ICU – Institute for University Co-operation Onlus – is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), recognised by the Italian Government and the European Union, which operates in the fields of university cooperation, education and vocational training, sanitation and healthcare, rural development, women’s promotion, social development and emergencies.
ICU was established in 1966 by some Italian university professors whose aim was to support the growth of the Culture and Science put at the service of mankind. In order to attain its aim, ICU purposes to promote measures and to carry out initiatives designed to:
- Support Human and Social growth in developing countries through development co-operation projects with special emphasis to the training of local human resources.
- Disseminate the idea of a development co-operation culture meant as promotion of the human dignity.
Since its foundation ICU has realized about 400 projects, in 35 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and Near East, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific. Currently it manages about 20 projects.
ICU structure is decentralized in order to have strong field presence. ICU HQ are in Rome (Italy) and ICU branches are currently in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Syria (suspended), Mauritania, DR Congo, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia.
ICU is a partner of ECHO – European Community Humanitarian Office – in the management of emergency projects. It is also a member of the Management Board of READI (Red Euro-Arabe de ONG para el Desarrollo y la Integración).
ICU cooperates with and is subsidized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various local authorities in Italy and by private citizens.
ICU works in close cooperation with local partners (often central and local governments, as well as local entities), jointly implementing project activities (institutional capacity building and field activities).
Close cooperation with local partners allows strong emphasis on sustainability after project end: for example, Piura University (Peru) started up in early 1970s is now reference in the country, Monkole Hospital Center (DR Congo) reached operational and financial sustainability after 6/7 years since the start up (1994) and is now expanding (40 to 150 beds within 2014).