Digital skills are fundamental for one’s participation in today’s society. In rural areas, they can act as the glue bridging the gap between urban and rural communities and promoting socio-economic development in a sustainable way. 

If residents of rural areas have the same access to online resources and availability of public services – education, healthcare, employment opportunities, and government services, the gap gets smaller and smaller. Rural areas play a core role in the European ecosystem, and the European Commission has adopted a long-term vision for EU’s rural areas up to 2040. A Community of Practice also invites knowledge-exchange and sharing.

Rural areas and their potential

We often focus on modernising cities, that most European citizens live in. But did you know that rural areas cover 83% of EU territory? Or that EU’s rural areas are home to 137 million people? Hint: this is around 30% of Europeans!

Strengthening digital skills of people in rural areas enables them to make full use of the benefits brought about by the digital era. The EU long-term vision aims to see rural areas ‘fully benefiting from digital innovation with equal access to emerging technologies, widespread digital literacy and opportunities to acquire more advanced skills’. Under the EU vision, connectivity between rural areas will also improve – and targeted investments in infrastructure, technology, and skills development are coordinated by the flagship initiative ‘Rural digital futures’.

Find funding for your rural project via the Rural Toolkit

Acting as a comprehensive guide to EU funding and support opportunities for rural areas within the EU, the Rural toolkit can show you the way to get your rural project financed, or find partners and expand your margins.

 

 

It is a good tool for local authorities, institutions and stakeholders, businesses and individuals  – helping them identify and capitalise on existing EU funds, programmes and other funding and support initiatives, and to foster development in rural territories.

Digitally-savvy rural areas in the digital decade

A range of initiatives aim to foster the sustainable development of digital capabilities in rural areas. Digital Communities is an initiative that targets seniors living in rural areas (generally digitally-excluded). The Erasmus+ funded Growing Together (GT) project offers a voice for young people, with a focus on those coming from rural areas and engages them in debates on the future of food production, or wider issues. More than 3.000 youngsters were engaged in the project’s context.

Growing Together (GT) provided a voice for young people, particularly those from rural areas who are directly impacted by our food system, to engage with crucial debates on the future of food production, & the wider debates on the future of Europe. The MAIs Project – Women farmers in the inner territories, which started in 2020 is a pilot project with a potential to be replicated in other contexts and regions, and encompasses two municipalities in Portugal – São Pedro do Sul and Sabugal.

The Finnish KyLille project offers training and supports the sustainable development and acquisition of digital skills of Finns living in villages. The Slovenia’s  Simbioza Mobiln@ initiative has been bridging the digital divide for older people by hosting a mobile classroom with workshops and learning activities on basic digital literacy for the elderly.

 

Discover a range of other initiatives through the map of activities addressing rural areas. 

 

Source :  European Digital Skills & Jobs Platform

 

Website link

The Rural Toolkit

Digital technology / specialisation

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data
  • Robotics
  • Machine Learning
  • Digital skills

Digital skill level

  • Basic

Geographic Scope - Country

  • European Union

Type of initiative

EU institutional initiative