AIFO is a network organization of grassroots groups and NGOs. It was started in 1961, inspired by the ideas and work of French journalist Raoul Follereau (1903-1977), and is headquartered in Bologna, Italy. AIFO is involved in international cooperation projects in health and development, focusing especially on leprosy, disabilities and diseases and conditions linked with poverty.
AIFO is in an official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), and it also collaborates actively with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is recognised by Italy’s Ministry of Education for the training of school teachers. Its international projects focus mainly on two areas, community health programmes with a special focus on leprosy, and community-based Inclusive development (CBID) programmes open to all the different groups of persons with disabilities.
AIFO has worked in China since 1989 in the field of basic health assistance and in the rehabilitation of the disabled, including those with mental health problems. From 2011 it coordinates a community mental health project in four Chinese provinces, a project co-founded by the EU. It is also runs projects in Yunnan focused on leprosy, supporting activities to control the disease, promoting the socio-economic rehabilitation of sufferers and addressing social prejudice towards them.