mOther Earth


An international program to revive rural Europe through mobilizing local youth and contribute to a green, digital and resilient recovery of its economy

United Nations Endorsement

The program mOther Earth has been officially recognized and published by the United Nations as the SDG Acceleration Action #SDGAction46967.

An innovative multi-stakeholder partnership that has an impact on SDGs

The innovativeness of the approach to SDGs implementation on the ground lies in three dimensions: integrating and enabling; going to the ‘field’; and including everyone.

First, instead of duplicating what’s already being done – we INTEGRATE and ENABLE others. We find local entities and activists who have already been trying to implement one small element of the project on their own. We learn from their experience and the ideas they have. Using our methods from the SDG Good Practice (#SDGAction33515), we enable them to make small but impactful changes to multiply their positive effect. We feature and promote what they do under the umbrella of the SDG partnership to add credibility to their initiative and allow them to open doors. We connect them to initiatives locally and internationally that can give them a boost.

Second, instead of inventing or re-inventing how the project for rural areas can be done from the comfort of a city apartment – we GO TO THE ‘FIELD’. We spend months in various rural locations, meeting local people, asking what they enjoy about living in a village and what they are missing. At the same time, it allows us to truly experience local life - the challenges and advantages it has. And of course, to create deeper meaningful connections with the people and entities who will become the partners in implementing this SDG action in the near future.

Third, instead of limiting this SDG partnership to only a few entities – we INCLUDE everyone. Starting from the pilot project in Spain, to make sure that there is support, political will, and alignment with existing policies and actions, we have invited every single regional and provincial government to be part of it. In the brainstorming process during the fieldwork, we have already included local people from 3 years old to 87 years old. For example, we asked 260 children from a local school between 3 and 12 years old to draw or write what they love about their village and what ideas they have for it. They were extremely enthusiastic and proud to participate in formulating what will be the future of their village. We made all results, including featured drawings and stories available online publicly.

The encompassing nature of this project calls for truly a multi-stakeholder partnership.

On November 16, at the 7th Future Workplaces Summit by Luxatia International, the co-founders of Think Tank AlterContacts hosted a workshop to explore how Sustainable Corporate Villages can become the Workplace of the Future. Together with 35 participants and an open dialogue, they explored the path to realizing this part of the mOther Earth program.

In October 2022, our co-founder carried out fieldwork in the village of Silleda, Galicia. We are very grateful to the wonderful people of Galicia for their hospitality, good spirit, and sharing their love for the region. Here we introduce local organizations and businesses.

We asked 260 children between 3 and 12 years old how they see the future of their village. All the children are students of the public primary and nursery school CEIP Plurilingüe de Silleda located in a region of Spain - Galicia. The event was part of the United Nations registered initiative - mOther Earth.

Rural Development

The DNA of the project is Rural Development. The goal is to revive and repopulate the rural areas of Spain. It will be achieved through integrating several pillars: Local Youth Development; Academic Innovation; School-to-Work transition; Ecological transition and energy; Agrifood; Biotechnology; Social Entrepreneurship. In line with the Next Generation EU, the idea is to create Villages of the Future (Las Aldeas del Futuro) while preserving the local communities, environment, and cultural heritage.

We aim to provide opportunities for education and employment to rural youth; bring and develop sustainable entrepreneurs in rural communities; and solve the housing crisis by creating rural alternatives. The vision is to create sustainable self-sufficient rural communities driven by youth.

Approach

The approach to solving these is to create Villages of the Future – innovation settlements that bring rural youth, researchers, schools, startups, businesses, experts, and NGOs to reside there and co-create solutions to the most pressing local problems together with the community.

Once we have defined the practice that can be applied more widely, we will create a “learn by doing” movement. We’ll invite representatives from rural communities of the EU and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide to come, stay, learn and then bring this model to their villages with our guidance.

Challenges we address

We will address the key problems of rural Spain, especially España Vaciada:

  • population decline;

  • aging;

  • lack of employment;

  • brain drain;

  • and environmental degradation.

Key Objectives

Acting in full support of the Next Generation EU and Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan we aspire to

  • Create new employment opportunities for the local community and youth from nearby universities.

  • Improve access to education for rural youth and give the youth of cities a chance to learn tangible crafts.

  • Engage universities and schools in collaboration projects.

  • Improve the state of local businesses by providing support and new distribution channels.

  • Remove inequalities by digitizing and improving the state of rural areas.

  • Foster gender balance in rural areas by giving the leading role to female entrepreneurs.

  • Create a more sustainable life on land through designing and implementing breakthrough environmental solutions to issues, like irrigation, zero-footprint housing, and others.

All of these will be achieved through tight partnerships with regional and municipal authorities, local community leaders and entrepreneurs, green incubators and accelerators, universities, and vocational schools, and investors.

About Think Tank AlterContacts

We act as a virtual laboratory of ideas that helps organizations put their minds together and develop sustainable solutions with systemic impact. Our methods are recommended as the United Nations SDG Good Practices. As the Global Think Tank for Sustainable Development, we bring our facilitation and training capabilities, sustainability and innovation expertise, extended network, and the power to connect. You can read more on the About page.

EU Break Fellowship Program 2022

The co-founder of Think Tank AlterContacts, Julia Skupchenko, has been selected to participate in The Break 2022 Fellowship Programme with the project "mOther Earth" to revive rural Spain. During the fellowship in October 2022, we carried the fieldwork in the village of Silleda in the region of Galicia, including open interviews with local youth, sustainable entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, and an event at the primary school of Silleda involving 360 children.

EU Startup Village Pledge

We pledge to support the creation of opportunities for social and economic development for rural communities. By integrating sustainable methods and innovative approaches with rich natural resources and the cultural heritage of rural areas, we aim to create self-sufficient communities driven by youth and female entrepreneurs. We will bring together local people, businesses, authorities, NGOs, schools, researchers, start-ups, and investors to co-create an alternative, green, sustainable and prosperous future for the rural areas and their present and future residents.

SDG Good Practices

The project will integrate the existing SDG Acceleration Actions of the Think Tank AlterContacts:

In the implementation, we will utilize the practices we developed for SDG Good Practice “Lockdown Economy” #SDGAction33515.

Media About

Impact on Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 8: Sustainable Economic Growth

Target 8.2: Diversify, innovate and upgrade for economic productivity

Target 8.3: Promote support for job creation and growing enterprises

Target 8.4: Improve resource efficiency in consumption and production

Target 8.6: Promote youth employment, education and training

SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Target 1.4: Equal rights to ownership, basic services, technology and economic resources

Target 1.5: Build resilience to environmental, economic and social disasters

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Target 3.4: Promote mental health

SDG 4: Quality Education

Target 4.4: Increase the number of youth who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

Target 4.5: Eliminate all discrimination in education

Target 4.7: Education for sustainable development and global citizenship

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Target 5.5: Ensure full participation in leadership and decision-making

Target 5.A: Equal rights to economic resources, property ownership and financial services

Target 5.B: Promote empowerment of women through technology

SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Target 10.2: Promote universal social, economic and political inclusion

Target 10.3: Ensure equal opportunities and end discrimination

Target 10.7: Responsible and well-managed migration policies

SDG 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Target 15.1: Conserve and restore terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems

Target 15.3: End desertification and restore degraded land

Target 15.9: Integrate ecosystem and biodiversity in governmental planning

SDG 17: Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Target 17.6: Knowledge sharing and cooperation for access to science, technology and innovation

Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development

Target 17.17: Encourage effective partnerships


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