Oikos today

Istituto Oikos is a non-profit organisation that operates in Europe and developing countries to safeguard biodiversity. It promotes a responsible management of natural resources and the widespread adoption of more-sustainable lifestyles as tools for social and economic development and for fighting poverty.

Oikos is an independent, non-religious organisation. It was founded in 1996 in Milan.

Since then, we have devised and developed over 200 projects in Italy, Europe and eleven countries across Asia, Africa and South America.

Our values, our tools

Oikos’s VISION

A future in which ecology, economy and equity come together to reconcile the needs of man and the environment


To contribute to preserving ecosystems and supporting development through professionalism, innovation and participation

We have an integrated approach.
We work on different levels that all form one coherent framework. We also use a variety of tools that strengthen each other: analysis, collaborative planning and management of natural resources (forests, wildlife, water, soil, energy), awareness-raising, training, projects aimed at strengthening the economic self-sufficiency of disadvantaged communities and the role of women.

We promote and manage development projects, cooperation programmes and partnerships between organisations in the North and South of the world, activities for the creation of micro enterprises in the environmental sector, and educational initiatives promoting sustainability.


Regional plans, wildlife monitoring, responsible tourism programmes, aqueducts and photovoltaic plants: all our interventions in all fields share one common objective to make city dwellers, rural communities and public institutions more aware about environmental protection.

One thing is certain: careful attention to the preservation of "natural capital" is at the basis of any development process. In the rural areas of the global South, poverty and inappropriate, unsustainable management of natural resources are directly related.

Istituto Oikos strives to operate using integrated, long term programmes in a number of natural areas where it can rely on good knowledge, on solid and lasting partnerships, on the possibility of monitoring the success and sustainability of its activities in the long term.

The Alps in Italy, the Maasai Steppe in Tanzania and the coastal area of Myanmar are a few examples.


Our work can be divided into three parts. In the learning stage, we acquire the basic elements needed to develop our work together with the local communities. The operational stage involves a number of investments and concrete actions. The critical analysis of results stage is supported by careful work on indicators and culminates in the spreading of good practices.

We mainly work in fragile environments which are exposed to climate change and growing, poorly controlled anthropic pressure. At the same time, these environments are valuable in ecological terms due to their rich biodiversity or the services that the ecosystems offer in terms of climate stabilisation, water drainage and the supply of raw materials.

We always work together with the local population and cooperate with local, national and international institutions and organisations.

We develop projects based on innovation and experimentation as well as on concrete, sustainable actions, scientific rigour, the principles of equity, solidarity and interculturality.


Oikos operates in various parts of the world in collaboration with local partners. Much of our work is done in Italy, Myanmar, and Africa — Tanzania and Mozambique in particular. In recent years, we have launched projects in several European countries (Germany, Great Britain, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain), in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Kyrgyzstan, China and Mongolia.

A total of 70 men and women work for Istituto Oikos:
MYANMAR/Yangon: 3 expatriates, 8 local staff
TANZANIA/Arusha: 5 expatriates, 31 local staff
ITALIA/Milan: 4 employees (3 part time), 11 independent contractors, 1 intern and 6 consultants
MOZAMBICO/Pemba: 1 expatriates

Istituto Oikos is part of:
IUCN World Conservation Union
Associazione delle ONG italiane
CoLomba (Association of the NGOs of Lombardy)
AITR Associazione Italiana Turismo Responsabile
Coalizione Italiana per la Lotta contro la Povertà
Sustainable Energy Europe campaign of the European Commission.

Istituto Oikos is a non-profit organisation (“ONLUS”) pursuant to Italian Legislative Decree 760/97 and recognised as being suitable for international cooperation pursuant to Italian Law 49/87.


The future demands increasing commitment and a continuous critical review of the instruments we use.
Our priorities include:

    Strategies for action
  • Continue to operate as a small NGO that interacts with its partners to achieve successful experiences based on shared inspirations, innovation, an ability to invest and a willingness to put the best competences into action.
  • Find a method of work that guarantees increasing effectiveness and efficiency and is based on careful monitoring of results.
  • Constantly strengthen the role of our partners and local technical staff, maintaining our strong commitment to vocational training and raising awareness on environmental issues as essential tools that help beneficiaries to get out of poverty without having to rely on others.
  • Support the micro-economies of informal local groups, built upon their knowledge of traditional cultures and the local areas built also upon their knowledge of traditional cultures and of the territory..
  • Give priority to the areas where we can make the most of our expertise: areas of significant environmental value that require protective measures or areas in which we have been implementing long term projects and can rely on in-depth knowledge and stable, lasting relations with our partners. .
  • Strengthen our strategic and organizational side.
  • Make a concentrated effort to prepare a Position Paper for each of our strategic sectors: water, sustainable agriculture, energy, environmental monitoring.
  • Improve internal communications between our main office and those in the countries we operate in, as well as between the various sectors (scientific, communication, cooperation) .
  • Foster a greater openness to the public, contact and direct collaboration with citizens, starting with citizens in the Milan area.
  • Strive to create a community of responsible, aware citizens with whom to share thoughts, projects, dreams and expectations.
  • Be more open to forms of volunteer work and active participation in our projects.
  • Establish relations with private organisations, including companies, who may have a valuable contribution to make.
    Change towards sustainable lifestyles
  • Increase our networking skills and improve communication with those who, like us, aim at putting environmental protection at the centre of the development process..

We work hard towards defending the values which have helped us develop. We want to be able of reacting to changes and strengthening our experiences before coming up with new ideas or convincing ourselves that we can improve those of others. Cooperation means, above all, establishing relations in which all the parties involved offer and receive something, based on their strength, ability and intelligence; it means making the most of the many resources with which the cultures in the global south, despite poverty, can help the West.

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intestato a Istituto Oikos Onlus
Banca Popolare di Sondrio, ag. 1 - via Porpora 104, Milano 20131
IBAN IT80R0569601602000006906X78

c/c 61923629
intestato a Istituto Oikos