ACTA VISTA: combining professional inclusion to the restoration of endangered historical heritage

ACTA VISTA: combining professional inclusion to the restoration of endangered historical heritage

Founded in 2002 in the French city of Marseille, ACTA VISTA is a non-profit organisation specialised in professional inclusion through the preservation of endangered historical heritage sites. ACTA VISTA supports people who have difficulty entering the labour market, by training them in the preservation and restoration of historical monuments.

HERO – Heritage Ecological Renovation for inclusion Opportunities – is a three-year Erasmus+ project led by ACTA VISTA in partnership with five organizations from four EU Member States: Pour la Solidarité (Belgium), Dragodid (Croatia), Boulouki (Greece), BAO Formation (France).


Ensuring the future by taking care of the past: environmental preservation at the heart of the HERO project

The Erasmus+ HERO project combines heritage preservation and the safeguarding of the environment by training unemployed people to perform renovation in a responsible manner (energy saving renovation, waste management, reuse of rubble, etc.). By doing so, HERO contributes to the emergence of a generation of construction workers who have embedded the safeguard of the environment within their renovation practices. 


Project’s deliverables

This cooperation has led to the creation of a number of deliverables:

  • a booklet analysing existing training practices in Europe, combining training and heritage renovation;
  • a pedagogical toolbox on the adaptation of trainers’ pedagogy to vulnerable unemployed people; based on learning by doing, considering the restoration of endangered historical heritage as a lever for professional inclusion;
  • a pedagogical toolkit on environmentally friendly renovation practices,  emphasizing the link between culture and nature;
  • a white paper shared with policy makers at local, regional and European level to raise awareness on the topic of professional inclusion through the renovation of historical heritage.

Zoom on : Nthakoana Maema, program manager at ORIBI in cape town

Today we have the chance to chat with Nthakoana, Program manager at ORIBI, to get to know more about her job and ORIBI’s #FoodSystemProgram.  

ORIBI is an impact incubator founded in 2018 and based in Cape Town. It is part of the PULSE network (Groupe SOS) supporting impact entrepreneurship in Europe and Africa. It provides programs for skills development, training and support of entrepreneurs. Marginalized under-resourced communities residing in townships including youth and women, are particularly targeted by the incubation programs. 

Discover how the #FoodSystemProgram acts towards an ecological and solidarity transition by addressing both food security and social issues ! 


  • Can you describe your work and your position at ORIBI ?  

I have been working in the development sector for 17 years, I’ve focused on the youth developing and raising quality of life through social innovation and entrepreneurship as a positive lever for change. My goal is to enable the creation of sustainable enterprises that address social and ecological issues as interconnected issues in the African context, while actively fighting against high inequalities and increasing poverty. 

I joined ORIBI in 2020 as the Programs Manager and I am also currently studying sustainable development. At ORIBI we recently launched the #GirlsInBusiness program for women in entrepreneurship and I am also in charge of the #FoodSystem program.  


  • What are your personal motivations for doing this work ? 

I am dedicated to the work of justice and the work of equity. I am in a position where I have had a good education compared to other girls we accompanied and thus, I have always seen it as my vocation to transfer this knowledge to people who don’t necessarily have access to quality education, resources, a good network, and social capital. I am inspired each day that I get the privilege to participate in other people’s transformation journeys.  

With justice, I strongly believe in a better quality of life for all and for all life meaning people as much as our environment, and all other forms of life. It’s something that urges me to wake up every day to solve and find opportunities, explore innovative ways of being able to create that, and rewire the world in a different way.  

I don’t know if it’s conditioning because my dad was an environmental scientist, my mom was an economist and my grandmother was a huge gender activist: through their experiences, I have learnt a lot, and been exposed to a different way of seeing the world, and not being part of the solution to our complex crises would not make sense.  


  • Can you describe more precisely your Food System program in South Africa, and how ORIBI is fighting food insecurity ? 

