Alqueva Waterside Villages Project (ARA)
The ARA project, which involves 15 young graduates divided among five waterside villages on the Alqueva Reservoir, is designed for social, symbolic and business interaction in an area suffering from considerable ageing, low population density and a weak economy.
The project is intended to encourage critical mass to settle in the region by promoting entrepreneurship among young graduates in precarious jobs in an innovative territorial approach.
The ARA has two main promoters: EDIA and ATMTGLA - Associação Transfronteiriça dos Municípios das Terras do Grande Lago Alqueva, which includes the municipalities of Alandroal, Moura, Mourão, Portel and Reguengos de Monsaraz, with the support of the IEFP Regional Branch, Beja Polytechnic and the parish councils of the host villages.
The 15 graduates were sent to five villages in Terras do Grande Lago Alqueva: Capelins (municipality of Alandroal), Póvoa de São Miguel/Estrela (municipality of Moura), Luz (municipality of Mourão), Alqueva (municipality of Portel) and Campinho (municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz).
Three interns with degrees in different areas took up residence in the villages to find solutions to revitalise the territory, harness the potential created by the Great Alqueva Lake and make the most of the local assets and culture in the five waterside villages. In other words, help each one in its development.
ARA Project has won two awards for its innovation in sparsely populated areas. In the first, the government gave the project the +e+i programme stamp of quality, due to its importance to the region’s development. The second was the EDP Solidária 2013 award, which provides seed capital for the businesses identified in the project.