LEADER is a European Initiative to support rural development projects that are initiated and implemented at the local level to help support enterprise development and the revitalisation of rural areas. The LEADER ethos aims to engage the energy and resources of people and local organisations as development actors rather than beneficiaries, empowering them to contribute to the future development of their rural areas. Stakeholder engagement and co-operation is a key element of the LEADER initiative and the programme supports partnerships between the public, private and civil sectors as means to unlock new opportunities for sustainable development.
The EU Action for Smart Villages launched by the EC in 2017 positions the Leader Programme as an important vehicle in supporting the implementation of the Smart Village concept in rural areas across Europe.
More than simply a funding programme, initiative under LEADER represents an approach to community engagement and rural development that is based on seven key principles. The North Kerry, West Limerick: Smart Villages, Stronger Communities project aims to instantiate these principles to empower local communities in making a positive contribution to the sustainable development of the North Kerry – West Limerick Region.