By John Ensor •
Published: 30 Sep 2023 • 14:45
Credit: diputacion Provincial de Malaga.
A pioneering initiative in Malaga aims to rescue its villages from rural depopulation.
On Monday, September 25, a ground-breaking project titled ‘Metavillages: Beyond the City’ was launched. This initiative, targeting the Sierra de las Nieves and Axarquia regions, offers over 20 individuals a unique opportunity to both train and work in areas facing the threat of dwindling populations.
Thirteen companies and seven town councils from the Axarquia and Serrania de Ronda regions have come together for this cause. Their primary aim? To rejuvenate these municipalities.
By partnering with businesses in renewable energies, bio-construction, agro-ecology, and the senior economy, they hope to lure new residents to Malaga’s villages. Out of numerous applicants, 21 individuals, with an average age of 33, were chosen. Interestingly, just over half are women, and 60 per cent possess a university degree.
The project’s initial phase is split into two segments. The first, a week-long theoretical training, recently concluded at the Centre for Social Innovation La Noria.
The subsequent phase, set to commence next Monday at the Benarraba Node, will equip participants with skills enhancing their employability in smaller towns. This comprehensive training covers motivational talks, business taxation, new technology usage, and hands-on workshops.
They’ll also embark on visits to various municipalities, engaging in activities like collaborative cooking and meditation. ‘They are supported by experienced mentors in renewable energy, bio-construction, agro-ecology and senior economics,’ the report states.
To ensure participants fully immerse themselves, they’re being offered residences across 13 localities, in collaboration with seven town councils from Axarquia and Serrania de Ronda. Towns like Algarrobo, Canillas de Aceituno, El Borge, and Ronda are set to welcome these newcomers.
Some participants, accompanied by their families, will also address the pupil shortage in certain municipalities, further boosting employment and development prospects. These new settlers receive allowances for rent, living, and travel, allowing them to concentrate on their training.
The second training phase, spanning five and a half months, will see participants interning at 13 companies specialising in bio-construction or agro-ecology. They’ll acquire skills in areas like Environmental and Marine Sciences, Renewable Energies, and Social Education.
Furthermore, the municipalities of Axarquia and Serrania de Ronda are welcoming these young individuals to manage various social, cultural, and tourist activities, and even care for the elderly.
Antonia Ledesma, the Vice-President for Citizenship and Territorial Balance, emphasised the project’s significance, stating, ‘the inland villages of Malaga must not only receive new settlers, but young people who already live in small municipalities must have opportunities to train and work so that they do not leave and can develop a vital and professional project where they live’.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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