The Portuguese reached the coasts of Guinea Bissau in 1446, but it did not gain independence from the state until the 1970s. In 1956 Amilcar Cabral founded the Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné and do Cabo Verde (PAIGC), which in 1963 started an armed struggle against colonial rule. Cabral was assassinated in January 1973 and, in April of the same year, the anti-colonial movement proclaimed the independence of the country, recognized by Portugal only after the fall of Salazar’s regime.

Since the end of the colonization, Guinea Bissau has been forced to deal with a chronic instability that has seen a succession of coups. In fact, no president has so far managed to complete his mandate. The PAIGC, the party that led the country in the struggle for independence, is still the party in power, although deeply divided within it.

The country’s profound crisis was the subject of a recent United Nations Security Council resolution, issue no. 2267 of 2016, which extends the mandate for the Uniogbis operation (UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau) until 2017, in order to strengthen political security, guarantee democracy and protect the respect for legality and human rights. President José Mário Vaz has been in office since 2014, although several prime ministers followed one another during the term.



Mani Tese has been operating in Guinea Bissau since 1979. In the following years, it has carried out activities related to various issues: from supporting health, to protecting human rights in prisons, passing through education and food safety.

Mani Tese is currently engaged in three main sectors:

  • The first one is that of food sovereignty: through rural interventions alongside producers’ associations and local NGOs, the aim is, on the one hand, to strengthen the peasant organizations in their production and management skills and, on the other, to improve production and, more generally, the whole chain by adopting and promoting the principles of agroecology. The breeding of small animals, especially chickens, and horticulture are the supply chains in which Mani Tese is most involved. Mani Tese pays particular attention to sustainability by setting up, where possible, real social enterprises, as in the case of CEDAVES (Center for the production of chickens and feed);
  • The second area is that of human rights: after a few years of working in prisons, we are currently engaged in the fight against violence against women through awareness-raising and promotion actions for women’s socio-economic autonomy and support for victims of violence and forced and/or early marriage;
  • Then there’s a cross-sector of intervention that concerns migration involving young people, returning migrants and Senegalese refugees awaiting naturalization, in particular in the regions of Gabu, Bafata and Cacheu. Mani Tese supports the creation of productive activities and professional training in order to promote local and national development.

country details

177 Ranking [UNDP, 2017]
84/1000 [younger than 5 years old. UNICEF, 2018] 56/1000 [younger than 1 year old. UNICEF, 2018]
1.43‰ [UNAIDS, 2018]
67% [WHO, 2019]
Country Representative in Guinea-Bissau


I am Paola Toncich, after graduating in Development and International Cooperation and a period of training and work I left Italy for Latin America, where Bolivia welcomed me for 7 years. That was an important period for job, but also for life, during which I was able to discover the country at 360 degrees.  Initially, I worked in food security and income generation projects in Bolivian […]