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Antenna France

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

Antenna’s mission is to set up local farms, producing and distributing spirulina which are sustainable, self-sufficient and financially viable

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

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

Antenna France local partners 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.

The return of experiences brought us to evolve the project phasing. The existence of the commercial market is THE condition of a sustainable project, so it was decided to begin the marketing phase, to validate the market before launching the construction phase.

There are 3 phases to setting up a partnership with Antenna France :

Investigating a possibe partnership

  • A first contact has been established between Antenna France and the potential partner : The latter presents and explains his goals, motivation and the environment in which he operates. Our preference goes towards partnerships with organisations, such as associations, NGOs and social enterprises.
  • Antenna France 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 Antenna’s requirements, Antenna 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 Antenna France and the partner.

Assisting the partner

  • Antenna France assists the partner in delivering the project: Antenna France helps out with defining the objectives and content, carrying out the feasibility and marketing studies, planning for timing and budget, drafting the project proposal, fundraising etc.
  • Marketing phase: market research, identification of sales networks and implementation of a marketing strategy, creation of a local distribution structure, sourcing spirulina’s implementation  (imported at the beginning).
  • Identification of health and childhood partners: in charge of health centers and children’s structures, NGO representatives, etc … which will be in charge of social distribution.
  • Once the market is confirmed, the construction phase of a farm could be launched. 400 m2 to 500 m2 are estimated to be needed in order to create an economically viable structure. The required investment to launch an economically viable farm lies between 100 € per square meter and 200 € per square meter, 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.

Ensuring technology and skill transfer

  • Antenna’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, Antenna 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 Antenna Managing Director to develop contacts with all the project’s stakeholders: local authorities, associations, media etc.
  • Implementation of management tools, reporting for project monitoring.

Antenna France 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’s 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