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Our History


  • From 28 to 31 May, in partnership with the Cooperative Group CGM and with OPES as organizing partner, SOCIAL ENTERPRISE BOOT CAMP, the first boot camp for social entrepreneurship, aimed at international cooperation operators, social entrepreneurs, young innovators.
  • From 21 to 23 September 2016, in partnership with the Dakar and Milan municipalities, the Dakar Forum, within the framework of the "Food Smart Cities for Development" project, co-funded by the European Union; the forum aims to promote the implementation of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, the first international pact on urban food policies.
  • In Cambodia, ACRA launched a campaign to raise awareness on the use of plastic alternatives, promoted as part of a project funded by the European Union.
  • In Ecuador, ACRA contributed to the strengthening of public policies for the conservation of the páramo ecosystem (a fragile mountain ecosystem typical of the Andean regions.
  • In Ecuador, ACRA is a member of the organizing committee of the 7th AIDIS / DIRSA - Cuenca 2017.
  • In Burkina Faso, ACRA launched the Ke Du Burkinabe (made in Burkina) social enterprise that markets local products such as honey, tomato pulp, the traditional local drink, “besse”, and rice.
  • In Chad, ACRA continued the education and training campaign promoted for the seventh consecutive year at national level, which significantly contributes to increasing school attendance, especially by girls.
  • ACRA participated in the Energy Access Investment Forum in Amsterdam organized by ARE and RECP, to establish relationships with various private sector companies working in the field of renewable energy for rural electrification.
  • ACRA began cooperating with Enel Green Power in Tanzania to organize a "full-immersion" experience in the local rural environment for EGP staff, in view of the development of mini solar networks for the electrification of villages.
  • In December 2016 ACRA joined the United Nations Global Compact, the largest strategic corporate citizenship initiative in the world.



A successful Social Enterprise World Forum is held and celebrated in Milan with the attendancy of more then 700 delegates from 45 countries.
A flagship program initiative promoted by the leading association of the Italian banking foundations in the sector of financial inclusion, gender and agriculture with a strong focus on local entrepreneurship is launched in Burkina Faso.

Acra is among the organizations from the CSO sector selected to implement the initiative with regard to the local entrepreneurship and impact investing space activities.

The largest project on Education ever managed by ACRA has just kicked off. Financed by the European Union, this educational project on global citizenship engages 12 European countries, 2 African countries and 14 partners. It has an overall value of 3.597.000 €.



Acra is among a selected number of organizations that are granted  within the 2012 EU energy facility. The programme aims at deploying over 7 mln (€)  in rural elettrification activities and establishing a community based social enterprise with the engagement of the private-public sectors.
NAISS, a social enterprise working along the sanitation value chain and providing an innovative solution tackling the lack of sanitation in Mozambique, is established.



Acra bids and wins for hosting and organizing the 8th edition of the SEWF (Social Enterprise World Forum) in 2015 in Milan.

For the Social Report 2013, FERPI awarded Fondazione ACRA the finalist certificate under the category "Non-profit Organizations".


Acra is one of the promoters of Fondazione OPES (in partnership with Microventures, Altromercato , Fondazione Maria Enrica and Fem3), the first investment vehicle in Italy providing patient capital to early stage social enterprises in developing countries.
Acra joins the team of SUSANA (The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance)



Fondazione ACRA is established.
Acra becomes a member of IUCN network (International Union for Conservation of Nature), WIN (Water Integrity Network) and EPM (Europeam Microfinance Platform).
ACRA, together with Fundacione Paraguaya, a leading social enterprise in Latin America promoting a self sustainable rural school model, set up E&E in Tanzania.
E&E is a social enterprise delivering vocational education & training to young students aging between 12 to 18, in rural and deprived areas. The social enterprise aims at changing the VETA curricula nationwide and reaching the breakeven point by 2017.



Acra is audited by Istituto della Donazione, an italian rating agency tracking the trasparency of financial resources flows. The programme and results based methodology is embedded in the core strategy of the organization. Inclusive business and social enterprise development become a cross cutting asset for the organization activities across all countries of interventions.



ACRA is awarded the accounting Oscar in the "non profit organizations" category in Italy. A recognition conferred to the best organizations in Italy in the private, for profit and not for profit, sectors, by FERPI (The national leading association of Public relations and accounting managers)


The fourth decade 1998-2008

The challenge of the Global Village

The challenges become broader and more demanding, projects are extended, from a single health centre to a main Hospital with a joint university serving an entire country, from village wells to massive aquedoucts with wide pipeline connections and customers, from a subsidised strategy to a cost recovery and increasingly self sustainable strategy.

Programmes are launched in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Hounduras.

The annual budget rises from 6 mln Euro to 10 mln euro in 2008.


The third decade 1988-98

Deep rooted relationships

In depth knowledge and respect of the local environment and cultures, exchange of best practices and institutional strenghtening of local partners are the main pillars of the strategy deployed in the day to day intervention.
New programmes are carried on in Cameroon in 1992 and Ecuador in 1998.
The annual budget increases from 2,5 mln euro to 5 mln euro.


The second decade 1978-88

1982 marks the beginning of a collaboration with the European Commission. The association expands and launches programmes in Nicaragua, Bolivia and Senegal; coordination offices are opened locally and the association's structure is reorganized in Italy, remaining a volunteer organization in its governance, but which now employs paid personnel for the management and administration of the projects.
In 1988 it obtains the qualification to perform development information and education activities in Italy.
The annual budget rises from 400,000 euro to 2.5 million euro.


The first decade 1968-78

Acra stems from the dream, passion and perseverance of a group of individuals who volunteered in Tchad for the launch of a first, small but integrated development project in the village of Borom.
Acra's constitution dates back to may, 25, 1968.
Initially the organization is formed exclusively by self-funded volunteers.
In 1973 ACRA is formally recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an ufficial NGO qualified for international cooperation.