The combination of experiencing a live event, AND support a sustainability project can make a big difference.

Designing a company program in such a way that, in addition to the company’s own goals, it offers concrete help for society, nature, people or animals, is a direct expression of corporate social responsibility, strengthens the loyalty of employees and customers and creates experiences that really motivate.

In my search for original projects offering such impactful experiences, I came across Rurality Events from Spain. The two owners, Begoña Muñoz and Almudena Pedraza, have committed to the task of helping micro-villages to find new ways of preserving local culture and traditions, creating income opportunities and helping to solve concrete challenges and problems.

People often do not leave their villages voluntarily; they would like to stay if there were opportunities for work and new ideas for living a life in rural environments. This is where Begoña and Almudena come in. Both have their professional background in the MICE industry but wanted to bring more meaning to their work. Rurality Events was created at the same time as the pandemic began – nevertheless, the two passionate ladies were able to develop the concept and apply it to projects.

“How can events help a micro-village?”

Rurality Events selects suitable villages and projects, talks to the local mayors or initiatives, defines, and evaluates the needs of the community and the individual situation. Based on all these parameters, the appropriate company event is planned together with the village and its surroundings, and in many cases with local experts.

“All added value should be generated locally if possible.”

Small groups can be accommodated in private households – so a multi-day program can be planned. Larger events usually take place in one of the Spanish cities – then a 1-day program in the area will be ad value and  support a rural project.

The aim is always to analyze the need for support together with the residents, cultural workers of all kinds (dance groups, craftsmen, artists, storytellers, various initiatives) and the local authorities, to establish connections to thematically suitable companies and to provide the necessary infrastructure.

On-site buildings, castles, community centers are included. The local people help with service, decoration and food delivery. The food should be produced and processed locally as far as possible, and new collaborations should be encouraged and initiated.

Micro-villages often lack both financial resources and expertise to solve immediate issues – support is needed, e.g. for water supply (wells), for paths, signage, fences, planting, etc. Local experts are involved in the projects to make sure the right steps are taken. Discussions and exchange of knowledge happen – either in the preparation or as part of the program itself. Everything should be made available locally if possible, and the income generated from the event should be used for the jointly defined projects and the people involved.

Case study

Truly authentic: presentation of a new collection of wallpapers

The largest international group managed by Rurality Events to date comprised 100 people – an incentive from a wallpaper manufacturer to present the new collection to the most important customers. A local castle was selected as a showroom, in which the samples were presented.

Since the castle is a focus point in the history of the town and its surroundings, the lord of the castle explained the context with, and the development of today’s community. Local suppliers delivered the food and local bands took care of the musical entertainment. A theater group in appropriate costumes supported the narrative with their presentation.

“Guests need to know where they are”

As much of this involves amateurs, a great deal of personal trust, self-confidence and commitment is required from all sides – between Rurality Events and the villagers and their trusted representatives, and of course between the clients and the agency.

Sometimes we are quite excited if something will work out well, but through our experience and love for the projects, we have developed a good feeling and instinct which has not yet disappointed us and the clients”.

On a personal remark I think this approach is a great example for best practise in how to deal with change and challenges: Recognizing new ways, convincing and inspiring people, helping to find new sources of income. Overcome obstacles and find new collaborations. And to support customer companies in ensuring that budgets bring the greatest possible benefit. For their own goals, but also for the bigger picture.

Website Rurality Events: Rurality Events | Eventos con legado en micropueblos

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Johanna Fischer, tmf dialogue