Creation of SOS FAIM
On November 27th, 1964, the Belgian Committee for the campaign fighting Hunger (CBCF, in French le Comité Belge pour la Campagne contre la Faim) was created by several Belgian NGOs*. A few months later, it took the name of SOS Faim. It became the first pluralistic umbrella organisation founded in order to meet the United Nations’ call to fight hunger in the world, while African countries were experiencing serious periods of famine.
* Entraide et Fraternité, Corps européen des volontaires pour la paix, Entraide Socialiste, Coopération Technique Internationale (ITECO), Compagnons Bâtisseurs, Groupement Social Féminin Libéral, Ieder voor Allen, Service Civil International (SCI), UCOD (University Clearing Office for the Developing Countries)
Creation of the CNCD
In April 1966, the National Centre of Cooperation and Development was created by SOS Faim and other Belgian associations. Nowadays, it is aknowledged as the umbrella organisation of the 11.11.11 campaign.
By gathering these young associations and Belgian NGOs, the aim was to improve the relations between North and South as well as to promote synergies between different actors of the NGO movement in Belgium.
Today, the CNCD consists of 90 French-speaking and German-speaking groups as well as development NGOs.
Until then, SOS Faim/SOS Honger was a unitary organisation at national level, but it split into two different associations: SOS Faim/SOS Hunger for the French-speaking and German-speaking part, and SOS Honger for the Dutch-speaking part.
Support to microfinance
In 1987, SOS Faim became the first Belgian NGO and one of the first in Europe to support microfinance in order to help marginalised farmers develop an economic activity to fight poverty. SOS Faim currently supports 11 microfinance institutions (IMF) or networks of IMFs that help 600,000 farmers in Africa and in Latin America.
For more information, visit our webpage related to microfinance.
Défis Sud, first publication
Since 1991, SOS Faim publishes Défis Sud 6 times a year. This magazine focuses on rural development issues and southern actors give their opinion on social, political and economic aspects concerning farming in their regions.
In 1992, SOS Faim invited representatives of associations and the Southern civil society to its General Assembly. This was a significant step towards a new approach of “support to partners”. Indeed, the southern beneficiaries – that became “partners”- developed by themselves.
SOS Faim gets more importance
SOS Faim supported Luxemburg’s initiative to create an association sharing the same values. SOS Faim Luxemburg was born in 1993 with the help of the Belgian NGO. Even though development cooperation in Luxemburg was booming at that time, no NGO showed a real interest for microfinance or for supporting farmers’ organisations.
Read SOS Faim Luxembourg website.
SOS Faim has supported the rural development for a long time but, in 1996, it started to focus on agricultural and rural areas, which are still our priorities today. A clear geographical concentration resulted from this new emphasis.
SOS Faim’s first advocacy campaign!
SOS Faim and its partners met in Cameroun and then in Brussels to raise awareness among farmers concerning the potential impacts due to a renegotiation of the relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). These relations were governed by the “Lomé Agreement”.
“We must bring Lomé into light!” will become the motto of farmers’ organisations after their meeting with European Authorities. Since this campaign, these relations are carefully followed by farmers’ organisations.
Two new publications
In 2000, SOS Faim launches two new publications: Zoom microfinance and Farming Dynamics.
Zoom microfinance starts from a real experience as a basis in order to raise fundamental questions and debate about the impacts of microfinance on development in the South.
Farming Dynamics points out the initiatives from farmers’ organisations concerning their various roles. Moreover, it analyses and discusses them.
Coalition against Hunger
SOS Faim took actively part in the creation of a coalition against Hunger, made to gather all the Belgian NGOs supporting farming and the Southern farmers’ organisations. On the one hand, this Coalition is composed of 19 organisations and promotes support to sustainable family farming in Belgium. On the other hand, it also acknowledges farmers’ organisations as key actors to determine agricultural policies, set them up and evaluate them.
The principle of “coherent development policies”, especially regarding support to agriculture in the South, is actively promoted and disseminated by the Coalition.
“Mon poulet, ma poule”
In 2003, Europe exported at low prices more than 182,000 frozen chickens to Africa. Due to these massive imports, hundreds of thousands of Africans lost their jobs and left without any resources.
In 2004, SOS Faim and other European organisations launched the campaign “Mon poulet, ma poule” (halt to frozen chicken) to fight against these imports at low prices. 62,484 petitions were signed, with 11,000 in Belgium only.
Together with la Florida and CEPESIU, SOS Faim created the Credit Guarantee Fund in Latin America (FOGAL from french le fonds de garantie en Amérique latine). La Florida is a cooperative of coffee producers in Peru and CEPESIU is a microfinance institution in Ecuador. FOGAL’s aim is to give farmers in Latin America access to the financial system.
Inter Réseaux creation
SOS Faim created Inter Réseaux- Développement rural with other groups involved in the agricultural and rural development. It is an association which gives the opportunity to debate and exchange experiences about rural development. This association is now composed of 40 members including 20 European and African associations.
Creation of the European Microfinance Platform
With the International Year of microfinance in 2006, SOS Faim created the European Microfinance Platform in association with NGOs, banks, universities and research centres. Today, this platform consists of 137 members from 25 countries.
Launch of a structured advocacy with farmers’ organisations
The first steps for a common and structured advocacy with 6 Western African farmers platform (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) took shape by attending the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. This advocacy, initiated with the CFSI and Vredeseilanden, went on with regular meetings and issues presented to the ACP European and African parliamentarians.
Participation in the Alliance AgriCongo
SOS Faim took part in the creation of a coalition to support agriculture in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Composed of 10 organisations, the alliance coordinates the support given from Belgian organisations to the Congolese farmer movement. It also tries to find additional funds to those of the alliance’s members.
On ne joue pas avec la nourriture
At the beginning of 2012, SOS Faim launched a public campaign “On ne joue pas avec la nourriture” to tackle financial speculation on agricultural commodities.
In 2013, the campaign entered a new phase. Indeed, SOS Faim and other NGOs financed a study denouncing the role of Belgian banks in financial speculation on agricultural raw materials. And citizens, as clients of these banks, are invited to write to their banks.
50 Year Anniversary
2014 is an important year for SOS Faim. Not only does it celebrate its 50th anniversary, but 2014 was also declared the International Year of Family Farming, that represents the essential action of SOS Faim. On that occasion, the NGO organised an international forum dedicated to the transformation of family farms. Four Western African farmer federations shared their experiences.