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what is CISAO?

Established in 2004, the CISAO (Interdepartmental Center for Research and Technical Scientific Cooperation with Africa) brings together various technical and scientific expertise from several departments of the University of Turin in Italy and encompasses the entire African society. Together with its partners, CISAO builds knowledge and solutions for resilient territories and agricultural systems in a more sustainable and supportive world. The Center mobilizes science, innovation and education to achieve sustainable development goals. Especially, all United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve as a reference point for CISAO and are the driving force behind its actions. CISAO represents a valuable resource in terms of the diversity of its expertise, spanning various scientific and disciplinary fields as well as specific geographical areas. It puts its several areas of expertise at the service of everyone, from producers to public policy makers, to promote the protection of biodiversity, ecological transitions, sustainability of food systems, health (of plants, animals and ecosystems), sustainable development of rural areas and their resilience to climate change as well as the sustainable development of urban areas. The African partners of CISAO include universities, research centers, ministries, local authorities, NGOs, associations, and schools of various types and levels in Senegal, Cape Verde, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Tunisia. Over the years, numerous research projects have been developed in collaboration with these partners.

The activities of the center are developed within the framework of a broader strategy of the University of Turin, which acts as an actor and promoter of international development cooperation, with a perspective of co-building knowledge and strategies with local actors. For more information regarding UniTo’s Cooperation activities, you can visit


Several principles guide the CISAO approach: 

● Shared objectives that motivate collective action
● Effective engagement of stakeholders facilitated by action research approaches, participatory
tools and support for collective action
● Recognition of the exploratory and iterative nature of the approach and the need to share
knowledge, including with local universities and research centers
● Support for change processes beyond the micro-scale (farms, livestock facilities, processing
plants, families, etc.)