Project “San Pietro Vernotico”
The Project ‘San Pietro Vernotico’ is the first “Greening Villages” project that will pave the way for further projects of this kind.
Target community of the project
The name of the province where the target community is located is Brindisi in the region Puglia, the South-east Italy coast. The Cooperative Libera Terra Puglia owns land in three towns in the region: San Pietro Vernotico, Mesagne and Torchiarolo.
San Pietro Vernotico will be target community for the project implementation. It has a population of ca. 15.000.
In the recent years, an agricultural cooperative was founded in the community to work on the land that the State confiscated from the local criminal organization. Through a public call for bidding, the State offered the confiscated land to the best bidder who met the procurement requirements. An essential requirement of the procurement was to use the land in a socially beneficial manner. The bidding organization chosen for the above mentioned community is “Libera Terra”, respectively its branch social cooperative “Cooperativa Sociale Terre di Puglia – Libera Terra”.
During the last 13 years, “Libera Terra” has established more than 4500 real estate properties (apartments, villas and lands). Socially beneficial cooperatives in different parts of Italy have produced various products such as oil, wine, pasta, taralli, legumes, preserves and other organic food. It is important to note that all of the products bear the “Libera Terra” label that stands for quality and civic responsibility. Furthermore, at those properties, international community service work camps are organized annually by “Libera Terra”. As a result, volunteers have the chance to experience and directly support an every day non-violent fight against criminal organizations.
The main goal of the Project research is to make a comparison between the community before and after the installation of the given technology. The social and economic factors are closely interwoven as it will be shown below.
A primary factor to be considered in the community is the Cooperative, because through the Cooperative we can positively affect the whole community. We actually tend to promote and improve the economic aspect of the Cooperative work in an environmentally sustainable way. Main benefit of the introduction of the clean technology is achieving socio-economic improvement. The direct consequence of this improvement has to include two related factors:
a) increase job positions offered by the Cooperative to the community members
b) decrease the rate of people obliged to migrate to cities due to lack of work in the community
Before the Cooperative was established, the community members who did not own land were working as farmers on the criminal organization’s land. Consequently, their job was focused only on earning money and no socially beneficial aspect was involved. Although the confiscation of the land from the criminal organization and the establishment of the Cooperative was a significant step ahead, another important problem emerged. Namely, the lack of funds caused decrease in the number of people hired to work on the land. This shortage was compensated by the organization of work camps for volunteers.
Through the clean technology introduction, the following benefits are expected:
- Energy savings
- Production increase
Due to the profit provided by the clean technology, new job positions will be offered to the community members in terms of enhanced agricultural and other activities.
Another important social aspect would be raising the collective awareness of the community to the extent to which its members can contribute to protect the environment and improve their lifestyle. The feeling of usefulness, grasping important matters and responsibility would trigger a positive social change. Consequently, people tend to be motivated in their working environment and feel satisfied in their private sphere.
Following the introduction of the clean technology, the data that will be analysed in the Final Report after the Project completion will be based on immediate effects following the clean technology installation. All aspects of social, cultural and political life will be taken into account, respectively their advantages and disadvantages. The quality of life will be measured through some set variables such as food quality, clean water availability, pollution, health, regular monthly incomes, overall satisfaction etc.
In the preparation phase of the Project, the Cooperative members were interviewed in order to provide a better overview of the circumstances in the community. The responses from the interviews were carefully analysed and used as input data for the Project specification. The goal is that the members of the community get a positive feeling about the Project and be enthusiastic about its implementation.
Two 100 m deep water pumps are part of the existing equipment. One water pump is placed in Mesagne, and the other one in San Pietro Vernotico.
The site where the solar panels are to be installed has a size of ca. 300 m2. It is part of the villa in San Pietro Vernotico that used to be a property of the criminal organization boss. The pump is actually placed in the villa yard.
The yard that will be used as a renewable energy installation site is surrounded by walls. The idea is to demolish the old walls and build a deposit. The solar power plant will be installed on the deposit roof.
A beneficial circumstance is that two vineyards lie next to the villa property. Consequently, the water pump in the yard facilitates the irrigation process. Moreover, the renewable energy will be used to cover the energy needs of the villa which will be used as community shared space once it is renovated.
The preliminary idea was to finance the project implementation through a combination of funding provided by a financing institution or NGO; sponsorship provided from a company; fundraising and applying for grants. However, we would like to be flexible and come up with tailor-made solutions that meet the needs of each target community.
The first site visit resulted with the financial strategy of providing financial means by applying for a bank credit. Pursuant to certain Italian regulations, a socially beneficial project can be financed through fundraising up to 60 % of the total amount. The remaining 40 % are to be covered by credit provided by an official financial institution.
In addition, our company will work to provide the 60% of the total cost of the project which according to the regulations can be covered by fund raising. Consequently, more funds would remain for socially beneficial activities in the target community.
One of the primary strategies is “crowd funding”. This method is relatively new and is quickly gaining popularity worldwide. As the mere name refers to it, it is funding composed of small donations from individuals over the internet across the world. Practically, every individual of full age with different interests and internet access can make a contribution. The donators receive rewards or services of different kind depending on the type of the project and the amount of money they have donated. Another benefit of the “crowd funding” strategy is the publicity a project gets when it is accessible to everyone with internet access. That way, one can raise global awareness on environmental and social issues which is also one of the main goals of our projects.
Legal & political aspect
Moreover, a detailed analysis of the legal system, its regulations, primarily the ones concerning the environment, the degree of law enforcement etc. will be done. Also factors such as local authority competencies and degree of corruption in the given country/region will be taken into account. A special emphasize will be put on the previous rule of criminal organization in the region. The point is to analyse the comparison of the three concepts – criminal organization ruling, rule of law exerted by the local authorities and the concept of decentralized local self-governance tailor-made policies. The analysis should lead to the best solution for successful governance of sustainable communities.