The #FoodSystem program was initiated because we realized that although South Africa is food secure at a national level, there are millions of people who still port being hungry on a regular basis, so even though there’s enough food produced to feed the country, there are individuals and households who are still food insecure. This signals that the issue is the problem of access.

We started to figure out and explore what is creating this problem of access. We know that while corporate and industrialisation have done a lot to provide physical access to food, at the same time, the way that the business model is designed excludes people and food has become a commodity. This makes it difficult for small-scale actors, such as farmers, to enter these complex value chains. And if you can’t really afford food, especially in low-income communities where people are faced with high rates of unemployment, and loss of livelihoods, a whole population can go hungry. In South Africa there is a high unemployment rate: 35.3% for general population, and 66.5% for the youth.  Almost 57% of the country is living under 992 rand per month (less than 60 €) and it is a real obstacle to food security. 


There are lots of inequalities. For example, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Report on Food Systems of South Africa, highlighted that 20% of farms hold 80% of the formal market. It results in hundreds of thousands of subsistent farmers who struggle to access the market and it is difficult for them to enter this very complex corporate value chain that delivers food fast and at a low cost. Moreover, there is a high rate of highly processed foods in low-income communities that are creating a lot of issues: high obesity numbers, and increasing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and at the same time there are high malnutrition rates and stunting for children. 

Thus, we realized that there was an opportunity to engage social innovation and impact entrepreneurship to address the complex issue of food insecurity. We know that the food system contributes to almost 34% to climate change, the current system while highly productive, has done so at the cost of environmental and social equity. So, when we talk about climate change, we have to centre the food system and have tough conversation and courageous actions for transformative change… The food system is a great entry point to address social, economic and environmental aspects of society. Also, we chose the frame of impact entrepreneurship because it is a business model that is trying to address social and environmental issues through a financially thriving model.  

Our food security program at ORIBI gathers 30 entrepreneurs trying to tackle any problem that belongs to the whole food value chain, from farm-to-plate, here are a few examples of the innovative projects developed by our entrepreneurs:

  • Order Kasi, a logistics startup to tackle the issue of forwarding food to hard-to-reach communities 
  • Foodprint, a blockchain-enabled platform to improve small-scale farmers or sustainable producers efficiency, as well create access to markets 
  • Fresh Life Produce, developed an energy-efficient vegetable grower system, the African Grower, suitable for dense township communities, where people have limited space or lack of ownership of land, to start their own urban gardens 
  • Living Soil, an academy training women from poorly resourced communities on agroecological farming, and how to run the farms 
  • Food Flow, a food rescue project that started during the Covid19 lockdown,to redivert small-scale farmer produce to low-income communities, as they lost their usual markets such as restaurants. 


ORIBI’s impact is to create an inclusive economy that is driven by impact entrepreneurs who are willing to disrupt systems for positive social and environmental impact. We believe that building sustainable food value chains is where the next turn for social change will come from. Our ultimate goal is to strengthen entrepreneurial mindset, economic inclusion, and self-confidence of food system innovators, especially youth and women entrepreneurs from rural and urban townships. 


Food security and responsible agriculture are part of the main issues addressed by Groupe SOS facing the current environmental and social emergencies. It is very enlightening to see how social entrepreneurs manage to deal with these issues in the specific context of the living conditions in Cape Town’s townships. This news from the other side of the world is very promising and makes us want to strengthen our efforts, get into action with us ! 

Discover how Groupe SOS combines ecology and solidarity!

Off to Romania, in Ciocănari village, Dâmbovița county, where Ateliere Fără Frontiere, a Groupe SOS association, cultivates care for the environment and people in promoting urban agriculture and local production of healthy, responsibly grown food.  

“The happiest vegetables grow on our farm” – says the horticultural engineer of the farm. 


