Since 2015, as part of the PAMP project, then the PAMPEC project and now the MADE-M project, Acting for Life has been working with its partner APAPE/PH to develop new training modules in traditional building (stone cutting and laying, stone masonry, ecological earth construction). This is to complement and reinforce the training of masons trained in Mali, in the Bandiagara area.

MADE-M: the project continues in Mali

Acting for Life is continuing its current projects in Mali, despite the cessation of French official development assistance. The NGO continues to support Malian civil society with its own funds. The aim of the MADE-M training and professional integration project, aimed at vulnerable young people in the Bandiagara region, is to train and integrate young people in the building trades (masonry and eco-construction). APAPE/PH is our local partner in Mali. In addition to its mission to support pastoralism and the management of natural resources, APAPE/PH is committed to human development and is particularly concerned to support young people in a region beset by security problems that jeopardise their economic and social prospects.

Back in June, a training site was set up with the first cohort of the short course. The trainees diligently completed their training on the paving and tiling module. At the end of the course, they were congratulated on the quality of their work and the discipline they demonstrated. Of the trainees, 50% were women.

Recognition of new skills and training frameworks

The aim of the project is to contribute to national public policies to improve decent employment and access to this employment through quality vocational training. The aim is also to obtain official certification. This would give credibility to the young people trained and facilitate their integration. Certification would also benefit other young people and training centres in the country.

After a number of approaches, meetings, discussions and lobbying of vocational training stakeholders in Mali, new skills and training guidelines for stone and earth construction have been recognised. These new qualifications were developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, and in particular the National Vocational Training Department.

Next step: certification of the 150 young people trained since the start of MADE-M! This work, which is also underway in Togo and Benin as part of the MADE programme, is a success for AFL and APAPE/PH, but not only that. It is also beneficial for the partner training centres and the young people trained.

Through its three areas of activity, Acting for Life is pursuing its commitment to the climate and the ecological transition.

With no country spared from the consequences of climate change, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that there will be 250 million climate refugees in the world by 2050. Mainly located in Africa and Latin America, the most vulnerable populations will bear the brunt of the consequences. Added to this is a situation made more complex by economic, social and gender inequalities at a global level.

This is an essential step towards climate justice, even though the richest industrialised countries are historically responsible for global warming[1]. And the consequences of climate change will intensify dramatically in countries that do not bear responsibility for the current and future situation.

Faced with the threat that climate change poses to our societies, Acting for Life is aware of the need to rethink the organisational model of those involved in international solidarity. To meet this challenge, since COP 2015, Acting for Life has been committed to analysing its practices and moving them towards a more sustainable model.

  • AFL is involved in the think tank of the French NGO network, Coordination SUD, to reflect on and improve the environmental practices of international solidarity actors;
  • AFL has carried out an inventory to measure the carbon footprint of its operational activities, including the travel of its teams in France and in the countries where it operates;
  • AFL has put in place a policy of recycling and reducing waste at its head office, and has produced a guide to good practice to be followed in its activities in the field;
  • AFL has been working to raise awareness among its teams and partner organisations. To this end, the NGO has identified a climate coordinator and set up a working group to reflect across the board on how to improve actions in the field and global practices.

  • Acting for Life is pursuing its commitment to the climate and the ecological transition. On the one hand, it is identifying actions that are specific to its operations and on which it can reduce its negative impact (reducing the carbon footprint by optimising local and international travel, reducing energy consumption at head office, etc.). Secondly, it is working to improve the positive impact of its projects, which are at the heart of its activities.


    By supporting livestock mobility, an intrinsic condition for the ruminant livestock sector in West Africa, Acting for Life is promoting a beef production system that is resilient to climate change, adapted to the specific features of fodder production in the Sahel, and helps to maintain biodiversity. Through transhumance, cattle maintain the savannah rangelands, stabilising the herbaceous layer and encouraging tree regeneration. Tropical savannahs have a greater capacity to sequester carbon in the soil than any other ecosystem. When livestock mobility is preserved, herds play a protective role in dryland ecosystems, making them more resilient. Conversely, when natural pastures are converted into agricultural land, these benefits are lost. Emissions from livestock are offset by carbon sequestration in the soil and vegetation. All in all, transhumant livestock farming comes close to carbon neutrality.

    Food Systems and Ecosystems

    To meet the challenge of feeding towns and cities with local, high-quality produce, Acting for Life is helping small-scale producers and processors to produce in a sustainable way that takes account of environmental issues, and to set up short marketing channels. In this way, producers and processors improve the quality of their products and gain access to certification, adding value to their products. By including an agro-ecological dimension in cultivation practices and preserving ecosystems, family farming develops new systems that are more resilient to the effects of climate change and increases the positive impact on the environment (better soil and water management, reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, protection and preservation of biodiversity, etc.), while improving income from marketing products.

    Formation et Insertion Professionnelle

    In the countries where Acting for Life operates, the challenges of the ecological and climatic transition are generating new training needs and creating opportunities for professional integration in many sectors of activity. The training and professional and social integration projects run by the association are part of this ecological transition through the agricultural (agro-ecology) and food sectors, the building and public works sector (eco-construction, photovoltaic electricity, use of local materials) and by teaching how to preserve natural ecosystems.

    [1] According to GIEC reports (Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat).

    With a view to pursuing its commitment to ecological transition and adapting its activities to climate change, Acting for Life is committed to analysing its practices and moving them towards a more sustainable model. With this in mind, the NGO called on Camille André to improve the positive impact of its projects, which are at the heart of its work.

    • A few words about Camille André

    An economist by training, Camille André specialised in development economics. He joined GERES, an association working in France and internationally on issues such as energy and the fight against climate change, where he worked for over 7 years.

    It was during this experience that Camille took charge of the Climate & Development Commission at Coordination SUD, a group of around thirty NGOs of which Acting for Life is a member. Her commitment is centred on a central question: how can the new challenges of climate change be incorporated into development projects?

    Today, I’m working as an independent consultant specialising in adaptation to climate change, providing support to organisations on the link between their activities and the operational management of climate change“.

    Every year, the Acting for Life team meets for a team seminar. To mark the occasion, the association was delighted to welcome Camille André, for a day on the theme of climate change. Her talk gave us a better understanding of the impact of climate change and how we can better design our projects to anticipate it in the areas where we operate.

    • Why is it necessary for an economic development NGO like Acting for Life to make sure its projects are adapting to climate change?

    “The urgency of climate change is now indisputable. All manifestations of climate change are accelerating and intensifying, with disastrous human and ecological consequences around the world. In its latest report, the IPCC estimates that 3.3 billion people are already exposed to the effects of climate change.”

    According to Camille André, no one can ignore the fact that this climate situation presents a new paradigm for solidarity and development players. He points out that climate change threatens all the achievements of development, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities throughout the world, and that its acceleration exceeds the natural capacity of ecological and human systems to adapt.

    Taking the climate into account in projects is therefore essential in more ways than one:
    – to ensure that the responses provided by the sustainable development projects of an NGO like Acting for Life effectively reduce the vulnerabilities of the target populations and/or do not give rise to the emergence of new vulnerabilities;
    – ensure that the consequences of current and predicted climate change in the short, medium and long term do not undermine the success and sustainability of the composite activities of the projects themselves.

    • One of the key stages in successful adaptation is assessing an area’s vulnerability to climate change. Could you tell us more about this?

    “For many people, ‘climate’ is the fashionable ‘concept’ that needs to be flaunted everywhere with a great deal of communication and greening of practices. But in practical terms, adaptation is more than just painting projects green.

    In fact, taking action to adapt to climate change necessarily involves understanding the underlying and future vulnerabilities of the populations targeted by the projects. Camille explains that this enables us to ask ourselves a number of key questions:
    – What are we adapting to?
    – What means of existence are essential for the target population?
    – What are the pre-existing capacities for adaptation, and how can they be strengthened or new ones created that are widely accepted?

    Vulnerability assessments are an essential tool for understanding what needs to be done and how. It makes it possible to limit maladaptation by avoiding proposing projects that are poorly calibrated and could lead to a deterioration in the well-being of the target populations due to a poor understanding of their vulnerability to climate change”.

    Camille ANDRE, expert climatCamille André is an independent consultant specialising in the fight against climate change, the environment and international development. He shares his expertise through training, awareness-raising and climate performance analysis. He also helps organisations to better integrate the consequences of climate change.
    Contact :

    15 young electricians trained for a month in photovoltaic electricity, and 15 young people trained in agriculture for 6 months, received their certificates. Their success will give them new prospects for the future. Supported by the PARCS project, these young people received their training at the Centre régional d’enseignement technique et de formation professionnelle in Dapaong, northern Togo.

