Our journey


We are happy to share this journey “from idea to reality” with you. We hope you find it as exciting as we have experienced it. We can say that so far it has been a very successful journey, because we have been overcoming one by one the obstacles to prove that neo-ruralization works and that we can restore with this initiative the rural-urban imbalances.

The story of the trip focuses on the founders, Cintia Jaime and Daniel Winzenried, and Ambassador Matyassy, ​​for his substantial help to develop the pilot and his integration in the foundation as Board Member.

But no challenging journey can be accomplished by three people without the help of many other people who make it possible, and there are some people who have been key in the process. And even then it is not enough, that is why we ask you to imagine between the lines, the support of hundreds of people who have joined the efforts, in the intermediate steps and actions, to make it possible.

It can be assumed that this trip was made between Switzerland and Argentina, because we did the pilot in that country, and because there we are also advanced in our scale. Daniel is Swiss, Cintia has dual nationality, was born in Argentina and has lived in Switzerland since 1995, and Johannes, as an ambassador, knows both realities. However, that would be a misunderstanding. From the beginning, our path as entrepreneurs had a global thought, within a personal path that involves previous impressions and understandings, in our trips in other cultures and continents that led us to plant ourselves and seek a solution to the rural-urban challenge globally.

Finally, the journey shows our starting point (2013-2022) the changes within a global context in just 9 years. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen the change that we want to see in this world with the speed that we want. The goal of our ES VICIS foundation is to reverse the rural exodus. That is why we are aware that, although we have experienced the trip as successful and exciting, we know that we are only at the beginning…

  • 2009-2013

    Our journey

    Awareness of the global rural urban challenges
    Cintia, Daniel, Johannes can not ignore how devastated rural areas and the inequalities and major challenges of cities are.

    Visits slums and poor neighborhoods in Asia Latin America and Africa.

    Argentina: 92% urban population 8% rural population (average was 60/40%) suffering the many challenges of this migration trend.


    The world context

    There is a structural breakdown in rural areas
    with the technification of the countryside and other economic and environmental causes, families in the villages are left without an income.
    Cities growth fast and show major socio-economic and environmental challeges

    Lack of infrastructure in urban areas to provide adequate education and health care.

    High unemployment rates shape social differences in the cities and ignite social violence.

    (UN 2009). Considered the rural-urban trend irreversible.
    Environmental challenges in urban areas due to overpopulation, unsustainable production and consumption.
    Inmigration waves in Europe


  • 2013

    Our journey

    Crafting of the idea of neo-ruralization

    Cintia's personal research: asking hundreds of people who come from the villages why they choose to live in such precarious conditions."We live where we can, not where we want"
    "Show me a place where I can live with a decent job and I will move there with my family"

    It was clear that people would be ready to move out of the city, back to any town (not just the town they left) if other opportunities arise, however, they need guidance and help to know if the business could work, to set up their business , and have a home.

    Cintia met Prof. Georg von Schnurbein and started studies at the Centre of Philanthropy Basel.


    The world context

    54% of world‘s population live in urban areas world Bank predicts 66% will be in cities in 2050

  • 2014

    Our journey

    Pilot project in Argentina (country with 92% - 8% urban-rural population)

    Ambassador Johannes Matyassy, offers the support of the Swiss Embassy to communicate with the Argentinian government and define the region where to develop the pilot.

    Under the name of the initiative “SwissVision” an event was launched at the Di Tella University. 

    Santa Fe Province was selected as the best option to develop the pilot. 

    Local expertise is hired to map the area.

    First exploratory trip to 14 villages losing population in the Santa Fe region.


    First diagnosis:

    Villages do not prosper because of the scarcity or even the total lack of services and basic products.

    Local investment is lacking.

    They need help to understand their socioeconomic potential.

    They have installed narratives of expulsion telling young people that if they want to achieve something, leave this town.

    Jean-Pierre Stern, a CEPS student, introduces Limmatstiftung. This foundation based in Zurich gives support to the initiative holding events for fundraising purposes. Only CHF 300 were raised. The initiative did not find echo.


    The world context

    “Smart cities” 

    concept relaying improvement based on technology is crafted and fostered around the world.
    The new solution trend triggers billions of investments.

