ES VICIS Working Model
To develop its objectives, ES VICIS operates under a cooperation model that includes governments, communities and NGOs, and invests resources and time in the selection of these key partners.
ES VICIS ensures the direct management of the first pilot project and develops activities focussing on empowerment and local capacity building.
Under the operational phases of the programme, the model will be replicated on a medium scale with ES VICIS acting as mentor and the government and NGOs becoming jointly responsible for taking it forward.
The empowered government and NGOs will lead the implementation of future replications of the programme.
Phase 1; Pre-feasibility Surveys
Identify if there is interest and potential in a region for developing an ES VICIS project by presenting the idea to the relevant local stakeholders. If so, engage three local Key Partners – experts on the villages, job opportunities and housing, that are willing to work together to search, visit and evaluate suitable regions. Identify a short list of villages, based on the initial evaluation of the Key Partners, with the highest economic and social growth potential to welcome entrepreneurial newcomers. In this phase an initial mapping of potential sources of finance for entrepreneurs is also undertaken e.g. local micro credit institutions.
Phase 2; Pilot Project Village Selection / Planning & Budget
After mapping the regions, explorations trips to identify the best village to start the programm takes place. A minimum of 20 villages explored are evaluated under specific criteria : (i) Community authorities fully commited to grow in population enabling families to migrate (ii) Social capital: showed by the primarly existance of civil associacions and the high interest of the community members in the collaboration to the ES VICIS programme. (iii) The village has sufficient land available to build at least 30-40 houses. The Selection of the Pilot Project village takes place in this phase, followed by a detailed list of all required activities and milestones for the operation of the program is compiled together with a project plan allocating roles and responsibilities and an itemized budget.
Phase 3; Agreements / Fundraising
A Community Committee is established, and agreements with relevant stakeholders are formalized and signed. At the same time, fundraising for non-refundable resources is launched to cover the operational activities. Adequate sources of finance are identified and allocated.
Phase 4; Preparatory Activities (first part of the operational phase)
We (i) discover the village and region opportunities and then (ii) we recruit, select the entrepreneurs (iii) we prepare them with business education as well as appropriate training in the skills required to build their new homes. (iv) business plans are developed and credit applications submitted to the nominated financial institutions. (v) The Community Committee obtains any permits and credit required for the new business. (vi) The location (even if temporary) is allocated and all the materials to start business are purchased. (vii) Construction materials are also ordered to be delivered by the time the beneficiary arrives in the village.
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.
Phase 5; Migration takes place (second part of the operational phase)
(i) The beneficiaries (and eventually also their families) move into temporary housing in the village. (ii) Work starts on setting up their business and building their new home in accordance with the project plan. (iii) The Community Committee promotes the newly established business in the village and region, to give the fledgling business the best chance of breaking-even within the planned time frame. (iv) Houses are completed, and rest of the family moves to the village. (v) With the support of the Community Committee, families are integrated into the community. Children are registered in the local schools and social activities for the newcomers are organized. During this phase and parallel to the implentation of the pilot project, ES VICIS starts working with the Key Partners on a medium-scale replication of the project in up to 15 villages.
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.
Phase 6; Scaling up in 15 villages & Degressive Exit
During the implementation of the pilot project, beneficiaries are engaged in a series of activities with guidance and mentorship to further enable them to develop their own businesses (1 year mentorship after their businesses go live), and are provided support to integrate into their new community (for 6 months after migration). During this time the involvement of ES VICIS and its subsidiary NGOs is gradually phased out. All components of the project, from its design and implementation, to the progress towards achievement of objectives are assessed after the houses have been constructed during a Mid-term Review. A Completion Review is also undertaken at the time when ES VICIS exits the project in Colonia Belgrano. A follow-up review is carried out by ES VICIS two years after project exit.
The model is replicated at a medium scale (up to 15 villages) with ES VICIS acting as mentor and the government and NGOs becoming jointly responsible going forward.
ES VICIS exits the program in the country after the implementation of the scale up. After this, the program stays in the hands of fully-empowered government and local NGOs. Thus, any further replication of the program is implemented under local management.
Although the program is highly innovative, its components (development of sustainable businesses in villages, housing construction, entrepreneur training and support) are not. The innovative part is to bring together all the largely existing individual efforts to repopulate a rural village and hence reverse rural exodus. Working together with three local NGOs, our program offers to a minimum of 20 low-income families the possibility to move from fast growing cities to the village. These families all have an entrepreneurial background and the capacity to establish a business to fill an existing gap/opportunity in the village. The program also includes training and guidance to support the building of a home (partly through self-building in groups) and the integration of the new families in the host community.