about us

Quinoa is an international solidarity organization that tries to contribute to building alternatives to the current dominant model by:

Providing the Belgian public, particularly youth, with key ideas that help them understand better and have a critical approach to the North-South interdependences as well as an initiation to interculturalism;

Raising the Belgian public’s awareness, particularly youth’s awareness, to the individual and collective responsibilities to the current world’s issues, by highlighting the role each and every one of us can play as an actor of change;

Giving value and suggesting to the Belgian public, particularly to youth, different alternatives originating from the global North and global South;

Building everyone’s capacities to get involved in the creation of a fairer and more supportive society.

Contact Us

Direction : Mundo-b, 26 rue d’Edimbourg, B-1050 Bruxelles, Belgium

Phone number :+32 2 893 08 70

mail : info@quinoa.be

Our Story

n 1990, around forty young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 take part in a North-South community projects in Ecuador, Brazil and India with an open-mindedness perspective towards other cultures. It has an informal and embryonic structure, but the idea of community projects gets a lot of people interested.

In 1991 the non-profit organization Chantiers Jeunes is officially created with the purpose of raising the Belgian public’s awareness on the issues of development by getting a group of volunteers involved in cooperation micro-projects.

The association provides volunteers with training and information to ensure that the project is a success. Partners from the South grow in number, partners coming from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

In 1998 the organization is authorized by the AGCD (what today is the General Directorate for Development Cooperation) to register as a Development Education NGO.

In 1998 the organization changes its name to Quinoa. Its purpose is updated as the organization grows and gradually becomes more professional. Its structure is adjusted to include the diversification of its work and the reorganization of its operations.

Since the year 2000, the NGO, Quinoa, has been acknowledged as a Youth Organization by the Belgian French-Speaking Community.




Pursuant to the Belgian legislation on non-profit organizations, Quinoa is made up of three institutional bodies: a general assembly, an administrative board and a team of permanent employees. In addition to the institutional bodies, Quinoa is able to carry out its activities thanks to the implication of several volunteers.


Partners from the South

From the beginning Quinoa has cooperated closely with several partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia. These partnerships are based on a convention drafted collectively. Indeed these are long-term partnerships.


  • Benín:  CADD y Copagen-Jinukun
  • Burkina Faso: Compagnie des Marbayassa
  • Mali: Acte SEPT

 Latin america

  • Peru :  Grufides


  • India: Bharathi Trust
  • Nepal: CWIN
  • Filipinas: PDG

Welcoming the Partners

It is Quinoa’s belief that any partnership should be based in reciprocity and that is why it welcomes regularly its partners in Belgium. During the partners welcoming cultural events and public debates are organized to highlight the partners activities for the general public.

Partners from the North

Our partners in the North, as well as those in the South, take part in a networking process. The relationships we have built are based on dialog and mutual respect.

This way, Quinoa aims at strengthening both its work content and its methodology. It also wants to get its partners more involved in the process of development education.

  • Le début des haricots

Le début des haricots is a non-profit association that works in the environmental education field.

Quinoa and Le début des haricots work together in the ‘Local Alternatives’ projects

  • Rencontre des Continents

Rencontre des Continents is an association that works in the lifelong learning field. Their ideal is that the communities achieve socioeconomic and cultural emancipation along the values of solidarity, equity and respecting diversity.

Quinoa and Rencontre des continents were partners in the design of the String Game and they are currently working together in the `Local Alternatives’ projects.

  • Solidarcité

Solidarcité is a non-profit association that organizes « a citizen’s year » that gathers young men and women from the ages of 16 to 25 that come from different cultures and backgrounds.

For some of Solidarcité’s projects, Quinoa carries out trainings on development education.

  • Organic farms in Wallonia

All our partner farms advocate for a more responsible approach towards land, for a sustainable and supportive agriculture of human dimensions. All of these farms are good examples of a society alternative project; however, they all work within their own specific structure.

This direct contact with the rural alternative world gives Quinoa the opportunity to establish collective actions, for instance the `Local Alternatives’ projects or the farm immersion weekend within the International Projects.

Among Quinoa’s partner organic farms are: The Jambjoule farm (dairy products and lamb farming); the Larock farm (beef meat, milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and vegetables, following the principles of the biodynamie agriculture); Cense Equi’voc (didactic permaculture farm); the Hayon farm (organic agriculture); …


The networks Quinoa is a member of (by their French acronyms).

