"Rural Routes" a Tourism Circuit towards a Sustainable Rural Development

Providing new alternatives by developing tourism. Expanding job opportunities and growth of micro-businesses to reduce rural migration.

Photo of Juliana Najem
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

PRODES "Promotion et Développement Social"

Year founded

1999

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Lebanon

Headquarters location: City

Institute of Management and Services (IMS)
Maad, Byblos

Location(s) of impact

Byblos Caza: 60 villages
Batroun Caza: 72 villages
Bcharre Caza: 22 villages

Website

The NGO: http://www.prodeslebanon.org
The project: http://www.jbail-byblostourism.org

Facebook URL

Rural Routes Jbail-Batroun

Twitter URL

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jbailbatroun/

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The main problem this initiative is trying to address is rural migration due to the lack of job opportunities in the villages. Lebanon is a small country of 10,452km2. In the past, its economy was based on agriculture and livestock. Due to its challenging mountainous landscape; to the lack of: adequate equipment, empowerment programs and updated knowledge; to globalization and the open frontiers that increase competitiveness, there is a reduced economic activity causing the young generation to leave the rural zone.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The solution proposed is to expand job opportunities using tourism as a tool to diversify and integrate income generating activities. Innovative and creative solutions are necessary to attract the youth to work and stay in their villages. Three pillars are used: rural tourism, education and women.
Our pilot project: “Rural Routes between Jbail and Batroun” is a touristic circuit linking 20 villages enhancing their natural resources, geography, cultural heritage and local traditions. A grass-rooted methodology has been used involving the communities in all the phases of the project: fieldwork, design, implementation and growth.
The Institute of Management and Services (IMS) was launched to provide tailored-made training in entrepreneurship, start-up of micro-businesses, hospitality services (cooking, lodging, restaurant...), agro-food, nutrition, animation, hygiene, local guiding, languages, IT...Programs are mainly addressed to women who are becoming the engines of rural development

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Since 2002, PRODES's Strategy for Rural Development has reached more than 12,000 direct participants in its training activities from around 75 villages in Lebanon. Permanent awareness and follow up through the local authorities and stakeholders has an outreach to around 60,000 inhabitants. We can estimate 150 jobs created and the growth or startup of 220 micro businesses.
The pilot project “Rural Routes between Jbeil and Batroun” has attracted tourists expanding a wide range of socioeconomic and environmental activities in the 20 villages. Services such as guesthouses, restaurants and bakeries have opened or expanded. Local products and souvenir shops have started. Sports activities (tracking, horseback riding, bicycling) are being offered. Guiding (family tours, mountain trails, archeological sites), agricultural activities (olive harvest, apple picking), food processing and the launching of two tourism centers, show already a socioeconomic growth re-inverting rural migration.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Our pilot project: “Rural Routes” has been adopted by the Municipality of Jbeil and the Federation of Municipalities of Batroun specifically by the launching of a Tourism Information Center in each city. For a long-term growth, a cluster is being established with stakeholders from the two 'Cazas'.
Long-term sustainability for the training programs is ensured by having a well equipped Training Center, IMS, and a committed team.
Estimate percentage of our annual budget: Donations: 15%, Grants: 50%, Corporate contributions: 20%, Income generating activities: 10%, contributions from participants: 5%.
We have received a demand from 4 regions of Lebanon asking to replicate "Rural Routes". In order to implement this project in other localities, we are in search of the financial means.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We are one of the 30 civil society organizations working in the development of rural tourism in Lebanon. Together we have designed the National Strategy for Rural Tourism that the government adopted and launched on February 14, 2015.
What makes us different and “complete the puzzle” is our focus in training – specifically to women - in order to ensure qualified tourism services in the rural areas (local food production, lodging, agro-food, guiding, arts & crafts...) to ensure long-term demand.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

As Lebanese from the diaspora, visiting the villages of our ancestors’ origin, we started to see apples on the ground, olives not picked from their trees, figs eaten by birds, cedars sick from worms…
Abandoned old stone houses, archeological sites full of weeds, closed old olive oil presses, empty wine storage rooms…
Observing around there were only elders living in these almost empty villages…
Agriculture seem not to be the solution for an increased rural migration of the past 30 years. How to bring families and youth back to the villages? A new spirit had to be injected!
The already existing touristic sites could be the ‘fish hook’ for visitors to spend more time in the surrounding villages. Therefore the need to create services, rural activities, information centers and local tourism guides to attract tourists that will bring economic growth to revitalize the rural areas.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 33.3%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 33.3%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 33.3%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 50%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

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Attachments (4)

Rural Routes - Brochure - Low.pdf

This brochure contains the touristic circuit of 20 villages. It aims to be a friendly tool for visitors in our villages. An extensive fieldwork was done in order to retrieve information about each village. Many 'hidden treasures' were discovered during the survey. At the same time, the micro businesses were surveyed in order to detect the potentials and tailor-make the training programs adapting them to the real needs.

PRODES rural developement strategy.pdf

A summary about Rural Development Strategy established by PRODES since 2002

FORUM NATIONAL 2013.pdf

Program of the National forum organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, and Jbeil Municipality in May 2013 under the title: Sustainable Development and Local Tourism towards the creation of new job opportunities".

WIRLA -Guide Booklet (Arabic) Email.pdf

WIRLA Netguide is a Communication Tool for women in the rural areas. It consists of useful information covering 4 Cazas: Byblos, Batroun, Bcharre and the Federation of Deir el Ahmar (Bekaa): a total of 150 villages. It contains the contact details of the micro businesses, the festivals and events in each village, 7 micro-finance institutions with accessible conditions, marketing tools, and the rules and regulations of how to register: a guesthouse, a cooperative, a workshop...

1 comment

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Photo of MARCELA SOLIS GAONA

Hello JULIANA Greetings from OAXACA, south of MEXICO. How nice it is to see the work and results of groups like the one you have. There are many initiatives, yours I like very much. Congratulations a hug I'll stick to your orders. Marcela
tarogourmet@hotmail.com