Denis von der Weid, Doctor of Laws (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) and a Graduate of INSEAD, founded the non-profit organisation Antenna Technologies. He first started tackling North-South and hunger issues in Columbia. After this experience abroad, Denis came back to Fribourg in Switzerland to teach development economics and started his own consulting firm in the field. Soon after, he was asked to teach at INSEAD in Fontainebleau. After a few years at the head of the Sandoz corporation (1969-1973), he went back into the field, this time in India, where he worked with Human Rights Organisations.
Denis founded the association Antenna International in 1984, which was then a network of lawyers defending human rights throughout different countries. As the association supplied clandestine radio transmitters to assist human rights activists, they decided to call the organisation “Antenna”.
5 years later the organisation became Antenna Technologies and focused on building up scientific research to combat extreme poverty.
Denis von der Weid was also one of the founders of the World Organisation Against Torture and the Chair of the Berne Declaration between 1995 and 2001.
In 2002, in order to extend Antenna’s network, he created an association in France, Antenna Technologies France, more specifically in charge of the programmes to fight malnutrition.
Today Antenna Technologies, a Foundation since 2009 based in Geneva, continues to develop solutions in other fields to meet the essential needs of the most destitute: drinking water (with a local treatment solution to disinfect and purify water), agriculture (with the production of local biofertilizers and biopesticides to reinforce local agriculture and food security), energy (through the development of a portable solar energy solution, affordable to house-holds without electricity), medicine and microcredit.
Antenna France started its actions in Burkina Faso in 2004 with the creation of two spirulina production and distribution farms. These have been self-sufficient for a few years now, and produce each year around 800kg of spirulina with close to 3000 beneficiary children.
In 2005, projects were tried out in Mali in the towns of Safi, Sansanding and Mopti. After a few good years, the situation became difficult and only the Mopti farm remains operational today. Another project close to Bamako started in 2011 and has been significantly delayed due to the political crisis. However, a recent field mission gives us good hope for this programme.
2005 was also the year the programmes in Madagascar started, with several small farms managed by local NGOs and two larger farms, which are now self-sufficient. In Madagascar we launched the concept of Nutrition House. In these centres we hand out a meal together with spirulina, as well as raise awareness and train mothers to nutrition and hygiene. After a few attempts, Antenna France was able to set up a well-operating farm in Niger in 2007, in the town of Dogondoutchi. This farm will soon be self-sufficient as long as it is able to export a small amount of its production. This will depend on the situation in Niamey, which currently still remains difficult.
In 2008, Antenna France took over the activities in the Central African Republic, which were previously managed by the Antenna Foundation. One fully self-sufficient producer manages to produce around 1 ton of spirulina every year, thus allowing close to 6000 children to be treated.
The same year, exploratory missions were launched in South-East Asia, in Laos and Cambodia. At the end of 2011, one farm was inaugurated in the south of Laos and two in Cambodia in 2011-2012. A distribution network is currently being set up for both farms.
In 2011, a small spirulina producer in Togo called upon Antenna France. A new farm was started at the end of 2011 and it will become self-sufficient this year, only two years after the launch: a record! A Nutrition Centre has also been created to reinforce our action in Togo.
In 2016 Antenna France adopts new graphics and colorielle charter. A new modern and uncluttered logo is chosen. We always perceive the lever lifting the world illustrating the phrase of Archimedes: “Give me a fulcrum and I will move the world” … The communication of the association Antenna France is now under the name of “Antenna France”. Depending on the case (problem of legibility when the logo is used in small), appears our base line “A network of social entrepreneurs against malnutrition”.