Coordinating and activating valuable, if underused, endogenous tourist resources to fight the crises in rural areas

Logo Knockmeal active

Pilgrim Paths Day 2014

Knockmealdown Active is a group that was formed in 2011 with representatives from the communities and villages that border the north-facing slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary, Ireland.

Its aim is to establish and promote the area as a sustainable tourist destination. From hill-walking, angling, cycling, fine restaurants, traditional pubs, traditional music and dance, castles, gardens, historic cemeteries and a host of archaeological sites and magnificent scenery, this area has it all – all that was needed to be done was to let people know about it.

In part, due to the collapse of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, this area, similar to many other Irish rural areas, has witnessed a decline in its population, especially in that cohort of young, well-educated, active young people who have moved to larger urban centres or emigrated to places like Australia or Canada.

The initiative undertaken by Knockmealdown Active is just one small attempt to use the local natural and cultural resources of the area to try and halt the decline in its own area of operation.

imaxen paisaxe

Key questions:
  • How to activate “win win” strategies by local cooperation
  • How to convince ourselves –our rural neighbours- about our endogenous potential

Abella Lupa, recovering the culture of honey

The agrarian transformation society Abella Lupa has a dual purpose: the ecological production of honey and the recovery and dissemination of cultural heritage associated with apiculture in Galicia.

imaxen abella lupa

They are four people linked to environmentalism and with university education in biology, forest engineering, forestry engineering and environmental education. The activity generates one job, one of the partners, being a sideline activity for the rest of them.

Besides honey production, it performs an important work in spreading the beekeeping as an opportunity for economic development compatible with the conservation of nature, and as material and spiritual heritage that has undergone a significant risk of abandonment and lost.

Main issues to be discussed:
  • The abandonment as an opportunity for organic production
  • The potential of traditional activities in the generation of new jobs

Vivir Aquí, Reflecting a Rich and Dynamic Countryside

imaxen Vivir aquí

'Vivir Aquí' is a Televisión de Galicia television program which shows a positive vision of Galician reality. It is a local program that pays attention to a part of the population: inhabitants of villages and rural areas. The program transmits positive attitudes and elements of these areas, which are sometimes undervalued.

The value of the heritage, the generation of wealth, the dynamism...These are elements related to Galician rural areas and villages that the program tries to show, in opposition to a negative and unrealistic vision of them.

Main issues to be discussed:
  • Is the traditional definition of the rural, as isolated places, still work nowadays?
  • Is there a more positive new rural identity?

Xermade, participation and resources optimization

imaxen Xermade

From 2006 Xermade Council develops a sociocultural program based on dialogue and coordination with associations, as well as with the local community. Local Administration meets with different associations to discussed how Xermande can be energised, exploiting the few resources that are found in the area.

It is an initiative in which Public Administration assumes an energiser and activator role of social capacities and resources in which public action is designed by the local community.

Under a participative management model, associations provide ideas about activities that understand as important, and they also provide ideas about activities' coordination and complementarity with activities already carried out by them.

Main issues to be discussed
  • Participation as an efficient factor in public action
  • Public and associative sector's role and their coordination

Rede de Escolas na Nube (Network of Schools in the Cloud)

Group Rural Centres are a group of rural school (former one-room schools) with students of the second cycle of pre-primary education and, in some cases, first cycle of primary school.

imaxen Escolas na Nube

Thanks to the computer application of the School in the Cloud, GRC can have a collaboration area and services online for students of different ages, teachers and family. The application works with bad quality internet connections and with different electronic devices to access internet. Its objectives are:

  • To favour work coordination and collaboration between GRC teachers.
  • To integrate geographically isolated areas and to encourage family's participation in education.
  • To make visible school activities and to promote collaboration culture.
  • To make rural children acquire technological abilities.
  • To increase the level of contact and group work among children of the same GRC school, by sharing resources and activities.
  • To offer exercises and accessible contents through the Internet which can be used as an educational support at home.


Main issues to be discussed
  • New technologies as a tool in the building of the community in scattered areas
  • Strengthening of GRC educational model
  • Technological designs adapted to people and to a lack in technological resources

CDR Portas Abertas, a transformation in the community bonds

imaxen Asociación Portas Abertas

Portas Abertas' CDR is an association which was set up in 1990 in the region of Verín, and integrated in COCEDER. It undertakes an integral development program in rural areas, and it is characterised by its integrity, proximity, prevention, whole-coverage, and transparency.

