The REBOUND project (Fostering Resilience in Rural Communities) has published a report on the State of the Art and Practices of Rural Community Resilience. The aim of this report is to provide an analysis of innovative processes and patterns pertaining to rural resilience across Europe. It is the first major output of the REBOUND project and offers an introductory document to inform the development of training materials. Our LDnet colleagues, Alistair Adam Hernandez and Urszula Budzich-Tabor are among its authors.
The authors sum up the main findings as follows:
The research reveals that the process of resilience-building is not something that can be easily pinned down, nor it is a matter that is ever finished. Drawing from quantitative and qualitative evidence, from studies based in Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and EU-wide perspective, we identified key factors and challenges of a resilient rural community.
In promoting rural resilience, the main factors are:
1) animation activities and engaging with locals, community-level action, engendering social capital, fostering community networks and leadership;
2) acknowledging change and on-going capacity building, including education, raising awareness, sharing experiences and skills;
3) an enabling environment and policy context whereby specificity of place and local service provision with a community structure are enabled and that is an umbrella body and which supports community development in a cluster of communities; and
4) good governance (e.g. having a participative structure with decision-making competencies) along with local ownership.
The respondents perceive the local citizens’ lack of engagement and the dominance of strong voices as the biggest barrier to resilience. Yet, they see need for solutions to come from the top down – meaning enabling environment at policy level with sufficient financial means. The LEADER/CLLD approach is widely recognised, as the EU-wide policy approach, that can systematically support communities to become more resilient. In some countries with longer tradition of LEADER/CLLD, Local Action Groups have also worked as local development agencies, and they combine LEADER with other resources.
The full report is available HERE.