It all began locally, when a doctor and entrepreneur from Lyon, Charles Mérieux, came to the conclusion that no aid work was possible without logistics support.
However, at that time, there was no training available and the logistics profession did not even exist. The idea spread nationwide, then internationally, when he set up Bioforce in 1983, the only training centre in France offering courses for future humanitarian logistics experts. It marked the beginning of a great adventure, which saw the Institute expand its range of training courses as the status of humanitarian work gained in professional recognition. Bioforce is an organisation which has been serving the public interest since 1983.
Charles Mérieux and the origins of Bioforce
In 1974, Doctor Charles Mérieux led an unprecedented vaccination campaign, saving 90 million Brazilians from African meningitis in just a few months. He observed that the success of such an undertaking relied just as much on effective organisation, in particular logistics, as on the medical intervention itself.
Upon his return, and for almost ten years, Doctor Charles Mérieux kept reflecting on his ideas, developing contacts at every level – in ministries, regional authorities, humanitarian and UN organisations, with scientific and political key figures – which led to the establishment of the Bioforce Institute in 1983.
In October 1983 the very first students began their course to become ‘development officers, specialised in third world issues’. Since then, Bioforce has been supporting humanitarian work by developing effective professional skills.