    As part of these training courses, Acting for Life and its local partner GEVAPAF worked for the first time with Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) to include two young people with disabilities among the trainees. They also successfully completed their certificates.

    A new chapter for young trainees in the PARCS project

    At two closing ceremonies held in September, the electricity trainees were presented with kits to help them find employment, so that they can start and/or develop a business. Farmers will receive inputs and equipment according to their specialities and needs.

    Obtaining this certificate testifies to their personal investment during their training. They will now be able to take advantage of their new skills and use them to make a positive contribution to local economic development. These young people will continue to be monitored by GEVAPAF for the duration of the PARCS – Projet d’Appui au Renforcement de la Cohésion Sociale au niveau de territoires transfrontaliers stratégiques.

    A two-dimensional project in four cross-border territories

    The PARCS project aims to strengthen the resilience of young people and livestock farmers and facilitate their participation in decision-making. The specific objective of the project is therefore to support the inclusive socio-economic development of the territories by basing its action on two areas of intervention: Training and Professional Integration and Agropastoralism.

    In all the cross-border areas targeted by PARCS, social cohesion is undermined by the lack of prospects for young people and by the deterioration in exchanges between farmers and livestock breeders. By offering training tailored to local needs in construction and agriculture, the project offers young people prospects. In addition, by involving social groups that are often excluded (livestock farmers, young people) in the decision-making process, and by providing an institutional anchor at the level of local authorities and their groupings, the project strengthens social cohesion and will enable the economic development of these strategic cross-border areas.

    Running until 2025, the PARCS project is financially supported by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Air France.

    Following Acting for Life’s Annual General Meeting on 14 June 2023, you can now read the 2022 Annual Report, which outlines our work with our partners. A new year punctuated by 17 projects developed in 14 countries in West Africa and Latin America, for local economic and social development in favour of the ecological transition.

    “Since its founding fifty years ago, Acting for Life has sought to systematically carry out all its projects by working exclusively with its local partners. That decision, which was uncommon at the time, has allowed us to be able to maintain our presence despite the tensions that have arisen in the countries where we operate.”
    Jean-Cyril Spinetta, President of Acting for Life, 2022 annual report.

    One year after the launch of the TERSAA programme – Transition des Systèmes Agricoles et Alimentaires sur les Territoires – in West Africa and Latin America, Acting for Life joined its partners in Dassa to draw up an initial mid-term review of the actions carried out in Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo.

    Running until 2024, TERSAA aims to improve the resilience of local farming and food systems in the face of climate change, through better control of the downstream stages of the supply chain.

    Hosted and moderated by Delphine Bousquet, a freelance journalist, the intermediate workshop was attended by Mr Jean De Vigny SOSSOU HOUEFONDE, Secretary General of the Dassa-Zoumè Prefecture, and Mr Comlan Fagbemon, Mayor of the commune of Bantè. Also present were several experts from the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), who presented an analysis of the data collected under the programme.

    Interview with Delphine Bousquet, journalist and moderator of the TERSAA event (in french)

    Discover the report produced during this event

    TERSAA interim event for a mid-term evaluation, report produced by the Beninese television channel ORTB – Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Bénin, during the TERSAA interim workshop.

    The TERSAA programme is based on three interdependent outcomes:
    – Producers gain access to new market outlets
    – Sustainable and resilient practices are disseminated and adopted
    – Mobilisation of stakeholders for the sustainable development of local food systems.

    Implemented by Acting for Life and its partners (IMCAASOPEPCCAIJOCPFETDOADELGIC), the programme spans two continents, in five countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Peru and Togo.

    The TERSAA programme receives financial support from the Agence française de développement (AFD)Air France, the Communauté d’Agglomération Roissy Pays de FranceSERVAIR, the Fondation AnBer, the Fondation Bel, the Fondation Ditumba, the Fondation de France and the Fondation Girafe Formations.

    As part of the TERSAA programme’s interim workshop, the Acting for Life teams and their partners visited the Songhaï agro-ecological centre in Savalou. Created in 1999, this training, production and processing centre is an agro-ecological model renowned for its expertise. The young men and women supported by TERSAA are trained in agriculture, livestock breeding and processing. The 6-month agro-ecological training courses on offer promote sustainable production and consumption.

