The 'Encosta do Sol' project, developed by Bonus Itineris - Cooperativa de Qualificação Turística e Ambiental (Cooperative for the Qualification of Tourism and Environment), from the Braga municipality, was honoured with the second prize in the fifth edition of REN's AGIR Prize, this year devoted to the topic of preservation of natural heritage.
Bonus Itineris seeks to establish an ecological connection, in a natural context, between the city of Braga and Serra do Carvalho, through a green belt, between the city and the mountains - Monte de Vasconcelos and Monte Pedroso - adding environmental, asset and landscape value to its contributions.
The initiative seeks to improve accessibility between the urban area and the natural surroundings, on foot or by bike. With the project's implementation, it is expected that the connection be made in a few minutes, in an environment improved by the path upgrades, in a terrestrial route and with the provision of environmental, landscape, historical and cultural interpretive information. These structures are expected to allow for a greater flow of people in this area of the city and will enable, for example, the observation of birds and stars, becoming an important location for environmental education at the school level.
The 'Encosta do Sol' project will be implemented under the guidance of the Promoter - Bonus Itineris - through a robust network of partnerships which includes the House of Science of Braga (Casa da Ciência de Braga), the school community, and environmental and sports organizations. To ensure the effectiveness of the implementation, institutional partnerships were also established with the City Council of Braga, with the Parish Council of Gualtar, with the Youth Association of Gualtar and with the House of Science of Braga.
Nuno Alpoim, Chairman of the Board of Bonus Itineris - Cooperativa de Qualificação Turística e Territorial, stated that this award recognizes the 'importance of this project and of its direct impacts in the region, among which stand out the safeguarding of a non-motorized path between the city and the green areas, avoiding, for example, the construction of roads' and added that this award 'also recognizes the national reach of ‘Encosta do Sol' and reinforces its strong feasibility of being reproduced in the border areas of the country's medium and large cities.'
In this 5th edition of the AGIR Prize, two other projects for the protection of natural heritage were honoured: the 'Gado Sapador' project, developed by the Gardunha 21 Development Agency, in Fundão, and the 'Guardiãs do Mar' (Guardians of the Sea) project, by Ocean Alive - Cooperativa para a Educação Criativa Marinha (Cooperative for creative marine education), from Setúbal and Tróia.
Next year, REN will promote the sixth edition of AGIR Prize, with the topic of 'Fight against school leaving and promotion of academic success'.
About the AGIR Prize:
The AGIR Prize is part of the REN's policy of Community Involvement and Social Innovation. Every year, the AGIR Prize chooses an area of social intervention and awards three projects. The most recent editions were dedicated to the topics of ‘Labour Inclusion of People with Disabilities' (2017); ‘Fighting Poverty and Social Exclusion' (2016); ‘Active Aging' (2015) and ‘Job Creation' (2014).
The selection of the three best projects is the responsibility of REN, in partnership with STONE SOUP, which accompanies and monitors the use of the funds donated to each supported project, also evaluating the actual social impact of REN's support to each project. The winner of the first prize receives a monetary sum of thirty thousand euros, the second receives fifteen thousand euros and the third receives five thousand euros.