big foot: crossing generations, crossing mountains

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This presentation describes the philosophy behind the European R&D project Big Foot - Crossing Mountains, Crossing Generations focusing on intergenerational learning for sustainable regional development. It also includes a summary description of the project activities and the achieved results so far. More information can be found at or


  • 1. CROSSING GENERATIONS, CROSSING MOUNTAINS 1 CROSSING GENERATIONS, CROSSING MOUNTAINS Thomas Fischer, MENON Network EEIG With the support of Barbara di Pietro, Gour, Vanina Stoyanova, Centre for the Development of North-West Bulgaria (CDNWB), Glykeria Thymiakou, Trikala Development Agency KENAKAP & Christina Strapatsa, Trikala Development Agency KENAKAP EDEN Annual Conference, 12 15 June 2013, Oslo, Norway Demonstration Session B4

2. Migration of younger people to urban areas due to the lack of job opportunities Socio-cultural marginalization of elderly people, loss of their role as promoters of the local knowledge and traditions Lack of opportunities of dialogue among generations and of valorization of existing younger and older inhabitants competences in order to support sustainable community development Loss of Intergenerational connections Sustainable development challenges Rural Mountain Community Challenge 3. Intergenerational Community Service Learning Tool focused on community integration and social dialogue Tool aimed at maintaining physically and mentally active lives of older people Tool aimed at making them feel they are actually useful to society and not a burden Thus that in turn gives them a drive to contribute to community development, while improving at the same time the wellbeing of younger generations. 4. Definition of Intergenerational Learning The way that people of all ages can learn together and from each other. IL is an important part of Lifelong Learning, where the generations work together to gain skills, values and knowledge. Beyond the transfer of knowledge, IL fosters reciprocal learning relationships between different generations and helps to develop social capital and social cohesion in our ageing societies. IL is one way of addressing the significant demographic change we are experiencing across Europe and is as a way of enhancing intergenerational solidarity through intergenerational practice (IP). (EMIL European Map of Intergenerational Leaning, 2013) 5. Mutual and Reciprocal Benefits; Participatory; Asset Based; Well Planned; Culturally Grounded; Strengthens community bonds and promotes active citizenship; Challenges Ageism; Cross-disciplinary. Source: Alan Hatton-Jeo, Beth Johnson Foundation in: Almeida Pinto, T. (Ed.) (2009). Guide of Ideas for Planning and Implementing Intergenerational Projects. Together: yesterday, today and tomorrow. MATES Consortium & Association VIDA: Lisbon. Core Principles of Intergenerational Learning 6. Valorizes skills and knowledge of older and younger generations Combines in Big Foot traditional knowledge with modern communication tools and expertise in order to enable innovative, creative and productive joint solutions for local sustainable development Intergenerational Learning Approach of Big Foot 7. Gubbio, ITALY Participating Communities Trikala, Greece Berkovitsa, Bulgaria 8. Analysis of local perspectives, community needs and asses of the local environmental, historical and cultural resources Bottom-up approach Dependent on the participation of the community members Should reflect their perception of the endogenous development Overview of those learning interventions young and elderly people are interested in, based also on local know-how, which may boost the local development in the long term Participatory Mapping: Community Consultations 9. Participatory mapping has been used to develop the Learning & Training Interventions in the three Communities: a combination of experiential learning and community service opportunities: focused first on the community needs and integrating them with the seniors experience, fostering the dialogue and solidarity among the generations; Elderly locals have acted as trainers of younger people, guardians and messengers of traditional knowledge and specific local culture to the younger generations, tourists and interested stakeholders Younger participants helped to capture the knowledge electronically online and offline Methodology Learning & Training 10. Bulgaria - Berkovitsa Italy - Gubbio Greece - Trikala Excursions and field trips discovering the surrounding mountains, plant and animal species, learning the names and associated history and folklore, as potential touristic routes and destinations ICT courses Digital Mapping of the Area Learning about local food production and traditional recipes through cooking courses and lectures; Storytelling about the traditional intangible heritage of the community; ICT courses Interactive Cook & Guide Book of the Region Special class and visit, hiking trips around four thematic sessions: Traditional local products and gastronomy; Culture, folklore and traditional handcraft; Historical monuments and heritage; Natural environment and rural tourism Digital Guide Book & Map Intergenerational Experiments 11. Training possibilities and thus tested solutions for the elderly and younger inhabitants to be socially involved in mutually beneficial activities; A Transferability Tool Kit: transferring the project experience to other rural areas printed and digital; Intergenerational Approach Handbook; Project Website, Communities Livelihood Platform and Facebook Page; Guides on Intangible Heritage and different multimedia material Results & Outputs 12. Economic development: increasing the added value of existing activities, diversification of local economies (tourism promotion); Valorization of human capital: transmission of activities to younger generations; promoting entrepreneurship, development of skills; Sustainable management of natural resources, such as through improved dialogue between the community and protected area managers; Promotion of culture, local heritage and traditions: ensuring intergenerational communication, maintaining a balance between economic development Expected Long Term Impact 13. Big Foot Partners 14. Explore Big Foot @ or Contact me @ Thank you very much for your attention!


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