Bio&co, one of the three socio-professional insertion workshops of the Romanian NGO Ateliere Fără Frontiere, is a successful circular economy project launched in 2015. It is a certified organic farm that has its 1000m2 composting platform for food and organic waste collected from the farm, but also restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. The farm sells certified organic vegetables, harvests responsibly and distributes its products in a short, direct circuit to subscribers, in weekly baskets, as the first step towards a healthier lifestyle for the people of the nearby community.  

 2021 accomplishments at bio&co:

  • 4,507 baskets of vegetables sold 
  • 100 varieties of vegetables 
  • An average of 90 weekly subscribers 
  • 4000 sqm solarium
  • 3.23 ha of certified organic land 
  • 17 beehives 

With this workshop, Ateliere Fără Frontiere is promoting social integration and employment of vulnerable people, responsible waste management and environmental protection, solidarity and responsibility for sustainable development:  

“We respect the Earth and nature. We respect people in vulnerable communities and we are here to help them. […] Together with 10 people from the community we work hard every day, and we are very careful that the vegetables we plant grow harmoniously and healthy.

Back in France now with Amadou Traoré, one of Fermes d’Avenir’s agroecological market gardening programme fellow on Nathalie Cerclé’s farm in Auvergne.   

→ What is agroecology?  

“At Fermes d’Avenir, we understand « agroecological » as any model of farm or territorial food system that makes possible to respond to social, economic and environmental challenges related to food and agriculture.”  

Groupe SOS association Fermes d’Avenir supports the development of agroecology throughout France. Fermes d’Avenir acts in favour of the ecological and social transition of French agriculture made of more sustainable and environment-friendly practices. When Amadou, flee from Ivory Coast and arrived in France in 2018, he followed a fellowship programme provided by Fermes d’Avenir, which enabled him to leave Paris with the aim to pursue his passion for organic market gardening and make it his profession within Nathalie Cerclé’s farm. 

> But what is the Fermes d’Avenir fellowship programme?  

It is an 8-month training programme at the end of which participants are ready to start their own farm, to be recruited as qualified farm workers or even as crop managers on a farm. In addition to training a workforce in agroecological practices that are essential to the transition towards more sustainable practices, the fellowship programme has a special course dedicated to refugees arriving in France just like Amadou.  This is a unique programme in France which creates pairs with a refugee and a non-refugee who will work together throughout the training.  

Did you know that in France, one in ten asylum seekers detains agricultural skills?  The French agriculture sector is cruelly lacking a qualified labour force while those people often wish to develop their skills such as the life story of Amadou shows us. The fellowship programme is therefore providing labour force to an economic sector in demand, a real way of integrating refugees into the labour market and into a society that we want more respectful of the people and the planet. 

« I like everything: the environment, the land, how the land works, that’s what I like about organic market gardening, not working with chemicals. I want to produce health to give to people » – Amadou Traoré 

MigrantVoicesHeard: Enhancing the participation of migrants through the creation of “migrant councils“

A dynamic and intercultural society implies the participation of all individuals in the decision-making process that affects their communities and their future.

Migrants and refugees are directly affected by integration decisions and policies implemented at local, regional and national level.

Yet they are under-represented in political life.

The project « MigrantVoicesHeard”  aims at setting up migrant councils to foster the participation of foreign citizens in the development and implementation of integration policies at local, regional and national level in seven EU countries. (Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Austria, France, Romania, Hungary).

Groupe SOS  is involved in this project and promotes a better understanding of migrants needs and conditions. 

Migrant Voices Heard project is co-financed by the European Commission with the support of the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (FAMI).

The project has the following objectives:

  • The creation of 5 migrant councils and the reactivation of one in Italy allowing direct public action on integration policies.(working closely with local authorities)
  • Promoting the exchange of experience between local and regional public authorities regarding the involvement of migrants in the design of integration policies and their implementation
  • Strengthen the capacity of local and regional authorities to effectively consult migrants on policies that directly affect them.

We are in a mobilisation phase so if you are:

  • An association working in the field of integration and political rights
  • A foreigner who wants to change political rights

The MVH project is there to propose a new way to make your voice heard and to allow you to be real actors of change. By bringing together associations and migrants, our objectives are to discuss needs, create dialogue and a safe space for improving migrants rights.

