Created in 1979 by French-speaking Belgian NGOs, Cota is a collective resulting from the movement of Appropriate Technologies. Starting from concrete situations, he has always facilitated and supported structuring change processes. The response proposed by Cota to the challenges of development has first been translated into the development of tools and techniques. Its action then evolved to adapt to a changing and complex environment.
In the 1980s, Cota broadened its field of action to include the social, economic and political dimensions of development and extended its areas of support to all aspects of project engineering for social purposes.
Cota thus contributed to the establishment of Max Havelaar in Belgium, facilitating the first reflections on alternatives to traditional trade.
In the 1990s, Cota expanded its range of services (study, action research, information / documentation, training and evaluation) on different themes: rural development, natural resource management, decentralized cooperation, fair trade, alternative energies, etc., and develops specific skills in program and project evaluation, with a learning perspective.
Cota thus contributed to the creation of the Association for the Promotion of Renewable Energies (APERE), strengthening reflection on alternative energies and participating in the emergence of environmental awareness.
From the 2000s, the Cota developed a support approach valuing the intrinsic knowledge of actors, their capacities for self-determination and integrating the logics of interaction, the balance of power and the diversity of interests between social groups and individuals.
Cota has thus developed action-research projects on various cross-cutting themes, such as those of North-South partnership or the legitimacy of CSOs.
At the turn of the 2020s, after more than 40 years of existence, Cota is continuing its commitment alongside actors of social change, regardless of their sector or their geographic area of anchoring. Its support-advice action is tailor-made with many organizations and on various themes, which come together under the two main axes of intervention which are the dynamics of citizenship on the one hand, and the governance of territories / public policies on the other hand.
Cota thus implements two multi-year framework agreements with the Belgian (Enabel) and French (AFD) development agencies, one in terms of evaluation and the other in terms of capacity building.