    Poorly financed projects arise in rural areas oriented to foster agriculture business to integrate population and avoid youth exile.

    FAO directs resources to reposition family farming as a key sector to achieve the eradication of hunger and the exile of rural peoples of the world.

  • 2015

    Our journey

    Colonia Belgrano, celebrated that it is selected for the pilot.

    Daniel proposes rebranding SwissVision.
    With Cintia created the name ES VICIS (meaning in Latin, “Be the change”)
    They created the logo of the foundation.
    The first website is launched.

    Daniel developed and structured a 6-phases working model.

    Cintia created the program Welcome to My Village in detail.

    Carla Della Maggiora helped to structure and review the Gannt and the pilot evaluation indicators to measure progress.

    The teams in Switzerland and Argentina have been installed and work with Video conferences, shared documents, and harnessing technology on the home office model. From the beginning, this modality of project management, which at that time was quite cutting-edge, worked surprisingly well.

    Cintia’s Diploma Thesis
    Economic Migration and the Demographic Explosion in Urban Areas
    The need of an intervention plan for other urban-rural migration outcomes


    The world context

    Large foundations and international agencies have refrained from financial support on our initiative

    Avina foundation, Trafigura, and other six foundations rejected the initiative. “too many stakeholders” “too much risk” “low legitimation” As for the Agencies, “not matching criterias”

    Limmatstiftung: Due to the lack of funds raised, the foundation rejects the initiative and questions the achievements made so far.

    Migration crisis increased

    Over 1 billion people around the world dwell in slums or emergency camps.


  • 2016

    Our journey

    1st. of March:
    Creation of the ES VICIS Foundation with personal financial means from Cintia and Daniel.
    Friends Raffaello Tondolo and Thomas Pfirter join as Board Members. Signatures in Notary in Basel.

    4 March
    Cintia and Daniel launch the pilot at the Di Tella University and Colonia Belgrano.

    The Village Support Commission is created with youth for local empowerment.

    May said: you May!
    The deep mapping is successfully concluded. More than 50 business opportunities are identified.

    Public call to resettle offering support in the 3 pillars program: “Welcome-Business-Home”

    20,000 urban families applied in 4 weeks for the ES VICIS program, willing to resettle in Colonia Belgrano.

    Jun - Aug
    Selection process among 1800 preselected families

    Training urban and local entrepreneurs in the village to develop a business plan

    Selection of best positioned business plans and entrepreneurs

    First family (4 kids) rented a house and started their business.

    New personal financial efforts
    To sustain operations Daniel, Cintia, Thomas Pfirter and Constanza Lisdero committed CHF 160.000


    The world context

    The UN declares that the future of humanity lies in cities. And call for a faster Urbanization at the “New Urban Agenda” Quito-2016

    Quito: the UN launched the New Agenda. All investments and efforts should be put in Urbanization.

    Trillions of USD are set in plan for Urbanization

    3 million people per week (are forced to) migrate from rural areas to cities.

    More than 20 applications for financial support are refrained again.

    The vision is not yet understood. ES VICIS was working countercyclically, against the mainstream. Funds are invested in cities or in agribusiness.



  • 2017

    Our journey

    6 other families resettle in the village with their own businesses

    First prize, media, and international recognitions

    Banco Galicia First Prize
    for economic sustainable development in rural areas.

    50 media appearances on main channels in Argentina.

    BBC Mundo visit Colonia Belgrano

    Cintia and Daniel are invited to lecture at the World Resources Forum in Geneva


    The world context

    As a result of this migratory trend, 1 billion people live in 200,000 emergency neighborhoods around the world.

    The World Bank predicts double the amount of people will inhabit these neighborhoods in 2030.


  • 2018

    Our journey

    Measurements in children shows stunning results as positive change in their lives

    Chronically ill children are treated in the village immediately after moving in and show no symptoms of stress.

    Presentation of the project at the
    as a case in Salamanca and Utrecht

    First trips to Colombia and Bangladesh to explore projects for scaling out Argentina

    Constanza Lisdero join the efforts and launched the first crowdfunding which raised CHF 50.000.