ACODEV: Federation of development cooperation NGOs

CNCD: National Center for Development Cooperation

Relie-f: Pluralist and alternative federation gathering youth organizations.

CNAPD: National Action Coordination for Peace and Democracy

Stop the Killings: Human rights campaign, created and led by trade unions and non-governmental organizations.

RABAD: Brussels Actors Network for Sustainable Food

RéSAP: Peasants Agriculture Support Network

FESOJ: Federation of Employers from the Youth Organizations and Social Truism areas

Hayon farm: (Quinoa is a member and cooperates with the farm)

Mundo-B: Quinoa is a member and cooperates with this sustainable development center.

Réseau-Idée : Environnemental education information and diffusion.

Institutional Partners

Quinoa’s projects are mainly supported by:

The Directorate General for Development Cooperation. To find out more, visit their webpage (in French) http://www.dgcd.be/fr/

The Wallonia-Brussels Federation. To find out more visit their wbpage (in French)  http://www.federation-wallonie-bruxelles.be/



No one educates others, no one educates himself alone, men educate themselves together through the intermediary of the world

Paolo Freire

Some consider development education to be at the frontier of lifelong learning, popular education and multicultural education. It is also seen as “education for international solidarity”. There are as many definitions of development education as there are visions of the two complex concepts that are education and development.

Whats is D.E ?

Development education is first and foremost an educational process that aims at presenting an analysis and some critical thinking on the mechanisms that dominate North-South relations. Beyond awareness-raising and information distribution goals, development education has the purpose of encouraging people to change values and behaviors, and to think about the actions they take so that power and resources around the world are better distributed.

Origins and Sources of Inspiration

Popular Education

Popular education appeared in the 60s in Latin America through the work of educators like the Brazilian Paolo Freire. It is an alternative to the traditional form of education. According to the well-known educator, Freire, the main objective of education is to make every individual aware of the world that surrounds them and of their own ability to exert their will over it in order to change, adapt or improve it. Education should take the needs of the marginalized, illiterate or poor people as a starting point to everyone’s learning. It is “education as the practice of freedom”.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning has the objective of giving people the means and tools so that they are able to place themselves as central actors in the modeling of society and to understand its mechanisms.

Intercultural education

Intercultural education opposes the west-centered visions by establishing a dialog base in respect and equality amongst the peoples, with dignity. It is about considering every culture as legitimate and equal to any other. This hypothesis goes against others sustained by people like Samuel Huntington in his famous and very controversial “Clash of Civilizations”… according to Polygone.


Contrary to other cooperation fields that have disadvantaged populations in the Southern countries as their target public, development cooperation targets mainly people from the North with the aim of getting them to rethink the occidental society model. According to the NGO Iteco, development education is “another form of cooperation”…

We are living in an unfair world, full of inequalities in the access to resources and in the distribution of power, where it is believed that economic growth is the solution for these inequalities. In this context, Quinoa strives to make a success society projects that defend cultural, social and environmental diversities; that have solidarity, equity, reciprocity and conviviality as their core values and projects where the economy is no longer an end in itself but rather a means in the service of human lives.


Quinoa identifies different values that underpin its vision and work in general. They enlighten the organization’s strategic orientations and determine the orientation of its internal organization.

  • Respect

Quinoa’s understanding of respect implies recognizing others, recognizing their differences, their potential and their integrity.

Respect is needed to recognize others as actors of change.

  • Diversity

It is about recognizing diversity as a necessary condition for life, its prolongation and its quality. Neither living species nor cultural entities would be able to survive and develop without being in contact with others. By contrast, (biological, social or cultural) isolation can only lead to atrophy and deterioration.

  • Solidarity

Contrary to the conception of competition, solidarity feeds relationships that share a destiny and boosts the will to search together for solutions and alternatives to the problems faced, in the spirit of common responsibility.

  • Reciprocity

Quinoa understands reciprocity as both an objective and an approach. It is a demanding approach that has the objective of learning from and with one and other, of sharing and of building together a common project in which one would feed the other with its experiences so as to obtain a rich whole with everyone’s specificities.

  • Fairness

Due to the level of inequalities, the quest for fairness is a quest for justice. In the context of international solidarity the objective is to obtain a fair distribution of wealth, fair access to resources and a fair balance of powers, amongst the populations and the individuals.

