How do you imagine a town that is located near the coast of the Liguarian sea, 20 minutes from well-known Sanremo and just a few kilometers from Monte Carlo? Gorgeous ? Rich? Prosperous? Those are the first expectations that people usually have after arriving in Arma di Taggia – location of the training course. However, the truth is a little bit different. Arma di Taggia and villages nearby are a bright example of issues and difficulties connected with rural areas that we can also meet all over Europe.
Rural and remote areas in Europe and all around the globe, even nowadays, in the century of Internet and globalization meet a wide range of problems that people from bigger cities do not usually think about. Despite advanced tourism, there is a small number of essentials nearby. What leads to the situations when individuals from rural areas often cannot quickly and efficiently receive decent medical service, access to educational opportunities and be fully included in society. It is one of the main reasons why young people are leaving these places as soon as possible – not because they do not like their homes, but because they are eager to be as socially included, to have the same variety of opportunities as people from bigger settlements. Nonetheless, this situation can be changed for the better.
During training “Country roads” participants from Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal and Spain were learning and exploring deeper the causes and subsequences of rural areas problems and what is highly important, have tried to find the solutions to solve them.
To do so, together with the “Young Effect” team and facilitators, participants of the training course started their five day training with a brief theoretical study in order to have background knowledge of the rural areas. Of course theory knowledge is always essential to find a solution, however the most valuable and exciting part of the training course was ahead.
Participants were given an opportunity to explore and observe rural areas from the inside. Thanks to the careful program planning, young people participating in the project were not only able to interview locals asking about their needs and demands, but also to visit two outstanding, beautiful villages nearby: to see how people live, where their work and study, what worries them and even to get to know some local customs and superstitions that can appear only in the rural areas. Icing on the cake was a visit to Sanremo. Not to see expensive boats and alleyways of the winners of the music festival, but to get acquainted with a local NGO “Pigna mon amour” helping and supporting young people from Sanremo and areas around. The organization pays special attention to those young people coming from low-income families or neighborhoods with a high criminal level.
Learning is a wonderful and amazing process that changes us and gives us the knowledge to make this world a little bit better, but we must never forget about the value of a little break. In the evenings, after hard studies and rural areas exploring, our participants had some time to get to know each other better. They shared stories from their cultures, personal life, taught each other new board games and even organized a latino dances master class.
At the end of the project every participant received an official European certification – YOUTHPASS.
We hope that knowledge and skills that participants have received during the training course will be implemented into practical practices in their lives which will help with social inclusion of those living in rural and remote areas in Europe and beyond. To help them with it and also to give individuals outside the project interested in the “Country roads” objectives, together with participants “Young effect” team has prepared a tool kit aiming to be a support for young people in solving problems and developing action strategies in rural areas.
You can download the toolkit HERE: