Survie was created in 1984 following the call from 123 Nobel Prize winners for political action to be taken against world hunger and in favour of development. At the time, Survie’s aim was to get a law adopted for survival and development which would bring about a significant increase in public development aid for the world’s most destitute populations and which would regulate that aid in order to avoid its misappropriation. Survie gradually became aware of the extent to which this aid was being misappropriated by a system which served other objectives (with little regard for these populations’ right to use the aid themselves), namely the perpetuation of a system of colonial exploitation of the continent in the name of the defence of France’s diplomatic and economic interests in its former colonies.
Survie also became aware that a group of political, economic and military actors were taking part in this misappropriation of aid and in the pillage of the continent. This is what François-Xavier Verschave (co-founder of Survie and president of the association from 1995 to 2005) called "Françafrique".
Aware that Africa’s developmental problems were first and foremost of a political nature, Survie realised the need to take action on this level as a matter of priority. The association’s generally consensual approach was progressively replaced by a political fight, which it deemed to be the essential prerequisite to achieving its objectives. During the 1990s Survie became a much more militant association.
In particular, its activists were mobilised in 1994 to denounce the French authorities’ collusion with the organisers of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, the height of Françafrique’s criminal excess.
In addition, because much development aid doesn’t reach the world’s most deprived populations, Survie has found it necessary to progressively redefine its main objective of international solidarity. Survie works to promote global public goods : the universal access to the means of satisfying elementary needs, which is essentially a recognition of the basic rights to food, shelter, work etc...