  • Conviviality

As it has already been mentioned, Quinoa believes that conviviality comes from the will to rehumanize personal relationships, from reinvesting in the social links and from avoiding one-sided encounters.

  • Openness

Openness is to be understood as being open to what’s different, to the wealth and the potential that everyone has to offer.

  • Humbleness

Quinoa understands humbleness as an attitude characterized by being able to recognize one’s limits and the potential of other people or collectivities.


General and Specific Objectives :

All of Quinoa’s objectives spring from a Development Education perspective.

Quinoa’s main purpose is to help citizen’s gain a better understanding of the political, social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges of the world today. This is done with the aim of building capacities to get involved individually and collectively in alternatives for social change.

Quinoa’s specific objectives :

Alert the public, inform and raise awareness on the political, economic, social and cultural realities of the various world populations and how they complete each other ;

Bring about, individually as well as collectively, changes in the values, attitudes and behaviors ;

Encourage citizen and solidarity involvement on a daily basis ;

Provide a critical perspective on western society and open people’s minds to other society models ;


  • Questioning the Concept of DevelopmentQuinoa offers a critical read on the concept of development. This culturally and historically rooted concept conveys a monolithic and linear way of thinking about peoples’ and cultures’ future.By challenging development and the dominant model it underpins –inherently linked to the ideology of infinite economic growth, progress and technique-, Quinoa presents a read on the interactions between cultures and populations that is based on reciprocity and the promotion of diversity.
  • Promoting AlternativesBeyond the approach aiming at raising awareness on the interdependencies between the global North and the global South and the critical analysis of the relationships between the peoples, Quinoa wishes to promote through all of its activities alternatives to the current dominant model. Promoting alternatives favors the construction of a positive view on the world and encourages people to get involved individually and collectively within a process of social change.
  • The Systemic ApproachQuinoa privileges a systemic approach through its work and practices as a basic methodological reference. This approach aims at including all of the elements observed and/or experienced as well as their interactions and interdependencies, and it enables to strengthen two crucial dimensions of the Quinoa Project: By its multifaceted read of facts, the systemic approach helps understand better the interdependence and the complexity of the challenges between the global North and South. The approach presents a radical change from the “occidental” way of thinking by encouraging exercising the mind so as to avoid monolithic solutions or simplistic cause and effect patterns. Additionally, the systemic approach establishes a certain involvement philosophy because the observer is never separated from the system; it plays an integral part of it. This way, by gaining awareness of the interdependences between the elements of a system as well as the role we play in it, we are aware of the responsibilities we hold for our actions. Building knowledge collectively.The Quinoa Project is a collective project, based on reciprocity. It presents a “capacity building” approach that gives value to and mobilizes the achievements, knowledge and experiences that the actors of the project -permanent employees, administrators and members form the organization, team leaders and volunteers from the international projects, the animations’ publics, partners from the global South and North- use as drivers to encourage analysis, awareness-raising and actions. This dynamic sees education as a political-pedagogical process that defends taking people as subjects that transform society, in a global approach to make balances of power more democratic.

Quelles sont les orientations stratégiques de l’asbl face aux enjeux de transparence, de genre, d’environnement, d’intégrité ? Tant en termes institutionnels que pédagogiques, nous veillons à faire vivre et évoluer ce principes éthiques dans nos pratiques. Lisez ci-dessous nos notes de politique.


La transparence pour une organisation est une « démarche vis à vis de ses parties prenantes visant à rendre disponible, facilement accessible et dans les temps, une information pertinente, compréhensible et complète sur ses activités, ses résultats, ses stratégies, ses finances et son mode de fonctionnement interne ». (Définition issue du guide de transparence des fédérations ONG).

Chez Quinoa, la transparence est un impératif éthique, essentiel au fonctionnement de l’association. La transparence permet d’anticiper deux types de risques : la perte de confiance de sa base sociale et la motivation et la stabilité des équipes.

La transparence se décline dans la gestion financière, la gestion d’équipes et la communication.

Quinoa pense sa transparence tant en interne que vis-à-vis de l’extérieur.

Elle est contraignante vis à vis de l’État et des bailleurs de fonds, mais elle est aussi volontaire vis-à-vis des autres parties prenantes de l’association, de façon formalisée dans la plupart des cas.

Lire la politique de Transparence.


