Advancing Social innovation in rural areas
Initiatives discussed in Zaragoza under SIMRA initiative
- February 04, 2020 10:30
SIMRA project or Social Innovation in Marginalized Rural Areas is a Horizon 2020-funded project.
The main objectives of the project are six but they have one thing in common. They aim to give a scientific understanding that will enhance the social innovation in terms of social needs, priorities, relationships and collaboration in certain impacted rural areas. This way it will create new opportunities for people in these areas and serve as a basis for success stories.
There are numerous success stories shared on the platform of SIMRA in areas such as forest management, local farming, fisheries, local development and energy from countries all over Europe and Northern Africa.
The importance of the project is that it brings together a variety of local and national public and private actors that work towards development in any combination of these three factors – social, economic and environmental. Social innovation is what makes difference everywhere but it is especially true for distant rural areas in different countries.
Zaragoza social innovation initiative
One good example may come from Zaragoza, Spain. In the beginning of December, 2019, more than 30 experts gathered in the city to discuss how social innovation can help develop and revitalize the region.
The talks started by discussing the example of Empenta Artieda Initiative that used socialization as a way to improve the situation of many people in the area through meetings and various activities. Some of the projects that were part of this initiative, included helping the elderly.
The experts that gathered in Zaragoza analyzed all key aspects that lead to a success story in order to create the conditions that will serve for a successful project here as well. David Miller, a coordinator for SIMRA project, expressed the opinion that there are a lot of motivated people in the rural areas that have the capacity to understand the problems they are facing and find good solutions for these problems.
One of the main obstacles before such an initiative, however, is the lack of funding. Again, according to Miller, it is not so much a matter of lack of money than a lack of knowledge how to access such funding as well as the poor infrastructure that will further hinder the process of social innovation in such areas.
The objectives that will make a project in Zaragoza successful must include knowledge hubs and raising awareness in terms of financing, construction of transport and Internet infrastructure, etc. More successful stories of social innovation are needed in order to reach the farthest and poorest regions of the continent and areas under SIMRA.
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