14 SES 09 A, Policies and Actions to Promote School-Family-Community Links - Communitarian Practices
The Project “À Descoberta do Mundo Rural [Discovering th Rural World]” was a fifteen month-long project, thought and developed as a partnership between the Portuguese “Instituto das Comunidades Educativas (Institute of Educational Communities) - ICE” and ANIMAR (Portuguese Association for Local Development), and it was financed by both national and European funds. This project emerged from the profound need, felt by both ICE and ANIMAR, as well as their formal and informal collaborators, partners and associates, of valuing and promoting the visibility of what is happening, in terms of local development, in the country’s rural areas.
Its general purpose was, therefore, to identify formal and informal local development initiatives, taking place in a rural context, in 26 of Portugal’s municipal councils, while making visible those which were considered “good practices” in the most diverse fields: arts, culture, citizenship, patrimony, sports, inter-generational activities, education, health, senior initiatives, social and solidary economy, community development, etc.
Aside from this general purpose, the project was designed and executed according to other more specific purposes, such as: creating value for these initiatives through the promotion of their visibility and the recognition of their importance for the local development processes; promoting the sharing of experiences between several implicated and interested actors, and igniting synergies between them; identifying new kinds of initiatives; and, especially, making clear the diversity and the movements that exist in the Portuguese rural context.
The territories were selected based in three criteria: 1) some territories with initiatives of which either ICE or their collaborators knew about; 2) some territories with initiatives of which either ANIMAR or their associates knew about; 3) territories about which neither ICE nor ANIMAR had great knowledge of what had been going on in terms of local development in rural context, due to great changes that had taken place in previous years, such as the closing of schools and associations. In all three cases, an exploratory approach was adopted, with the purpose of identifying initiatives which were still unknown for the project’s partners.
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