Rural development

Rural Development Association Portas Abertas | DERREG


The association started its activity in 1990 thanks to the priest of the municipality (Dino) who has been a very dynamic rural actor in the area. Many people belonging to grassroots development activities studied in this project has been linked somehow with the association over the years (for example Jose Luis Vaz from Bioocop, Jose Luis Mateo from Quinta da Muradella, Isaac Fernandez from Cooperative A Xuntoira).

The association managed the funds of the first LEADER programm in the region and also participated in the RDG of the second LEADER. In that time, the people of the association was strongly connected by the same political ideology. This has changed over the years and nowadays they try to keep distance from politics to avoid problems and power struggles.

The association works in different social fields paying special attention to those less favoured people, rural needs and demands, promoting their active participation in the development of the area through volunteer jobs and cooperation. In order to do so, they collaborate with all local governments and private and public institutions working in the rural areas. In the practice they cover different domains: social action (promoting personal development and life quality), environment (promotion a better management of natural resources, development (promotion of local potentialities); management and productive organisation (providing expertice to advice initiatives, the creation of new enterprises or cooperatives that favour rural development in the area).

In the context of this project, the importance of this association has been explained by different interviews, highlighting its significant role in the promotion, and implementation of some of the grassroots development initiatives and other arrangements studied in the area. Namely they played an active role in helping with subsidy or project application, training, knowledge exchange to set up cooperatives such as Biocoop or A Xuntoira, individual initiatives such as Quinta da Muradella, or some mediators such as O Grelo Verde and Femuro. Furthermore they have fostered the creation of neighbour associations and monte communities for a better and more sustainable management of the local available resources.

The association will keep on working according to the interviewees’ opinion because despite the current context of crisis, the members see it as a way of living. It is more than a job.