    The world context

    Other initiatives to repopulate villages

    In the attempt to repopulate the villages, there are several initiatives in Europe: the villages in the Swiss Alps pay people to resettle. Houses are sold in Spain and Italy at the symbolic price of 1 Euro. None reached the results of the foundation's pilot. And many fail.

    The Empty Spain movement
    “La España Vaciada” gathers 50.000 manifestants in Madrid to claim for equal investments in Rural areas.

    ES VICIS received first substantial support from a foundation

    Anonymous foundation in Switzerland supported CHF 25.000 and became a long-term partner increasing their support.

  • 2019

    Our journey

    Public investments in Colonia Belgrano are successfully concluded.

    20 families (15 urban and 5 local) became owners of the new homes.

    New measures of the pilot
    Family businesses are flourishing
    Real Estate growth is outstanding

    Media recognition
    The families’ and neighbors’ testimonies are aired 100 times

    Founders are invited to UN to share progress in “SDG 11 in Focus” and the Habitat Day


    The world context

    World personalities standing against Urbanization
    The Dutch urbanist architect, Rem Koolhas, stands against urbanization and creates an exhibition to be launched in February 2020 at the Guggenheim in New York called "Countryside: The Future".

    The European Commission announced that 6 out of 10 immigrants in Europe have mobilized for economic reasons.


  • 2020

    Our journey

    300 urban families and 7 villages per week apply to the program

    The foundation received further recognition,
    founders are invited to 6 other universities and forums.

    Media acclaimed program
    More than 300 apparitions in TV,Radio and Newspapers

    Internal definitions to profile the Scale Model and be operative and financially sustainable
    Definitions of the Module Pentagon: scales 5 cities in a region in parallel,
    management tool system to manage data efficiently
    new matrix for impact measures.

    New financing actions


    The world context

    Pandemic accelerated the need of neo-ruralization

    With the pandemic, migration to cities has stopped. Rather, it now expels underserved people. Urban families walk back home “villages” in India, Peru, and other countries.

    All major newspapers around the world registered the reverse tendency now, urban-rural, looking for a better life!

    Virtual meetings and new working models are adopted harnessing the potential of technology

    These affirmed the pioneer cut-edge teleworking model adopted from the ES VICIS Foundation since 2014 was the right way to go!

    ES VICIS as government advisor
    Two acts of provincial legislatures in Argentina were created with the aim of reversing the migratory trend to urban areas and mentioned our program as a solution. ES VICIS supported the initiatives helping on the content of the law.

    Meetings with different secretariats of the National Government in Argentina, Governments of the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Salta, La Pampa, National Congress and Provincial Governments to share our program.

    Stakeholders from more than 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa expressed their desire to implement Welcome to my Village in the coming years.



  • 2021

    Our journey

    First scale in Argentina
    Santa Fe, 5 villages (phases 1 and 2)

    Winners of a call
    with local partners, we won the National Call to repopulate rural areas and the financial support (70% of total project cost) for 5 villages in Santa Fe

    Customization of the “Welcome to My Village” Platform
    with the IT team support of the company Wingu, which partnered with Salesforce, a new IT platform was customized

    Procedures and Best Practice Manual


    The world context

    ES VICIS as government consultant for neo-ruralization

    The Argentine government at the highest-level, Strategic Secretary, set a meeting to get a closer look at our program. The inputs helped to develop a strategic plan for neo-ruralization in the country.

    Leading IT American company Salesforce offered support
    offered to customize a tool to manage the program

    Worldwide demand
    Stakeholders from more than 20 countries pro-actively contact the foundation to know about the program

    New lectures at Open Geneva , 5 Elements and Gender Justice India and in Latin American and European universities (IAE and Franklin)



  • 2022

    Our journey

    New Measure Matrix

    FLACSO (Faculty of Social Ciences in Latam) helped to improve the measure matrix and evaluation systems.

    New Projects are crafted in phase 1 and 2
    Pergamino, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

    Think Tank for Spain

    Webinars to develop new project in India


    The world context

    Basel Peace Forum questioned urbanization.
    Smart Cities are doubted as a solution.

    Cintia and Daniel are invited as speakers and to give a workshop about neo-ruralization. As well as to other initiatives around the world fostering rural renaissance.