Accra - Days of celebrations for AVSI team, the Ivory Coast branch of the Italian NGO created in 1972, that carries out cooperation projects for development, with particular emphasis on education. In its work, its attention is focused on the defense and promotion of the dignity of the person, the cornerstone of every Avsi project. The occasion was given by the ten years of Avsi presence in the country. Ivory Coast Italian Ambassador, Stefano Lo Savio and Avsi vice president, Alfredo Mantica, held a ceremony in which the numbers related to the beneficiaries of the Foundation's activities were recalled: 71,000 orphans, 580 small and medium-sized enterprises, 50,000 artisans, 12.5 thousand students, 5.641 families and 5.700 children.
"I would like to underline the method used by AVSI, which to me seems to be particularly interesting and suitable also for our local context - said the ambassador. It is based on always putting people at heart, starting from the positive, from the awareness that even in the most desperate time it is possible to restart the development, to promote relations and the associative capacity of the people, to valorize the civil society organizations and to create partnerships". "Beyond the improvement of the institutional context and the skills of the artisans, the projects that we carry on here leads us to be interested in the family and community dimension of the craftsman, who is above all a human being - stressed to Agi, Lorenzo Manzoni, Avsi Country Representative.
"Avsi has been in Ivory Coast since 2008 - Manzoni carries on - when we came to replicate in Abidjan and Bouake', alongside the American cooperation agency, USAID, the successful experience of a Ugandan project in support of orphans and vulnerable children".
As we got to learn during the celebrations, this first project, which involved several local organizations (small NGOs and State social centers), was followed by a second. This second one began in late 2010 and included more than 21,000 children, and a third, partly financed by the EU, which was aimed at improving the living conditions of 4,300 young people from the Abidjan suburbs through encouraging their active participation in Ivorian society.
In the period 2014-2016, AVSI has worked in a social integration program to promote the peaceful resolution of the conflicts between farmers breeders who have been afflicting the central areas of the country for years.
"Here we had to deal with the clashes between different cultures, the meeting between transhumance and agricultural peoples, forest and savannah, animism and Christianity, and so on" Lorenzo Manzoni highlights.
AVSI Foundation, Ambassador Lo Savio reminded it during his speech to celebrate the ten years presence of Avsi in Ivory Coast, is among the most dynamic NGOs in the panorama of Italian cooperation. Since 1973 Avsi worked in many sustainable development projects. The Foundation is active in 30 countries around the world, to works towards development that is sustainable and capable of responding to the real needs of people, inspired by the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.
With the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union, USAID, United Nations agencies and the World Bank, Avsi was able to target so far more than 2.6 million direct beneficiaries all over the world and in many fields: socio-educational, urban development, health, training at work, job creation, micro-entrepreneurship, agriculture, food security, energy. But what it really stands out and was many times reminded by the Italian ambassador in Abidjan, is "how in its action Avsi is focused on the defense and enhancement of the human dignity".