    With the participation of the Confédération Paysanne du Faso (CPF), Entreprises Territoires et Développement (ETD), Organisation pour l’Alimentation et le Développement Local (OADEL), Groupement Intercommunal des Collines (GIC), this enriching visit enabled the operational teams to discover the different farming practices and production techniques implemented at the Songhaï agro-ecological centre. This is an integrated system in which everything is produced and processed on site, particularly as regards feeding livestock (pig farming, poultry farming, fish farming, etc.). Animal waste and agricultural residues are reused to make compost. These agro-ecological practices are precisely in line with the values advocated by the TERSAA programme.

    The Acting for Life teams travelled to Abomey, Benin, to talk to one of the NGO’s key partners. The Union Départementale des Organisations Professionnelles d’Eleveurs de Ruminants (UDOPER) operates in 6 communes in the Collines and 9 communes in the Zou, helping to improve the living and working conditions of agropastoralists.

    Since taking part in the PAMOBARMA – Projet d’Appui à la Mobilité du Bétail pour un meilleur Accès aux Ressources et aux Marchés – (Livestock Mobility Support Project for Improved Access to Resources and Markets), UDOPER in Zou and Collines has continued to develop the actions implemented as part of the project: boreholes, rest areas, livestock markets. In collaboration with the Groupement Intercommunal des Collines (GIC), it has also continued to supervise 156km of corridors.

    The Acting for Life teams had the opportunity to visit a watering hole, an essential infrastructure that enables farmers to water their livestock. They also had the opportunity to talk to women who produce Wagashi cheese.

    In the Zou and Collines regions, our partners from UDOPER have told us that there has been an upsurge in conflicts and tensions between farmers and livestock breeders, with 12 deaths in the first quarter of 2023.

    Research[1] into multi-dimensional inequalities in West Africa shows that “the situation of poor women with little schooling in rural areas is much worse than that of the rest of the population“. Although there are relatively more African women in the labour market than in other parts of the world, many of them work in informal, low-paid, low-productivity jobs and have no access to vocational training.

    For example, a UNDP report[2] shows that having an equal proportion of women and men in the workforce, equitable access to paid work and the same level of productivity would increase Africa’s GDP by between 5% and 18%. It is precisely those countries with the greatest gender gaps that have the most to gain from this process.

    In Latin American countries, despite a higher human development index, all the demographic, social and economic indicators also reveal highly marked multi-dimensional inequalities between men and women, urban and rural areas, dynamic regions and regions in crisis.

    Finally, it should also be emphasised that the impacts of climate change differ according to gender. Women and girls are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than men: climate crises exacerbate gender inequalities.

    This is why Acting for Life (AFL) is pursuing the dual objective of reducing gender inequality and strengthening the economic impact of its projects through greater inclusion of the women who contribute to or benefit from them. As a result, taking gender inequalities into account has become an integral part of our approach and our projects in three areas:

    • In line with its model, Acting for Life ensures that this issue is also, and above all, addressed by its partners. As the cultural and social dimensions are particularly significant, change can only be brought about by those involved in development at local level. AFL therefore encourages and supports its partners in gradually increasing the number of women in its governing bodies, management and staff. The inclusion of gender issues in their action plans and projects is strongly encouraged.
    • Working with its partners, Acting for Life identifies the most relevant levers for reducing gender inequality in each of its areas of activity. For example, our projects help to promote the most female-dominated professions in a value chain or to facilitate young women’s access to labour-intensive vocational training courses in which there are few women. Our initiatives provide them with specific support throughout the training cycle and in their professional integration process.
    • Firstly, the association aims to measure progress in terms of women’s participation and the economic and social benefits of this greater participation. Secondly, AFL endeavours to assess women’s willingness to participate and assert their rights, as well as the willingness of men (within partner organisations and the people supported by our projects) to support this movement towards greater gender balance. The aim of these analyses is to provide food for thought when setting up new projects, to help define the partner organisations’ priorities in terms of gender equality and to facilitate the exchange of good practice between organisations.

