Socially innovative solutions for the challenges of rural regions

Winter school at ADCMoura, Portugal

The ESRs during the seminar in Moura | photograph by Lukasz

The ESRs during the seminar in Moura | photograph by Lukasz Rogowski

| From 30 to and 31 January 2018 our second internal seminar took place in Portugal. ADCMoura and the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) hosted us in Moura.

ADCMoura is a local development company (https://adcmoura.pt) that is active in the area of Baixo Alentejo (Portugal). The region has to deal with different challenges, amongst others outmigration, an aging population and high unemployment. ADCMoura undertakes and supports a range of different projects cooperate closely with the local vulnerable population such as the Roma community, elderly people, small-scale farmers, etc. to promote territorial development in an integrated and collaborative way. During an interesting field trip, we got to explore the region and some of the initiatives of ADCMoura by ourselves. Together, we discussed our first analysis of the region and the possible solutions to problems we had come across. Since some of us will be back for a secondment at ADCMoura, this provided a great first introduction to the region.

During the seminar, we as ESRs also shared our current state of research with each other. Furthermore, ISCTE provided us with some academic inspiration. José Manuel Henriques enlighted us with a historical perspective on social innovation. Maria de Fátima Ferreiro provided us with insights into the increased complexity of problems in rural areas in relation to social innovation.

We ended our visit in the lovely village of Monsara. With its idyllic white streets and grandview of the surrounding area, this provided a beautiful decor for our good-bye dinner. All in all, it were two intensive, but very inspiring days. The field trip and the stories of the team at ADCMoura showed us why it is so important that research is done in this field. ADCMoura undertakes great work every day and needs research and policy to help them in their efforts. Our thanks goes out to ISCTE and ADCMoura for providing us with this inspiration. With special thanks to Clara for making us feel so at home!

Lucas Olmedo & Mara van Twuijver

This blog was also published at https://emesphdnetwork.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/ruraction-project