The overall objective of ACORN is to develop and implement a new suite of resources including a transferable mechanism for youth inclusive rural development in four European regions during the lifetime of the project. Our ultimate goal is to engage, empower and inspire rural young people to become active citizens, co-creators and implementors of rural development initiatives that affect them and their future.
ACORN will design and implement a youth-orientated rural development programme to create lasting change in four European regions (Roscommon, Idrija, Castile and León and Malta). By including policymakers, practitioners and beneficiaries across the realms of youth and rural development as our target groups, ACORN reinforces links between policy, research and practice in and for rural youth development.
ACORN will not only deliver on local policy but also national policies such as Our Rural Future, Rural Development Programme Ireland 2021-2027, National Programme for Youth Slovenia and Spain’s Youth Strategy which call for projects such as ACORN to actively involve young people in rural areas in the decisions that affect them and their future. We turn policy into practice by researching and promoting best practices for inclusive youth rural development and by providing a mechanism for young people to engage in rural development decision-making processes.
ACORN contributes to the Erasmus+ priority of common values, civic engagement and participation by engaging, empowering and inspiring rural young people to actively participate in democratic life and social/civic engagement. To achieve this objective, we will conduct research to uncover the specific issues causing rural youth depopulation in our regions and 20 European best practices to make rural development more inclusive for youth. Via a programme of non-formal and informal learning, we will increase the rural leadership and community development skills of rural youth We will then open the door for them to engage and connect into the sphere of influence of local government and community development that shapes local rural development and policy. Many of the skills, we as a partnership, know are needed for rural development are also recognised as key 21st Century skills for example creativity, collaboration, communication, leadership, initiative, and social skills. 21st Century skills are so-called as they are transversal skills necessary for modern workplaces. By enabling rural young people to develop these skills, ACORN not only increases their chances for civic engagement, but it also strengthens their employability.