This profile was prepared when Libardo Ariza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Libardo Ariza has developed a retirement model that prepares pre-pensioners, pensioners, and displaced farmers for a "second life" in rural areas where they manage productive farms and participate in recreational activities. The model is grounded in Libardo's firm belief that older people and displaced farmers may have the unique capacity to begin the slow process of repopulating a countryside wrought by violence for almost 50 years. His goal is to mobilize as many families as possible to return to rural zones in a twofold attempt to foster peace and rebuild a ravaged countryside. Several years before retiring, participants prepare for their post-retirement years by saving a portion of their income, which is then pooled with income from other families to buy a large plot of land after retirement. The land that is subsequently purchased combines space for individual and communal farming, recreational activities, environmental protection, and individually-owned homes on small plots of farmland. The farms also benefit the surrounding community by providing jobs for local community workers, recreational places for the youth, and a boost to the local economy. The model is based on a Program for Productive Recreation in which retirees engage in activities such as farming, agrotourism, and eco-tourism to motivate their return to the countryside. Instead of relying on government support after retirement, the participants find their own solutions and sources of income. Their communally-owned land plots are used commercially to attract tourists to visit and enjoy nature, take part in recreational activities, and learn about alternative methods of crop cultivation.