    [1] Analyse des inégalités multidimensionnelles en Afrique de l’Ouest et stratégie de réduction des inégalités Auteur Teresa Cavero – research project DEVCO, AFD, AECID et OXFAM – november 2020
    [2] Closing gender gaps in labour and productive resources in Africa – UNDP – november 2018

    17 November 2022Since 2017, Acting for Life is carrying out a large-scale project to offer professional training for young people in four regions of Burkina Faso (Sahel, Est, Cascades and Hauts-Bassins) and help them find jobs. As the project is coming to an end, discover some portraits of young people that the project has helped to support.

    As in other countries in the sub-region, professional training centres in Burkina Faso are still underequipped, and programmes are often poorly adapted to the innovations and needs of the market. Against  this backdrop,  The READY projectRaising Employment Access and Development for Youth – aims to train 1,300 young people in electricity, plumbing and agriculture, improve training programmes and help programme graduates seek employment.

    Discover the portraits of eight young Burkinabes who were accompanied as part of this project.

    Training centres were provided with additional material and human resources – particularly instructors – in order to create the best possible conditions for learning, while minimising absences and drop-outs. As part of the professional integration process, trainees also participate in training sessions or workshops on entrepreneurship, “soft skills” and IT skills.

    Implemented by Acting for Life and its local partners TIN TUA and OCADES in Burkina Faso, this project was made possible thanks to the financial support of NORAD and the AnBerDitumba, and Taroko Foundations.


    25 october 2022 – The success of the partnership between local authorities and livestock markets management committees lies essentially in the constitution of these committees and the distribution of revenues.

    Self-managed livestock markets are increasingly being promoted. They allow more traceability and sustainability than “traditional” or “project” markets. Indeed, huge profits are untraceable and untaxed in traditional markets; project markets disappear after the project is completed. The establishment of a self-managed market alone cannot guarantee the payment of taxes.

    In the past, many local officials have underestimated the importance of the livestock trade. However, thanks to a collective awareness, there is no longer any question of leaving the financial manna hidden in the hands of a few people.

    The delay accumulated by local authorities in the management of livestock trading infrastructures is gradually being made up for thanks to projects such as PAMOBARMA, the Livestock Mobility Support Project for Better Access to Resources and Markets, run by Acting for Life and its partners. There is a real awareness of the challenges of the agro-pastoral sector and a clear interest on the part of local authorities to work with livestock farmers to ensure more traceable, equitable and sustainable economic management.

    The executive secretaries representing the local authorities consider the delegation of livestock market management to be relevant and are working on signing agreements with the management committees, which have formed a formal association. Some committees do not hesitate to hire the services of a “manager”.  

    The success of the partnership between a town hall and a livestock market management committee lies essentially in the constitution of the committee (choice of members) and the distribution of revenues.

    Autonomous management of livestock markets is more advanced in Benin and the model promoted in other countries of the West African sub-region.

    There is no one-size-fits-all convention, but each commune must, depending on the general socio-economic context and particularly the weight and geographical position of the livestock market, find the appropriate formula to define the rights and duties of the contracting parties.

    Not all agro-pastoral infrastructure automatically generates revenue, as is the case with an animal passageway. Some water works (especially boreholes), rest areas and grazing areas deserve as much attention as livestock markets in their construction and management in order to ensure not only maintenance but also a return on investment.

    The success of the partnership between a town hall and a livestock market management committee lies essentially in the constitution of the committee (choice of members) and the distribution of revenues.
    Translation : What should we remember? The success of the partnership between a town hall and a livestock market management committee lies essentially in the constitution of the committee (choice of members) and the distribution of revenues.

    Article written by Zana Coulibaly, Programme Director at Acting for Life, following his participation in the webinar series entitled: “Managing livestock markets and other agro-pastoral infrastructure: a goldmine for local authorities?“.

    Acting for Life has published its 2021 Annual report, tracing the actions carried out by our teams in 19 projects across 14 countries. A year punctuated by the collaborations maintained by the NGO with its local partners in West Africa and Latin America.

    For nearly 50 years, we have carried out all our actions in partnership with a wide variety of local actors who are in touch with the realities in the field and capable of implementing programmes to reduce economic and social vulnerability, by focusing on the ecological transition and mitigating the effects of global warming. Acting for Life continued to pursue this approach in 2021 by helping its local partners further strengthen their capacities and resources in order to ensure that the programmes produce long-term results, and to address the needs of vulnerable communities in the Andes and in West Africa“.

    Jean-Cyril Spinetta, President of Acting for Life, 2021 Editorial.