The Social Innovation Actions within the European Union H2020 “Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA)” project have been coordinated by the European Forest Institute and been implemented by project partners from Norway (ENRI/ØF), Lebanon (SEEDS-Int), United Kingdom (the James Hutton Institute and University of Lancaster), Spain (FORECO and EFIMED) and Italy (ETIFOR). These Innovation Actions are grassroots initiatives across Europe and the Mediterranean basin applied to agriculture, forestry, and rural development.
Since 2017, SIMRA partners and local actors have co-developed and implemented strategic steps to advance those initiatives in rural localities. Social Innovation Actions aim at creating impacts in the territory and the market, in businesses, and in building capacity within local governments.
Towards the end of the project is time to take stock of the hands-on experience gained. In Aberdeen, a workshop brought together the SIMRA partners implementing Social Innovation Actions and local actors and stakeholders as well as the Social Innovation Think Tank (SITT), which gathers authorities, practitioners and researchers involved in social innovation across rural areas in Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
Organised in a very dynamic way, this workshop used the Participatory Video technique to help elicit lessons learned from the implementation of Innovation Actions. The Participatory Video allowed the production of knowledge aimed at fostering social change and stimulating dialogue to promote the exchange of ideas and internal capacities of local stakeholders.
In the Participatory Videos, SIMRA partners and the corresponding Local Actors have documented their critical reflections and the knowledge acquired during the implementation phase of the SIMRA Innovation Actions, chiefly (i) what worked well, (ii) what did not work well and (iii) recommendations to others implementing similar initiatives…
Guided by professional facilitators from Insightshare, each Innovation Action recorded its lessons learned in a short film, which triggered discussion with other consortium members and SITT experts. The participatory videos for each SIMRA Innovative Actions are available online.
All SIMRA Participatory Videos documenting lessons learnt are available here:
- Coaching socially disadvantaged women into developing successful small business initiatives (Lancashire and Cumbria counties, United Kingdom; SIMRA partner – ULANC)
- Economic empowerment of women in Deir El Ahmar (North Bekaa, Lebanon; led by SEEDS-int)
- Implementing a land banking initiative in Gúdar-Javalambre, Teruel (Aragón, Spain; led by EFI)
- Norwegian Trekking Association’s role in integrating immigrants in marginalised rural areas of Norway (Gudbrandsdalen, Norway; led by ØF/ENRI)
- Supporting the socio-entrepreneurial potential of local young people in Belluno (Veneto, Italy; led by ETIFOR)
- Community participation for forest value and human wellbeing in the Solsonès county, Lleida (Catalonia, Spain; led by FORECO)
- Integrated Ecosystemic value-enhancement of the Guadeloupe Forest Agrobiodiversity (Guadeloupe, France; led by HUTTON)
Being discussed with Social Innovation Think Tank, this knowledge has been complemented with their expertise and experience in the Report on Lessons Learned from Innovation Actions in Marginalised Rural Areas:
Górriz-Mifsud, E., Melnykovych, M., Marini Govigli, V., Alkhaled, S., Arnesen, T., Barlagne, C., Bjerk, M., Burlando, C., Jack, S., Rodríguez Fernández-Blanco, C., Prokofieva, I., Sfeir, P., Nijnik, M., Slee, B., Miller, D. 2019. Report on Lessons Learned from Innovation Actions in Marginalised Rural Areas. D. 7.3. Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA), pp. 50.
Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) seeks to advance understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry and rural development in marginalised rural areas. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 677622.