"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.
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PRODES "Promotion et Développement Social"
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Institute of Management and Services (IMS)
Location(s) of impact
Byblos Caza: 60 villages
Batroun Caza: 72 villages
Bcharre Caza: 22 villages
"Rural Routes between Jbail and Batroun" : this touristic circuit linking 20 villages has been re-launched on february 2017 providing new services such as guesthouses, local guides, agro-food, rural activities, sports, local art & crafts. Thanks to the training programs offered by PRODES through the Institute of Management and Services (IMS) located at Maad, Jbeil, socio-economic development and job creation are giving its first steps in the revitalization of these rural areas.
PRODES is a winner of WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) Award for the year 2016.
A National Norum was organized "Sustainable Development and Local Tourism towards the Creation of New Job Opportunities", gathering 53 speakers and more than 250 attendees during two days in Jbeil on May 2013. 30 stands on rural tourism initiatives were exposed.
Launching ceremony of WIRLA NetGuide, an innovative communication tool linking women entrepreneurs with the market, micro-finance institutions and local development initiatives. Jbeil - May 2015
In the organic farm of Akoury, in Deir El Ahmar, managed by a women and his family, guided tour is offered to tourists in addition to a typical homemade breakfast- Bekaa- Summer 2013
Women from WIRLA Network participated in an exhibition of local products in Maad Jbeil- February 2012
A practical session about local guiding with the local women from Smar Jbeil, during a visit to Smar Jbeil Citadel, in July 2016
Local guide in Mayfouk explaining to tourists about the circuit, in her souvenir shop-Mayfouk July 2017
A local guide raising beehives and honey production is producing homemade sweets based on honey, offering it to tourists and visitors.
A women owning a family farm of duck, is specialized in the production of fois gras, in Douma –North of Lebanon –January 2014
One of the participants to the training program during the fig production.
Workshop organized for youth aiming to provide them with technical skills and basics of food production as a pillar for high quality food services- IMS- January 2014
Hands-on training for youth is offered in order to provide technical and professional qualified tourism services in the rural areas.
Agro-food training is provided to women in the villages in order to transform the agricultural products and have a diversified offer.
Preparation of jams as a diversification of agricultural production.
One participant in Entrepreneurship trainings had establish a shop for local home processed “Mouneh”, in Smar Jbail- North of Lebanon
Training session in local species and aromatics for women from various villages.
Participants in the Entrepreneurship training in Douma, filling up their own business plan - in Douma on the north of Lebanon- April 2013
Women during entrepreneurship training. They learn accounting skills, marketing, how to prepare a business plan, how to access micro-credits, etc...
Several monitoring visits are organized as a personal follow up approach with rural women managing micro-business in their area
Rural Routes Jbail-Batroun
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