In the mid-eighties, the Horn of Africa was plagued by an unprecedented famine. There was a swift and generous response to the needs of the starving populations. To testify the commitment of the Gembloux agronomists to the development of the Southern countries, the rector of the Department of Agronomy in Gembloux, Albert Ledent, set up the "Communauté Agronomique Gembloutoise au Service du Tiers-Monde".
A couple of years later, the name changed to the non-profit organisation "Aide au Développement Gembloux"
The founders of ADG pursued three objectives:
- to improve the living conditions of the poor populations of the Southern countries by drawing up on the know-how available in Gembloux University,
- to offer the opportunity to young people willing to work overseas to acquire some experience,
- to raise the awareness of Northern populations to the issue of Southern countries’ development.
Originally the staff was made up of a dozen volunteers. Over the years, ADG has become more and more professional and it now employs over 50 people in the intervention countries and 9 at its head office.
Here are some key moments in ADG development:
- 1987 : ADG is officially recognized as Development NGO by the Belgian Development Cooperation. The very first project is launched in Rwanda one year later and is followed by some punctual humanitarian relief operations.
- 1994 : ADG receives its first funding for a project in Rwanda from the European Union in the framework of its strategy of diversified funding. This later made new Belgian and international fundings possible
- 1997 : a coordinator is hired and the activities of ADG develop rapidly. ADG proposes its first 5-year action plan to the Belgian cooperation agency in partnership with 3 NGO’s. This results in the implementation of a development project in Peru and several conferences are organised in French community of Belgium secondary schools about the issue of Southern countries’ development.
- 2002 : ADG coordinates a new consortium with 2 NGO’s and starts the new 5-year action plan 2003-2007 with the funding of the Belgian Development Cooperation. 5 projects are launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Cambodia, Venezuela, Peru and Senegal.
- 2005 : ADG is recognized as a partner of the Belgian Survival Fund (FBS) and starts a 10-year programme in Senegal.
- 2008 : new projects are carried out by the consortium in Peru, Bolivia, Senegal and Cambodia as part of a new 3-year programme funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation.
- 2009 : The recognition of ADG as a “NGO Programme” by the Belgian Development Cooperation combined with the support of other funders guarantee the pursuit of ADG’s programmes.