Aide et Action International was born in 2007, out of the desire expressed by Aide et Action, a French NGO dedicated to education, to re-think the solidarity links.
Breaking from the reasoning adopted by other development organisations, the association tries out new ways of acting together – horizontal solidarity between development actors stemming from all regions of the world, based on the sharing of experiences and the deployment of their collective expertise, at the service of a strategy of international action.
This partnership is expressed within an associational structure that has never before been seen among international solidarity organisations. It federates six regional and national associations from across the world, around four founding principles: the sharing of decisions, the sharing of the responsibility to develop the association, the autonomy of the regions and the pooling of resources.
The almost Copernican internal revolution that led the organisation to decentralise in order to “internationalise” and share its decision-making powers has been the fruit of a long maturing process.
1981: Pierre-Bernard Lebas founded Aide et Action in France, a sponsorship association aimed at supporting the schooling of children in India. It spread rapidly.
1998: An increasing investment by local actors in its projects, the potential for change that they represented for their countries and their own expectations pushed Aide et Action to organise its first Etats Généraux (stakeholders’ parliament). The extensive consultation and discussion process concluded with a decision to radically change the association’s course. It decided to stop organising welfare-based projects and to focus all its actions on aid for the development of projects promoted by the people concerned themselves – a partnership of skills aimed at making the target population groups autonomous and enabling the co-creation and emergence of local associations in the concerned area itself. The first symbol of this transformation process was the replacement of expatriates by local executives.
2004: The 2nd Etats Généraux laid down the foundations for a future international association destined to incarnate its new approach: four founding principles for its organisation and nine thematics for conducting its activities. It officially saw the light of day in 2007 in Switzerland.
2010: The first two regional Associations Aide et Action Africa and South Asia are created.
2011: Aide et Action South East Asia and Latin America-Caribbean join them.