Discover Tétraktys

Tétraktys is an NGO specialized in local development based in the French Alps.   For the last 20 years, they have been dedicated to sharing their expertise in rural development with communities all over the world.

Tétraktys is intimately connected with the history of rural development in the French Alps.

Born of a shared desire to offer a professional approach to rural development, Tétraktys was formed in 1994 as part of a collaboration between three organizations specialized in rural and mountain tourism : AFRAT (Association pour la Formation des Ruraux aux Activités de Tourisme), CRET (Centre Régional et Européen du Tourisme) and the GTA (Grande Traversée des Alpes).

Together, these three organizations constitute a complementary network of experts able to respond to the challenges associated with territorial planning and development :

  • Protection and promotion of natural and cultural sites
  • creation of hiking and trekking itineraries
  • training for guides and tourist service providers
  • creation of planning documents

Today, Tétraktys is at the hub of a regional network of experts : elected officials and mountain communities, innovative businesses, tourism professionals, educational establishments and universities, institutions and organizations.

Our areas of expertise:
  • technical engineering
  • environmental preservation
  • protection and promotion of heritage
  • education and training
  • regional promotion
  • project management
Our areas of intervention:
  • rural tourism
  • territorial planning and development
  • access to drinking water
  • environment
  • culture
  • global citizenship

Our Values

Tétraktys’ work aims to help communities around the world establish local development policies that respond to their needs.

Inspired by the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights, the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, and our humanist values, we take a deliberate and global approach toward local development. For Tétraktys, working with communities means taking into account local history and the unique characteristics of local economies, cultures and customs.

Tetraktys’ territorial approach was inspired by their extensive experience working in a variety of different countries and helps ensure that the construction of projects fully involve local populations and decision-makers.

Our guiding principles :

A localized and territorial approach : identification of challenges and key actors for the development and implementation of pilot projects

A collective benefit : every project aims to benefit all of the members of the community

Participation in and adoption of projects : the projects put in place are managed by local actors

Methodology adapted to each territory :  initial needs analyses, development of goals and plan of action, implementation and evaluation

A responsive and evolving approach: in order to avoid limiting the opportunities available to our local partners, responsiveness and evolution are at the core of our approach.

The purpose of our work :

  • Durable increase in revenues; improvement in quality of life for the target population
  • Strengthening the capacity of communities to be active in their own development
  • Preservation and promotion of the natural and cultural environment
  • Education

Thanks to a wealth of experience, Tétraktys is able to offer a local development model that is adaptable to any rural area.  Their model comprises not only the technical aspects of development, but also makes up part of a deliberate and global approach to development.

For Tétraktys, guiding and assisting development means strengthening the local economy in a way that limits rural exodus and improves quality of life.

Our Team

Based in the Alps, Tétraktys has been working on local development projects for 22 years.

The expertise Tétraktys brings to a project is not limited to the know-how of the members of their own team, but also extends to an extensive network of skilled and experienced professionals associated with the organization (elected officials and mountain communities, innovative businesses, tourism professionals, educational establishments and universities, institutions and organizations).

In 2015, Tétraktys worked in eight countries, five of which were part of decentralized cooperation projects requiring several in-country missions per year.  The permanent employees of the organization share the responsibilities for these missions and are generally accompanied in their work by 3 to 6 paid or civil service volunteers per year.  These volunteers help with specific tasks in the Tétraktys offices in Grenoble, and can also take part in 2 to 3 month missions abroad.

Finally, the real strength of Tétraktys in project management lies with its group of 16 senior experts who contribute their expertise to the organization on a volunteer basis.  They advise the organization in their various areas of expertise:   architecture, anthropology, communication, tourism strategy and development, hydrology, partnership creation, culture, education, trail design and creation, etc.

These experts in land planning and management are recognized in their respective fields and contribute to the development and monitoring of projects in all of the countries that Tétraktys works in.  They sometimes take part in missions abroad, and also support heads of mission in project building as well as planning, implementation and monitoring of actions.   This junior/senior partnership is one of the unique approaches that makes Tétraktys’ work successful.

Our Areas of Intervention

Territorial Planning and Development

We recognize that Tetraktys’ projects contribute to an ongoing evolution of the social and geographic landscapes of the communities in which we work.  This is why we believe in the importance of integrated land use planning and the participation of local actors in the development and implementation of projects.  These partnerships help us ensure that our initiatives do not conflict with local beliefs, conceptions and imperatives, and that they respond to communities’ needs.

