The rural-urban challenge is two sides of the same coin. The problem of the cities lies in their overcrowding. The problem of rural areas is the lack of adequate planning and investment.
Therefore, we work to decentralize cities by uplifting rural areas, for a better future for both residents and our planet. We focus on planning and investing to unlock the potential of small, rural towns and villages around the globe, promoting neo-ruralization. We take a market-based approach: we help identify socio-economic opportunities in villages, i.e., the “demand”, while working to train residents or recruit newcomers with needed talents, i.e., the “supply.”
Unlike many other efforts, our program offers a systemic and comprehensive approach to addressing unsustainable migration and rural decline. We work with both receiving communities and migrants to build a bridge. By identifying the socio-economic opportunities in villages and matching them with individuals who have the needed skills and experience, our program offers those communities products and services that were lacking, as well as expanding employment and economic vitality. In short, it fast tracks the community’s revitalization.
By helping community members build skills and outsiders with desired skills relocate to these communities, it addresses rural economic decline and urban migration cost-effectively. Our target beneficiaries are rural community members and re-migrants (our term for those who return to rural areas). We seek to be a bridge for these groups—both to connect them to each other and to connect each to economic opportunity.
Our program rests on three pillars: Welcome, Business, Home. The first consists of ensuring the local authorities and community are committed to welcoming newcomers— and that re-migrants are open and willing to join a new community. The second is identifying whether the town has sufficient economic opportunities for re-migrants— and that they have the skills to match. The third is ensuring the village has the infrastructure—housing, roads, schools, health services and good internet connectivity—necessary to be attractive. Only towns with these characteristics are selected to participate in the program.
Planning sustainable rural repopulation and leveraging investments. A model that only works in cooperation across sectors.
The “Welcome to my Village” program of the ES VICIS Foundation is designed with a work model structured in six phases: Phases 1 to 3 are dedicated to working on the Communities committed to discovering their potential, helping their in-depth evaluation and a fresh start, as well as the financial partners committed to supporting. Phases 4 and 5 are oriented towards their repopulation, with the selection and resettlement of urban families that fit the identified opportunities, and Phase 6 – the exit of our support – is dedicated to anchoring the process, learning from the path. The community is aware of how to grow, shares lessons learned and results, and compares baselines with new evaluations.
The plan is robust, comprehensive and offers a holistic approach to sustainable repopulation and relocation, and is only deployed if there is cooperation from local partners. Our local partners include local governments, private companies, economic development agencies, civil society and each country’s Swiss embassy. With this local strength explored in the initial phase in line with the objectives signed in the commitments, future resource investments will be made to achieve successful project outcomes.
In cooperation with local and international partners, we offer both residents and re-migrants a comprehensive economic revitalization package, including trainings, marketing studies, housing and business loans, and social financing.
We help each locality develop a 30-year strategic plan, with specialists and workshops aimed at construction of the plan and its implementation. With community members, we also work on changing the pervasive but false narrative that success can only come by leaving for the city. Our work with re-migrants includes interviews to get to know the applicant and their family and entrepreneurship training, with a focus on designing a business plan. Selected entrepreneurs, including both re- migrants and locals, are provided 24 months of training and mentoring.
This approach can lead to measurable improvements in targeted communities on at least nine of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including positive impacts on poverty, health and well-being, education, gender equality, inequality, and community sustainability.
“We, as individuals in this human family, have migrated in the past, migrate now and will always migrate in search of work in a peaceful environment, for a better future for ourselves and our loved ones.”
–Cintia Jaime – co-founder and CEO of ES VICIS Foundation
Our average client’s experience
Growth in 3 years.
In May 2016
In May 2019
(*) Suffered from poor health, endured dangerous living conditions, felt socially isolated, disconnected from neighbors
Feel they have found their place in the world, know their neighbors’ names, help and receive help from their neighbors, volunteer in their community
(*) Lived as informal entrepreneurs in survival mode, did not pay taxes; possessed technical knowledge and experience in construction and textile production, but did not have business savvy; lacked connections or work network, forcing them to “go it alone”
Run successful businesses with living incomes; operate in the formal economy and pay taxes; operate with a business plan that guides business decisions, such as marketing, new ventures, and product launches; evaluate decisions based on risks and business performance thanks to business training; network with other entrepreneurs.
(*) Rented or lived with relatives, tyically under precarious and uncomfortable circunstances
Own their own homes, often in custom-built houses with yards or gardens
Rural Community Success
Growth in 3 years.
In May 2016
In May 2019
4 short-term rentals
New homes built with private financing
Plots of land acquired to build new homes
New homes built with social financing
New constructions of shops and workshops
New businesses nor related to agriculture business
Employment in non-agricultural businesses