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Who we are

 Antenna Technologies France

Antenna Technologies France (ATF) is an international non-governmental solidarity organisation, founded in October 2002 in Paris, and committed to fighting malnutrition and extreme poverty.

ATF belongs to the network of the Swiss foundation Antenna Technologies, which is committed to research and the spread of technologies catering for the essential needs of developing countries.

ATF ‘s mission is to set up local farms, producing and distributing spirulina – a microalga riche in micro nutrients – which are sustainable, self-sufficient and financially viable. This mission is aligned with Goal 1 of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 of the Millennium Development Goals Report and with the new goal set by the World Health Assembly, to reduce by 40% the number of children under 5 years of age suffering from slow growth by 2015.

ATF’s approach to development consists in developing social entrepreneurship rather than depending on humanitarian aid

ATF’s local partners – producers and distributors of spirulina – get involved as social entrepreneurs. Their mission has a dual purpose :

  • A social purpose : They fight chronic malnutrition by distributing 1/3 of the produced spirulina for free and combat extreme poverty by creating local jobs;
  • An economic purpose : They develop sustainable and economically viable spirulina farms thanks to the sale of 2/3 of the produced spirulina. Economic value is created to serve a social purpose.

ATF’s approach :

We identify local needs and local partners. Our preference goes towards partnerships with organisations, such as associations, NGOs and social enterprises.

There are 3 phases to setting up a partnership with ATF :

Investigating a possible partnership

  • A first contact has been established between ATF and the potential partner: The latter presents and explains his goals, motivation and the environment in which he operates.
  • ATF sends the potential partner preliminary information about its projects around spirulina presenting the philosophy driving them and the set objectives. At this stage a questionnaire is also to be completed by the candidate.
  • If the candidate and the project at hand meet ATF’s requirements, ATF and the partner start examining the project more thoroughly (specification and feasibility study).
  • Once the future partners have sufficiently been acquainted and have confirmed their intention to work together respecting each other’s goals and expectations, a partnership agreement is drafted and signed by both ATF and the partner.

Assisting the partner

  • ATF assists the partner in delivering the project: ATF helps out with defining the objectives and content, carrying out the feasibility and marketing studies, planning for timing and budget, drafting the project proposal, searching for funding etc.
  • 400m2 to 500m2 are estimated to be needed in order to create an economically viable structure
  • The required investment to launch an economically viable farm lies between 100m2 and 200m2, given that of course, the larger the surface the lower the cost per m2
  • These amounts do not take into account the land acquisition cost
  • This price range is large as the price per m2 depends on several variables:

o         The economic environment, such as pre-existing installations (the presence of drilling, wells, fencing, a building etc.)

o          The local context regarding spirulina, e.g. if spirulina is completely unknown in the given country, then major awareness and promotion campaigns will need to be run

Ensuring technology and skill transfer

  • ATF’s Technical Director intervenes on the field to help and train the partner, as well as the team in setting up a spirulina production farm. If needed, ATF can provide an “International Solidarity Volunteer” (VSI) for extra local support.
  • Awareness-raising and distribution actions are initiated with local partners, such as local authorities, associations, pharmacies and health clinics. A project is considered successful if the free distribution of spirulina is effectively serving its social purpose. Regarding the commercial sale, it is the key to a sustainable economic balance and therefore plays a crucial role in the project succeeding. It is up to the Country Director or ATF’s Managing Director to develop contacts with all the project’s stakeholders: local authorities, associations, media etc.
  • Viable economic models are created: around 400m2 to 500m2 are required to achieve a self-sufficient farm depending on the given context.

o          1/3 at least of the spirulina production is handed out for free or sold at a subsidised price to children suffering from malnutrition

o          And 2/3 are sold on the free market to finance the farm’s operating costs

ATF provides support to its partners until they become technically and financially self-reliant. Once this is achieved, the partnership has proven to be successful!

Antenna Technologies’ values

  • What we believe in : The “Jugaad Spirit”, in other words, alternative ways to help fight extreme poverty
  • What drives us : the constructive sharing of know-how between the North and the South
  • What motivates us : the impact of our work thanks to our professionalism