Whether we are working on the creation of a long distance hiking trail in Palestine, a water project in Morocco, the development of access to a cave system in Laos or on a regional land use strategy in Burkina Faso, we emphasize the fact that we are working for the local community.  Our goal is not to impose a new way of doing things, but rather to help communities naturally evolve their practices and improve living conditions.

Thanks to initial needs assessments (geographic, social, technical and anthropological), we are able to adapt projects to local realities and offer programs with long-term viability.  Evaluation is also an important aspect of all of our projects.  Whether at the end of a project, or ongoing during a project cycle, we believe that honest evaluations are key to ensuring that we reach our goals and improve our practices in the future.

Rural Tourism

Rural tourism has been at the center of Tétraktys’ work for over 20 years. In fact, the idea of spreading community-based tourism that is respectful of local heritage guided the creation of Tétraktys in 1994.

We believe that tourism, when it is respectful of sociocultural and environmental context and adapted to local conditions, can be an important factor in long-term economic development.

With this in mind, we support and initiate a variety of different types of programs: creation of small-scale lodging opportunities (camps, rural guesthouses, eco-lodges), training in management, promotion, communication, hospitality, and guiding, and when needed, basic French-language training for non-francophone populations.

Tétraktys is also equipped to help plan destination development from small to large scale: from establishing individual sites to regional tourism strategies (like the one put in place for the Hauts Bassins region in Burkina Faso).

Tétraktys stays involved in its programs from conception to completion, supports tourism service providers in the promotion of their products (lodging, itineraries, local products).

Environment

Environmental protection is a principle that underlies all of the projects that Tétraktys implements overseas.  Early on, our emphasis on solidarity tourism and a human-scale approach led us to recognize the importance of addressing environmental challenges and sustainability.   Since then, integrating protection of the natural environment in tourism and regional planning has become one of our specialties.

Communities and organizations often seek us out specifically as partners or consultants for our expertise in the development of tourism based around fragile and sensitive natural areas.  We also carry out projects that are entirely environmentally focused, including in the Boundou Community Natural Reserve in Senegal, the UNESCO Mar aux Hippopatames Biosphere Reserve in Burkina Faso, the Nokoué Lake RAMSAR site in Benin and Khamoauane Karst in Laos.

The environment is also one of the important aspects covered in our educational programs.

Access to Drinking Water

Access to drinking water has been one of Tétraktys’ areas of expertise since its foundation, and has become the theme of several ambitious projects in Madagascar and Morocco, as well as an element of many of our projects worldwide. We feel that it is impossible to put into place cultural, environmental and tourism projects without addressing this basic and vital need.  In order to respond to this critical challenge, we enlist the expertise of qualified hydro-geologists and hydraulic engineers.

Tétraktys is involved in all of the steps of creation and restoration of potable water systems :

  • carrying out initial assessments (technical, financial, and socio-economic)
  • putting in place exploitation, treatment and transport systems at the scale of a school, village or social housing
  • supporting communities and decision-makers to establish rational and sustainable water management systems.

Education for Global Citizenship

Although Tétraktys has always been involved in education through its international projects and events in France, it wasn’t until recently that we decided to formalize these activities and design a program entirely dedicated to education for global citizenship.

Our educational program is centered around three main axes :

  • implementation of parallel educational programs (North-South/South-South)
  • awareness events and campaigns notably for (but not limited to) young audiences about our work in general, a particular region or a specific theme (potable water, citizenship, the environment, community-based tourism, etc)
  • creation of pedagogical tools including DVDs, films, booklets, expositions, etc.

We are also equipped to do presentations for university and continuing education audiences.

Culture

In addition to protecting natural environment, Tétraktys is also committed to protecting the cultural heritage of the countries we work in.

The promotion of the traditions and heritage of an area, both to tourists and local populations (who sometimes need support in the preservation of this kind of asset) is an important aspect of our all of our projects, and is sometimes even the principal goal.

Preserving local identity and creating income-generating activities are two of the outcomes we strive for.  Our projects in this domain include the initiation of historic building renovations and the creation of eco-museums (for which we involve set exhibit designers, architects, and researchers).   Additional examples of our work can be found in Senegal, were we supported local artisans by highlighting their unique knowledge and skills, or in Mali where we have helped coordinate artisanal cooperatives.  Finally, we also help in the organization of cultural events and festivals that celebrate and popularize local specialties on the national and international stage.