Armadilla was founded as a social cooperative in Rome on December 18, 1984 under the name Asal (Association of Latin American Studies). The aim was to produce and commercialize dissemination publishing tools in collaboration with international cooperation NGOs: educational units for development education for schools, the Armadilla agenda, Peters Map of the world. Since 1995, in addition to editorial activity on international cooperation (including the “What Development” series) begins to carry out cooperation projects. Most relevant is the reception center for immigrants and asylum seekers “Armadillo”, born in collaboration with the municipality of Rome, in 1995, to support the integration of minors and their families in the Italian socio-cultural reality. Starting in 2003, it assumes the name Armadilla and begins a new important phase of the Cooperative at the headquarters of via Botero 16. In July 2004 it helped to found, together with the Peter Pan Association, a shelter, “The Second Star “, in Rome, for children with oncologic cancer in care at the Umberto I Polyclinic, and their family members.
With the Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, it creates and manages the project “Roma Maputo Round Trip”, to promote and carry out cooperation and solidarity activities with Mozambique. The project includes a series of awareness initiatives in Italy for the recognition of the children’s rights in the world and is aimed at the creation of structures in Africa, in particular in Mozambique, to favor the affirmation of the right to health, to family, to education of minors. Since its inception, the “Roma Maputo Round Trip” program has combined concrete actions, information and awareness raising activities, favoring a continuous presence on the Roman territory, to speak in a new way of Africa and of commitment alongside the weak and marginalized who live there. Among the various activities carried out, the “Me, We” initiative was launched by the Mayor Walter Veltroni, who led to the construction of four wells on the outskirts of Maputo; the campaign “I go to high school and I do elementary school” started
among the Roman schools to support the construction of a primary school in the semi-rural district of Guava; restructuring and support for the activities of the “1° de Maio” children’s center; the construction of the Sibacusse primary school. In 2005 the path saw the addition of the commitment and the active and constant participation in the program of various entities of the Roman territory in collaboration with the Municipality of Rome and the civil society of the capital. A project, realized in Sibacusse, in the province of Maputo, in collaboration with the Rome Multiservizi S.p.a., led to the construction of a school structure consisting of three classrooms, an administrative block, four latrines, the area fence and the water well with a manual pump. In the promotion and the organization of this initiative, some Multiservizi employees were involved, yes they were then established in the “Multiservice Workers Group” association. Armadilla and its Roman partners were involved as protagonists in the annual event promoted by the Municipality of Rome, by the unions and the NGOs and associations called “ItaliAfrica”. In collaboration with the Foundation MIH (Mediterranean Institute of Hematology), organ of the Italian Government active in the field of care, research and training on haematological diseases, from 2006 to 2010 Armadilla managed the project “Arime” with the aim of helping eradicate two widespread blood diseases in the Mediterranean area: thalassemia and leukemia.
Armadilla collaborated with UNDP, the United Nations Development Program, in the project ART GOLD Mozambique to identify projects to be proposed to international cooperation entities and organized the international presentation event that took place in Rome at the FAO headquarters in 2008.
In Syria, in collaboration with the local partner, the association Zahret Al-Mada’en (Zam) and the funding of the Fondation Assistance Internationale, in 2004 the project that had started launched the goal of improving care for disabled children affected by neurological disorders in particular in the Damascus area and carry out activities for local human development and decentralized cooperation. The new building was constructed, which functioned as a center for the activities, before the conflict, in the municipality of Hajar Al Aswad.
The local Delegation of the European Commission has approved two new projects that Armadilla and other partners realized in the years 2011 – 2013. The first, “Women social educational and economic empowerment through economic and educational activities in Damascus, Syria “, of the duration of 30 months, has allowed the implementation of training activities and start up of micro-enterprises to encourage an improvement in family income in suburban areas of Damascus. The second one, which started in December 2010, lasted 18 months and had the aim of encouraging social inclusion care of people with disabilities.
In Nicaragua and Costa Rica three, three-year projects (2012-2014) financed were implemented by the European Union, which have had as their objective, contribute to political promotion and institutional structure of municipalities, cultural associations and local communities on the border between the two countries. At the heart of the intervention the objective is to promote the cultural values of the natives and the Afrodescendentes, like an instrument to promote economic, social and human development.
The project “European Citizens working for the global development agenda”, funded by the European Commission held between March 1, 2009 and September 30, 2011, is part of a larger program that the European Commission is promoting with the purpose of informing and involving the European citizens on the Millennium Development Goals and international cooperation community activities that the European Community realizes in the poorest places on the planet. Armadilla, in partnership with various international entities from Bulgaria, Belgium, Romania, India, Syria, Lebanon, Mozambique, has contributed to raising awareness on issues of the Millennium Declaration of the UN.
Eight documentaries were produced, in collaboration with RAI, which present, through the description of significant experiences, the eight Millennium Declaration Development Goals. Furthermore, three manuals have been published to promote information and training on the social inclusion issues, sustainable human development and global citizenship education.
Despite the escalation of violence that goes along with the protracted seven years of the conflict, Armadilla continues to operate in Syria alongside and for civil society, carrying out organizations of humanitarian interventions to meet the most immediate needs of the population, such as food, assistance and protection. The situation of generalized fear and destruction, not only material but also psychological, hinders the possibility of a peaceful coexistence between local communities, but the stories of lives, sufferings, desires of the people who are living this drama recall a commitment to all to recreate the conditions in which human dignity is respected and that weapons step aside and give way to dialogue and pacification.
In 2017 Armadilla also started feasibility studies to start projects in Tunisia and El Salvador.
Armadilla is a partner of OCHA, the United Nations Coordination Office for Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF and Italian Cooperation, for the implementation of humanitarian assistance projects in the area Damascus, which provides for food, aid and child protection interventions for about 600 families affected dramatically by the consequences of the conflict. Indeed, the number of families who are forced to leave their homes and try to escape the violence of the conflict, seeking refuge around the capital. Here Armadilla manages, together with the Association local Zahret al Mada’en and with the support of the Eight for a thousand of the Waldensian Church, a social assistance center that in recent years has become a fundamental point of reference for families that find support and protection there.
In Lebanon, Armadilla collaborates with local entities (Municipalities and Makhzoumi Foundation) with projects of sustainable development and support for communities hosting Syrian refugees. Within the project of the United Nations (UNDP) have been identified projects of decentralized cooperation in collaboration with entities of the Emilia Romagna and Lazio Regions, encouraging interchange in the context of territorial decentralized cooperation.