Don’t hesitate to join us!

Together for a better integration and a better Europe.

For more information please visit this website:


Planète Urgence’s commitment to forests preservation

Did you know that tropical forests are home to 90% of all living plant and animal species ? 

Planète Urgence, is an international NGO part of Groupe SOS working to preserve the environment mostly through reforestation, volunteering and awareness-raising programs. It has launched a 2 months awareness-raising campaign “Nos forêts vivantes” (our living forests) from April 21st to June 6th 2022.  




The “Nos forêts vivantes” campaign : raising awareness on the crucial role played by forests  

Through articles, quizzes, podcasts and records of experts, each week, Planète Urgence has proposed a theme associated with a particular link between forests and an element of life: fauna, flora, oceans, soils, climate and finally Human-being. Visit their news blog to read the articles and know more about it ! 

The last key moment of the campaign will be held on 25th and 26th June : you will be able to meet the association at the Good Planet Foundation (Paris) for an immersion in the heart of a forest in Madagascar, where children and adults alike will be able to play, marvel and understand the current forest issues. Come and join us! 

Through this campaign, Planète Urgence gives you the opportunity to better understand what defines the beautiful forests of our world, and in particular the tropical forests, where the association is active in Indonesia, Madagascar and Cameroon. They are indeed at the crossroads of all issues: social, health, biodiversity and climate. These forests « breathe » and have many benefits: preserving these living ecosystems is therefore preserving our future. 

Three examples of reforestation projects in Indonesia, Madagascar and Cameroon 

Planète Urgence currently supports projects in those 3 countries which are among the most deforested in the world, are part of the world’s largest basins of tropical forests (rainforests and savannahs), face strong sustainable development challenges, and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 



Our first stop is in Indonesia, home to 1/4 of the world’s mangroves making it a key forest for global climate regulation. The MAHAKAM project aims to contribute to the restoration of the degraded mangrove forest in the Mahakam Delta (Borneo), where 70% of the mangrove ecosystem is degraded due to the installation of unsustainable aquaculture ponds while 90% of the local population in the region depends on these fishing activities. For Trinityas working at Planète Urgence Indonesia, the goal is set :  

“With a target of 140,000 trees planted in 2022, we will also support the training of women’s groups in the processing of fish products and the setting up of awareness-raising workshops for over 300 students.” 



Heading to Madagascar now, where the Itasy region is currently covered by less than 3% of forests. The Tapia forest (an endemic tree, see in the picture below), plays a key ecological role in the preservation of water sources or the protection of soils against erosion and maintenance of their fertility. However, the excessive collection of silkworms and the modes of production and consumption of wood energy by local communities result in increasing exploitation of natural resources, thus affecting the climate, biological diversity, natural balances and the daily life of the populations.

Planète Urgence has long been working on this issue through the TAPIA project, initiated in 2013. It aims to restore the Tapia forest ecosystem, support local development, particularly through economic sectors (wild silk,beekeeping, market gardening) and finally raise environmental awareness of the preservation of these ecosystems and climate change : 3 000 000 trees have been planted since 2013 !




Our last destination is the Benue National Park in the North of Cameroon. The region is under significant direct pressure (human activities and habitats threatening biodiversity for instance) and indirect pressure (climate change) on its protected areas. The reforestation of multi-purpose trees, such as cashew plantations, has been identified locally as a way of preserving and even restoring the environment in this area.

In 2019, Planète Urgence has thus launched the FARE project to reforest cashew trees, restore wildlife migration corridors and support the production and maintenance of cashew orchards with a view to developing the sector, for the benefit of local populations in the Benue National Park. As a result, since 2019: 

  • 778 cashew producers were supported 
  • 1,105 hectares of orchards were reforested 
  • 110,509 viable plants were planted


Forests are essential ecosystems for all of us and are teeming with life: help us spread the world!