A regional workshop was organized in Demonte - Valle Stura/IT in the frame of WP4 – Capacity building and knowledge transfer activities. The workshop lasted two days: the first day was dedicated to a political discussion about the white paper drafted during the project. The second day focused on the possibilities that a mountain area can offer to young people that are willing to settle there and how the mountain can become more attractive for young people that would like to move to a rural area.
The aim of the workshop was to inform the local community of Valle Stura about the PlurAlps pilot project that is taking place in Demonte and to collect some inputs and feedback regarding the white paper that has been developed by some of the PlurAlps partners. The stuff of CIPRA International Lab had also the chance to visit their pilot project l'Arbu carried out by the cooperative Germaninale.
After the two inputs by Elisa Agosti (CIPRA International Lab) and Andrea Membretti (Collegio Carlo Alberto- Eurac Research) the white paper was distributed to the participants that were given some time to read the recommendations proposed. The discussion that followed was lively and rich in suggestions: the participants agreed that the link between the city and the mountain should be strengthened, but that this should not lead to the urbanization of the mountain. There should be a better understanding of what it means to live in mountain areas, because recent phenomena show that inhabitants of the city idealize the mountain and sometimes move there without knowing the difficulties that they are likely to face.
Another point that was raised addressed the need for a dialogue with the institutions, that can provide a certain number of services to the local population and support certain measures to improve the welcoming process of new inhabitants. Very often people coming from outside the mountain valley have to prove themselves before they can be accepted by the local community. This is also the case for external professional that want to settle in the mountains. Overall the need for a space for exchange and to meet each other was stressed.
One representative of a local social enterprise said that they are currently looking for some apartments for migrants that were living in an extraordinary reception center. The center will soon close and they need to look for alternatives. He highlighted the fact the association he is working for decided to avoid any meeting with the local population before the young migrants enter the new apartments. They prefer to follow a tiptoe-strategy, keeping a low profile at the beginning. They prefer to wait for some results and show the population that a peaceful coexistence is possible.
The newly elected mayor of Demonte took part in the workshop and was very engaged in the discussion. He pointed out the fact that in some cases, the local institutions can reduce the barriers that cause the departure of the youth and keep these human resources in the mountain areas. The first and most relevant condition is the economic prosperity, which can allow the community to work and trade. The mayor continued saying the school should be more connected to rural word: the pupils should learn about nature and take part in wood excursions. On the other hand, artisans and workers should be invited to present their jobs in the schools, so that the children get an idea about their professions.
The participants that attended the second day of the workshop dealt with the topic of “repopulation” of the mountain regions. Young students from Piedmont studying in Turin, an Erasmus student from Madrid, the mayor of Demonte, the president of the local mountain union, representatives of different local associations and a retired philosophy teacher took part - among others - in the session.
Sheep of the Germinale cooperative
Clouds in Demonte
Foil tunnel in one of the Germinale fields
All ©: Elisa Agosti