles across rural leadership in coaching, teaching, policy making and advisory contexts.

22SISTEMA represented PoliRural project in the second session on July 20th. Under the title “Shaping our Common Rural Future” the session introduced tools developed to help structure rural future and policy planning at local grassroots, national and EU level, and in addition to PoliRural, it counted with the participation of Rubizmo, Ruralization and Liverur. 22SISTEMA explained the System Dynamic tool development and its usefulness to understand dynamics shaping rural ecosystems.

Antoni Oliva Quesada (22SISTEMA)

Slovak Pilot partners co-organize a joint event with the Office of the Government

Slovak pilot partners co-organized on 6 June a joint workshop with the Office of the Government for the development of civil society engagement as a follow up event after the session of the Government Council for non-governmental organizations. The event under the title "The Vision for more attractive rural areas" was organized on-line with the aim to showcast a successful model of how to involve stakeholders in different stages of elaboration of a document for rural areas. Almost 50 people registered and 35 actually participated, all of them received a recording.

The focus was not primarily on the document as such, but on the process as such and many different stages and substages of the elaboration of the Vision document underlying the importance of actively and openly involving stakeholders in all stages through different tools (surveys, workshops, online forum discussions, rural events etc.). The participatory and inclusive process leading to the elaboration of the document is equally important as the document itself. The main motto is "Let´s make the rural areas more attractive for life, work and investment TOGETHER" and thus unite all relevant stakeholders in solving common problems and to look for opportunities to make rural towns and occupations more attractive to the settled rural population, as well as to the new or potential newcomers. The main goal is to contribute to strengthening the position of the rural population and support the sustainable development of rural regions.

Marieta Okenková (Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra)

Lessons learned from PoliRural: new entrant in the Spanish Pilot

Life changes quickly and rural life could not be any different. We just recently checked with the pandemic. People from urban areas move to live or work in rural areas. The concept of new entrant is changing too, getting wider and more diverse. The rural world is full of opportunities, but several factors must be considered before making a decision. This is what you should keep in mind before packing your bags and starting a new life in the field.

The motivations of those who want to live and undertake in rural areas go through internet connectivity, housing offer, medical office and educational offer. The development of sustainable businesses with the environment generates a positive impact on rural communities and revives the economic activity of the territory.

Rural economy is more than farming. There are other activities as tourism, leisure, consumer goods, construction, industry and so on. Based on these activities, the LAG ADESIMAN, works in the territory around Segóbriga (Castilla- La Mancha), boosting new business and opportunities of employment within the EAFRD (Leader) Funds framework. POLIRURAL is helping ADESIMAN to design a local strategy based on the rural attractiveness factors of the territory such as tourism resources, well transport connection urban-rural, broadband availability, and circular economy.

Carrascosa del Campo is a Spanish town belonging to the municipality of Campos del Paraíso, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It has a population of 117 inhabitants (2011) and there arrived Óscar Férnandez Prats in 2017. He is a citizen of the world. He has lived in many places in United States and Europe. He arrived at Carrascosa del Campo to take over a rural house. Óscar transferred the business and continued his trade as a luthier. He sells his custom basses all over the world, including Africa, South America, etc. His contact with the LAG ADESIMAN enabled him to start working with them as well as a web designer and computer scientist.

Outdoor activities, contact with nature, sustainability, richer personal relationships and a more relaxed lifestyle are advantages that Óscar highlights from his change of life in the rural area. The rural world has many challenges at the productive and economic level. The decision to go to live in the countryside contributes to curbing depopulation and according to Óscar Fernández experience, who encourages people to seek a new way of life, as the advantages are many. Have a look at the video to know a little more about Óscar.

San Segundo Barahona, Patricia (TRAGSA)

PoliRural Pilot Vidzeme: The local community is actively involved in the development of regional planning documents

Vidzeme Planning Region continues running the pilot activity and is elaborating the Vidzeme Development Programme for 2021-2027. The document is being developed in close cooperation with the community, industry experts and specialists. The first version of the document was discussed in detail in several online working groups. Summarizing the results, it is known that 336 participants took part in the six discussions and 2,069 comments or suggestions were made. Most comments were received on topics such as business development, accessibility, natural capital and circular economics. In order to better understand the goals and tasks defined by the development program, infographics were prepared.

