The extraordinary situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is having immediate consequences in our country. In recent weeks we have seen over and over again images of streets that are largely empty in major cities. But we must not forget that this virus has no boundaries and is also impacting less populated areas.
Rural Spain, which many refer to as ‘empty Spain', is facing this pandemic with courage and bravery, but is well aware that this crisis may jeopardize the plans to revive rural areas launched in recent years. Without a doubt, rural Spain will need more than ever the collaboration and support of everyone so as not to fall into oblivion forever. In fact, it seems that this belief is already permeating society, because in situations as difficult as the one we are all suffering, society always responds in solidarity by showing its most generous and collaborative side.
With this objective, the social entrepreneurship platform El Hueco, with the support of Red Eléctrica, has organised on April 8th the "Hackaton Rural COVID-19", an online meeting intended to encourage everyone to send in proposals and innovative solutions to overcome, together, this crisis.
“We need ideas that help us to recover from the pandemic in the best possible conditions, and we need to think about how to do this so that these areas, which suffer the terrible drain of emigration on a daily basis, can face up to this new reality, as well as the one that will come after COVID-19”, because in rural Spain “there are people, there are ideas and there is hope for a better life” underlined the Chairwoman of the Red Eléctrica Group, Beatriz Corredor, speaking via video link.
There were 29 proposals presented from Soria, Cuenca, Malaga, Zaragoza, Teruel, Segovia, La Rioja, Valladolid, Palencia, Tarragona, Asturias and Castellon to promote new ideas on proximity agriculture, platforms for sharing ideas, online companionship for people living alone, ways to help people get funding for their projects, online markets, creation of a rural economic network or rural incubators to promote teleworking, among others.
A mentor will guide all the initiatives presented in order to consolidate them and make them viable projects that will be published on the website with the aim of extending them to other sensitive territories, mitigating the effects of this looming economic crisis and contributing new business ideas that will continue to support the fight against depopulation. In addition, one of these projects will be incubated by the company Bridge for Billions.
In times of such uncertainty, solidarity and creativity become the driving force of society. Together, we will be able to transform a situation as delicate as the current one into a haven of hope with initiatives that will demonstrate that we will never be alone in this struggle.