Argentina leads the world ranking, with 92% of the population living in some cities that are growing out of control and collapsing. The other side of this reality is a vast empty country, which offers thousands of rural villages that have been losing their population for decades.
With 43 millions inhabitants, Argentina offers one of the major disproportions in rural-urban population in the world, as alerted by the ONU. (*) It has also 15 millions people living in poverty.
At first, our solution proposal was considered a utopia that could not be proven, let alone in Argentina.
Internationally, Argentina was viewed with distrust, as it showcased a difficult political and economic scenario (2013). Even against all odds, this test was SUPPORTED by all sectors within this country. We have faced changes at the National, Provincial and Communal government, hyperinflation during all these years, and despite that, the test has been fulfilled successfully.
Province: Santa Fe
Name of village: Colonia Belgrano
Project Number: 2015 / AR01
Why the province of Santa Fe?
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
With the support of the Swiss Embassy in Argentina we selected the Province of Santa Fe, as this Provincial government has a culture of respect for pre-existing pacts if there are changes of government (this is an indispensable culture in a 6-year program). Also this province possesses a good communication with the civil society sector, that allows to join efforts to guarantee the success of the test. Santa Fe has 312 villages, of which 90% are decreasing in population. Santa Fe has two major cities, Santa Fe city and Rosario.
We offered the Government of the Province of Santa Fe an opportunity to discover concrete business opportunities in regions with peaceful and prosperous rural villages that were losing their population within regions of potential. In turn also to identify and select young families, disadvantaged by the dynamics of uncontrolled urbanization of Rosario and Santa Fe but with an entrepreneurial profile and the knowledge to develop a business.
The program “Bienvenidos a mi pueblo” and the Phases of ES VICIS
Phases 4 & 5 are the description of the program “Bienvenidos a mi pueblo” itself. Indeed, the Pilot Project and other future selected communities in the scale up phase of the program, are the visible part of the program “Bienvenidos a mi pueblo” consisting of three steps that take place within the phases 4-5 of the model of ES VICIS, as follows:
Step 1. Discovering community and regional opportunities. Deep study to identify economic resources, business opportunities, social profile of the community and development potential of the village and region.
Step 2. Getting ready. Identifying and gathering entrepreneurs with a family group willing to migrate and live in the village, with enough knowledge and abilities that would allow them to develop those economic opportunities in the community. They also receive training for the development of a business plan to start the project, with credit lines, mentorship, and additional support to build a house of their own, as outlined in step 3.
Step 3. Implementing. The families’ migration process takes place at the same time as each business is established and begins its activities. At this stage, families are organized and offered guidance in groups for building their own houses along with the other selected families. The mentorship for the new businesses takes place during the following 6 months in an intense manner, followed by a less intensive period of another 6 months. To ensure a successful integration, families will be accompanied during an additional 6 months after the construction of their houses is completed.
http://www.todoagro.com.ar/noticias/nota.asp?nid=13578 (iii) 800 villages at risk: http://www.clarin.com/rural/expoagro/pueblos-gente-desaparecieron_0_659934067.html ONU alert Argentina 92% of population living in cities : http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/Argentina-gente-vive-ciudades_0_580742004.html
(**) Links: Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe, is one of the most violent cities in Argentina. BBC news: http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias/2014/04/140415_rosario_violencia_narco_argentina_irm (ii) 10% of villages growth : http://www.todoagro.com.ar/noticias/nota.asp?nid=13578