Big Foot. Crossing Generations, Crossing Mountains.

BIG FOOT - Crossing generations, crossing mountains is a project funded with the support of the Grundtvig - LLP Programme, which aims at overcoming the risk of generational and economic marginalization in mountain areas. The project partners will contribute to this objective through the "Big Foot intergenerational community service learning", a tool focused on the community integration.


The project addresses two main challenges:

  • Migration of younger people to urban areas due to the lack of job opportunities
  • The socio-cultural marginalization of elderly people, who have lost their role of mediators and promoters of the local knowledge and traditions, because of the broken connection between generations


  • Encouraging intergenerational learning and dialogue in mountain areas
  • Valorising specific skills and knowledge of older generations, by combining traditional knowledge with modern communication tools and expertise, in order to produce creative solutions for local sustainable development
  • Involving local communities in an innovative process of creating development opportunities in mountain areas, identification of relevant local resources and their potential benefits;
  • Creating a model for development of rural areas, focused on the combination of internal resources and intergenerational learning people;
  • Fostering connections between local participants from different mountain areas across Europe, in order to encourage their cooperation and experience exchange;
  • Identifying and collecting good practices that can be disseminated at the regional level.


  • Economic development: increasing the added value of existing activities and diversification of local economies;
  • Human capital: facilitating the transmission of activities to younger generations; promoting entrepreneurship, development of training and diversification of skills;
  • Natural resources: improved management of available resources and environmental protection;
  • Culture, local heritage and traditions: ensuring intergenerational communication, maintaining a balance between economic development and nature.


Participating in intergenerational activities, especially as teachers, helps older people feel useful to society rather than a burden, maintain physically and mentally active lives and motivates them to contribute to the community development. For the young generations, interacting with the elderly provides a chance to enrich their personal experience with a deeper understanding of their community, its history and culture, and to demonstrate their own knowledge and worth. Such exchange of traditional knowledge with new ideas, views, and modern communication tools could in the long term enable innovative, creative and productive joint solutions for local sustainable development.

The first phase - "Participatory Mapping" – was a process of consultation, driven by the respective partners in selected communities (Bulgaria, Greece, Italy), and aimed at discovering the local perspectives, the community needs and its characteristics and evaluating the local environmental, historical and cultural resources.

The results of participatory mapping were used to identify and develop the Learning and training intervention via the Intergenerational Community Service Learning Approach. a combination of experiential learning and community service opportunities, by combining experiential knowledge of senior citizens and the younger population and community needs.

The elderly locals will act as trainers of younger people, tourists and interested stakeholders in the following fields:

  1. Natural environment and rural tourism.
  2. Traditional local products and gastronomy;
  3. Culture: Folklore and traditional handcraft;
  4. Historical monuments – rural heritage;


The Big Foot approach has been applied in the mountain areas of Gubbio (Italy), Berkovitsa (Bulgaria) and Trikala (Greece). The participating communities share many similar characteristics: all are small rural municipalities, located in the mountainous areas, experiencing economic difficulties, depopulation, aging and lack of intergenerational dialogue. However, their historical and cultural heritage is varies substantially. In each area, Big Foot approach was adapted based on the local preferences and needs, and distinct solutions were designed.

The experiences of the local and international partners throughout the Project development are presented in the Transferability Tool Kit, describing the contents and modalities of the Big Foot approach, in order to provide examples and to encourage its replication as a tool for sustainable development in other regions and countries.


  • Comune di Gubbio - Italy
  • Gouré s.r.l – Italy
  • Menon Network - Belgium
  • Association Europeénne des Elus de Montagne - France
  • Centre for Development of North-West Bulgaria - Bulgaria
  • Trikala Development Agency S.A. - Greece
  • UNEP Vienna Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention - Austria
  • CNR- Institute for International Legal Studies - Italy

For More Information:

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