Quinoa intègre une attention sur les inégalités entre hommes et femmes et les relations de pouvoir liées au genre dans son positionnement politique (diagnostic, vision, etc.), dans sa vie institutionnelle et dans ses pratiques pédagogiques.

Dans sa vision, Quinoa identifie clairement la domination et l’exploitation des êtres humains notamment basées sur le «sexe», comme un mécanisme inhérent à un système dominant (capitaliste et patriarcal) ayant comme conséquence une crise systémique (sociale, environnementale, économique, etc.) et l’augmentation des inégalités et injustices.

Au niveau institutionnel, Quinoa suit une politique volontariste liée à l’égalité salariale, à l’organisation interne du travail et la non-discrimination à l’embauche.

Une réflexion sur les relations de pouvoir est menée au sein des équipes.

Enfin, Quinoa veille à faire usage d’une rédaction inclusive (c’est-à-dire qui inclut dans la langue une représentation équitable des femmes, des hommes, des personnes non-binaires) pour ses productions écrites, institutionnelles et pédagogiques.

Au niveau pédagogique, Quinoa n’a aujourd’hui pas vocation d’aborder le genre comme un contenu en tant que tel. Cependant, les inégalités homme-femme sont traitées à différents niveaux.

Au niveau des outils qui reflètent les relations inégalitaires entre les femmes et les hommes ; au niveau du choix des ressources pédagogiques en veillant à ce que la voix des femmes y trouve une place croissante ; au niveau du choix des intervenant-e-s externes en veillant à la parité dans ses intervenant-e-s externes, etc.

Enfin, la question du genre est travaillée dans les relations de partenariat menées entre Quinoa et ses partenaires tant du « Nord » que du « Sud ».

Lire la politique de Genre.


L’environnement a une place centrale dans la vie de Quinoa depuis son fondement. Cet enjeu est perçu sous l’angle systémique (entendu comme analyse des interactions entre les différentes parties d’un système) et dans une perspective écologique (entendu comme l’étude de l’interaction des sociétés humaines avec leur environnement)

L’essentiel des options prises par Quinoa dans ce cadre vise donc autant une dimension environnementale que sociale, économique, politique et culturelle.

Au niveau du diagnostic et de la vision, la notion de crise systémique et ses impacts sociaux/économiques et environnementaux est à la base de l’objet social de Quinoa. Le diagnostic identifie clairement l’impasse environnementale comme une des conséquences d’un modèle de société qui exploite les êtres humains et la planète.

Au niveau institutionnel et organisationnel Quinoa vise à être cohérente entre son diagnostic et vision d’une part, et ses pratiques d’autres parts. Le principe pour Quinoa est de consommer le moins possible, et le mieux possible. Notons par exemple par le choix du bâtiment abritant les bureaux (bâtiment labellisé « entreprise éco dynamique », ou le choix de la nourriture utilisée dans ses activités (nourriture végétarienne, bio/paysanne et prioritairement locale et de saison dans le cadre de ses formations), ou encore les optiques prises pour la mobilité de ses équipes et participant-e-s à ses activités,  pour la gestion des consommables et des déchets, etc.

Au niveau pédagogique,  l’environnement est à la fois une thématique transversale mais aussi mobilisée comme voie d’entrée pour les animations/formations en tant que thématique avec laquelle les publics jeunes peuvent facilement faire des liens avec leurs modes de vie.  Notons aussi que tous les outils pédagogiques réalisés par Quinoa intègrent la question de l’environnement de façon spécifique et/ou de façon transversale.

Enfin, notons que les questions environnementales sont travaillées dans les relations de partenariat menées entre Quinoa et ses partenaires tant du « Nord » que du « Sud ».

Note de Politique Environnement.


Quinoa essaie d’être la plus cohérente possible avec ses valeurs et met en place une politique d’intégrité. Chacune de nos structures s’engage à respecter un code de conduite que vous pouvez consulter ici, dans l’onglet ‘structure’. Si, toutefois, vous estimez avoir été victime ou témoin d’un comportement ou d’un propos inadéquat provenant de la part d’un.e bénévole ou d’un.e membre de l’équipe permanente, veuillez envoyer un mail à l’adresse integrite@quinoa.be. Nous traiterons votre courriel avec la plus grande attention. En accord avec le RGPD, vos données seront traitées dans le respect de la confidentialité la plus stricte.