Its working areas are social services (providing different inclusion programs), economic development and employment generation, environment, and equality. It promotes different programs aimed to every social group. It is someone that they can trust, usually neighbours that they already know and have a good relationship with.

Rural identity is one of the aspects that Portas Abertas' CDR works on. The association values it and works on its conservation. It encourages the recovering of the community bonds and relations. This is carried out with new ways of volunteering commitment, in a context of a deep change in which there is a shrinking in rural population, and childhood and youth concentrate in the main town of the region.


Main issues to be discussed:
  • Technical role as a provider of endogenous answers
  • Provision of services adapted to people, in accordance with their needs
  • Decline and transformation of the rural community bonds

AFAOR, a cooperative response to Alzheimer's

AFAOR is a private association focused on raising conscience and awareness, informing, promoting, encouraging new programs and services in Ourense, to improve the quality of life of people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, as well as the quality of life of their families, through understanding and a positive attitude.

imaxen AFAOR

In AFAOR's development, Cooperative of Ribeiro was one of the driving forces and the wine-producing company's social commitment is still continuing. In 2013, the launching of Lua Jazz took place. It consisted of 468 unique bottles of five years aged Brut Nature and a solidarity's goal: to raise funds for the project “Viña Costeira Rural Alzheimer”, managed by AFAOR

Main issues to be discussed:
  • Cooperative’s role in accordance to one of their identity features: the concern for the local community
  • The provision of services to patients and their families, by incorporating the caring perspective
  • The change in attitude and response towards ALzheimer's

Asociación Antonio Gandoy, commitment to education

imaxen Asociación Antonio Gandoy

The “asociación socio-educativa Antonio Gandoy” (socio-educational association Antonio Gandoy) is created in February 2013, by members of the former “Preescolar na Casa” who want to preserve its legacy: the educational services offered to families in rural areas, as well as a way of life, in which the professional performance was linked to a personal commitment.

The association's aim is to help families to improve their educational practice, by incorporating this integral conception and by trying to offer the best development possibilities to every boy and girl, in order that living in a rural area does not imply to suffer discrimination.


Main issues to be discussed:
  • Educational services adapted to territorial inclusion, in a context of shrinking and scattered territory
  • The recovering of a previous program following a stage-management approach of their work

Horsal, embarking on vegetable gardening with the best support

Horsal agricultural cooperative is the first Galician horticultural producer. It was created in 1986, and it has more than 100 partners. It is located in Cambados, but its activities cover other Galician regions.

imaxen Horsal

Production volume is an important factor to improve the development of its commercializing activities. Therefore, to increment that volume, Horsal started a campaign to promote vegetable farming activities for the unemployed.

Horsal offers advice to start-up vegetable gardening in a direct way (to interested people) or in a collaborative way (to intermediary entities). In addition, Horsal carries out product commercialisation


Main issues to be discussed
  • Which type of supports are better to embark in vegetable gardening? In this case, it provides product commercialization, as well as technical support.
  • The success of new agrarian initiatives is dependent on peoples believe in their project, as well as their identification with the work they carry out.

CDR Ancares, local community's leading role

imaxen CDR Ancares

Ancares CDR's goal is to be on the side of people and work in obtaining a better life quality. In addition, it also aims not to let this area “die”. In order to avoid so, we seek for economic activity sources. It is an integral project which covers social, economic, and educational aspects, etc. It is integral, as it emerged from the community, and is going to be carried out by the community.

In addition to the promotion of activities that generate economic wealth, CDR supports programs aimed for women, childhood, and, in collaboration with “Cáritas”, provides settlement assisting programs for the elderly. What differentiates this service is its respect towards the will of the elderly

Needs defined by the elderly are attended: for them it might be more needed to chop wood than to clean the window's glass; or do part of gardening work that requires more physical strength so that they can still do the one that requires less and keep doing this activity, just as two examples.

Moreover, he person who offers this support is chosen by the elderly, not assigned to them. It is someone they can trust, usually neighbours that they already know and have a good relationship with.


CDR Os Ancares, Proxecto Symbios from SymbiosProyect on Vimeo.

Main issues to be discussed:
  • The technical facilitator role of the endogenous population.
  • The provision of services adapted to the people, and designed according to the necessities defined by them.