In 1973, three Swedish consultants began providing organisational development services under the name ORGUT. A year later, the first overseas long-term assignment was implemented in Ethiopia and for several years, ORGUT supported rural development there. A steadily growing portfolio expanded from the initial forestry and sustainable land use support work to large integrated rural development, land administration and water sector projects. In the 80’s, ORGUT ventured into West and East Africa focusing on food security, land management and local governance. Various successful long and short term projects established ORGUT firmly as the leading Swedish consultant and project management specialist in rural development. Geographical coverage soon encompassed some fifty countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. ORGUT also offered International Training Programmes in forestry and continued to implement rural development consultancies and environmental certification of forest products in Sweden.
Three decades of rural project management experience had prepared ORGUT for the expansion into sector reforms and policy review in a new generation of projects. These projects linked best practices in decentralised natural resource management along with rights-based approaches, to national or regional reform. Large natural resource and market-led income generation projects expanded to Latin America and in South East Asia. Combining good governance and equitable access to natural resources remained a core element in many assignments as for example in the Sida funded LAMP. In 2002, the UNDP Equator Initiative Prize was awarded to the nine LAMP supported SULEDO villages for the sustainable management of community forests. By then, many ORGUT projects in sustainable agriculture, forestry and land use planning had introduced climate change mitigation and adaptation before these terms were widely adopted. As a recognized natural resource governance specialist and efficient project manager, ORGUT became increasingly engaged in large-scale water and sanitation sector projects in East and Southern Africa and the Middle East. In parallel, ORGUT saw strong growth in land administration, management and reform assignments in Eastern Europe and East Africa. Democratic governance and decentralization programmes, already initiated in the 90’s at local levels reached national coverage in Tanzania and Vietnam. In the last decade ORGUT has also established itself as a service provider in private sector development services including market development, value chains and microfinance in Eastern Europe and Africa.
ORGUT has always been, and still is, fully owned and controlled by its staff. This creates a strong professional and managerial commitment with a remarkably low staff turnover, guaranteeing continuity in results-oriented service delivery. The company’s solid institutional memory is highly useful for concept, method and approach development. An ISO 9001 Certification increased stability and transparency in management and administration. ORGUT established a branch office in Vietnam in 1994. Since then, ORGUT Kenya Ltd based in Nairobi was established as well as representative offices in Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa. In 2010, the company concentrated its growing land administration portfolio and expertise at ORGUT UK Ltd. In 2011, ORGUT Finland Oy was established with offices in Helsinki, building on ORGUT’s aim of further develop its provision of consulting services to MFA Finland. Over the years, ORGUT’s client and partner base has broadened steadily and ORGUT now cooperates with a wide range of multilateral and bilateral donors, country ministries, research institutes and the private sector. Today, ORGUT is a truly international group in terms of geographic and sector outlook, staff and clients.