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Learn more about our history

Djapo is a pioneering ship. Always on the move, from the very beginning. Ever since our start in 1968, our mission evolved around children, young people and societal innovation. But every now and then our ship changes course. Because society evolves, for instance. Or because our expertise grows and we pick up new insights along the way.

Curious about our route? Climb aboard our ship.


Erik de Clerck founds the non-profit organisation Alfa. Alfa is a think tank and action group dedicated to raising awareness around injustices in the world. 


The Flemish Government recognises Alfa as Youth Centre for Societal Innovation (JOCEMA)


From Alfa springs the Wereldwinkel in Turnhout.


Alfa starts creating educational materials and supervising workshops. 


ABOS (today Directorate General of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid) recognises Alfa as a regional education centre.


Alfa is recognised as a NGO.


Alfa is starting a close collaboration with Cemuvo in Alken and Horizon Educatief in Ostend.


Alfa starts rolling out five-year programmes with the support of Directorate General for Development and Humanitarian Aid.


Alfa merges with the Esmeraldas school operation in Ghent and Cemuvo in Alken. Together, they choose to continue under the name Djapo. In the West African Wolof language, Djapo means - freely translated - 'working together'. There are three provincial support centres in Alken, Turnhout and Ghent, and a national secretariat in Leuven.


Djapo merges with the Wereldwerkplaats and moves to the Ortolanenstraat in Kessel-Lo, where the Wereldwerkplaats was located.


The provincial support centres disappear, but Djapo maintains a strong regional operation. We carry on the name Djapo with pride. It refers to the global impact of societal choices we make here, and our act of solidarity.


Today, Djapo is a recognised NGO and a member of the NGO Federation and 11.11.11. Children and young people remain at the heart of our organization. Our commitment to lead and address societal challenges is bigger than ever before.