Infographics about the importance of the development program, work plan and main goals and priorities.

Ieva Kalniņa, Head of the Spatial planning department of Vidzeme Planning Region points out:

“Quality and meaningful spatial development planning are not possible without the cooperation and targeted involvement of the various stakeholders. We gathered in discussions and discussed how we wanted to live in Vidzeme and looked for ways to achieve this: coming together is very valuable. The more we each engage in our places, the planning of our own regional development and jointly setting targets, the more we then have a lot more interest in achieving these goals. We have had a very successful cycle of online discussions – it is this format that allowed us to hear very many valuable ideas and comments. It is now a great and responsible job to analyse all the views and to integrate them as much as possible into the Vidzeme Development Road Map."

Daiga Gargurne, Head of the local society, also a participant of online meetings says:

“I welcome how Vidzeme Planning Region has chosen to organise the development of the Vidzeme Development Programme for 2021-2027. A new and fresh format has been selected. It appears that this time the public consultation has not been formally launched, but there is indeed a wide-ranging debate that calls on anyone with a view and a willingness to participate. I participated in all the thematic discussions launched. We have to be co-responsible for what happens – about what we do or not.”

Anita Āboliņa (Vidzeme Planning Region)

Cyber Courses for children and youth established by newcomers to PoliRural Pilot Galilee

Two newcomers to the Galilee periphery, Mr. Omri Sagron, the owner and pedagogical consultant of the Cyber School SME in Israel, and Mr. Netzah Topaz, CEO, have decided to settle in the periphery after it was understood that work from a distance is possible, and the ecology in Galilee is attractive. They decided to establish the Cyber training company HIGHDELE and establish its headquarters in the north of Israel, with a very clear focus on training children in Israel and giving them an equal opportunity to advance and succeed in the local and international cyber field. From this peripheral region in Israel, they are operating a large number of activities.

It is a good example of the mission defined by the MIGAL team, in collaboration with the stakeholders, on upgrading the Galilee periphery's digitalisation infrastructure. Cyber School has specialised in teaching informal technological training within the various educational frameworks with great success, primarily because of the professionalism and ability to develop unique content and courses. In this way, they motivate the students to succeed, inspiring them to practice the material, thus assimilating the material learned in the best way.

In order to promote the high-tech industry in northern Galilee, it is required to establish a process. There are many bodies and actors in the government, politics, entrepreneurs, investors, academia, security and more. The move needed of opening an accelerator and a technological community in the north is a move that is causing a chain reaction. Investors will discover a new north, entrepreneurship, conferences, quality people, and understand that it is worth investing in the country's north.

The intention is that large high-tech companies will notice that it is possible to save a little and move a small development department to the north. There is already education, a population, and there are investors. Resources are relatively cheap. It is worth making even the slightest movement to encourage the growth of this high-tech industry in the north.

Sigal Fishman (MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute)

PoliRural Pilot Central Bohemia introduces the Czech Rural Attractiveness Model in the 11th year LEADERfest

In collaboration of three PoliRural project partners from the Czech Republic – Plan4All, NUVIT and CCSS – the Model of Rural Attractiveness in the Czech Republic was introduced in the 11th LEADERfest, which took place from 20 to 23 September 2021 in Kutná Hora in the Central Bohemian Region. This national event is an essential gathering of the Czech Local Action Groups, including LAGs from the Central Bohemian Region – the key stakeholders of the project. The event hosted more than 300 participants from the Czech Republic, national and foreign speakers, and was financially supported by the National Rural Network under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic.

The model, which is part of the PoliRural Digital Innovation Hub, is based on open data and an ontology of rural attractiveness. Factors affecting the resulting attractiveness can be classified based on selected Sustainable Development Goals and the output serves to show the attractiveness of particular municipalities or areas. This tool, which is available for users on PoliRural website (hub.polirural.eu), should support proper policy-making processes based on selected weighted indicators and in accordance with specific data draw the existing situations on the map.

The model as a part of PoliRural projects output is easily understandable and it is valid for the whole area of the Czech Republic. Together with other activities in the Central Bohemian Region as a pilot region, it is usable for all stakeholders to support sustainable development of rural areas nationwide.

Lucie Nencková


This project has received funding from European Union’s Horizon H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 818496.


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