22 February 2023
Employment and professional integration

In memoriam – Emmanuèle Dufour


It is an understatement to say that life sometimes seems unfair. On 11 February, our colleague Emmanuèle Dufour was taken by cancer, which she had been battling against for 9 months. She had barely retired and was delighted at the prospect of beginning this new period in her life, during which she planned to cultivate her garden, literally and figuratively, like the true Voltarian she was.

Emmanuèle Dufour was one of the longest-serving staff members at GRET, which she joined in 1986. Firstly, as programme assistant with Solidarité-eau for 10 years. When GRET decided in 1997 to create a management department in order to centralise the financial and administrative functions, she applied and embarked on this professionalization adventure.

Although Emmanuèle had not stricto sensu trained in management, she gradually embodied the management function at GRET, in charge of budgetary monitoring of projects, compliance with GRET’s contractual obligations, and the production of financial reports for donors. Her rigour, her conscientiousness, and the high standards she set herself enabled GRET to be recognised as a serious institution, capable of reporting to the nearest cent on the public funding it managed. She did her work with the same thoroughness and conscientiousness as an artisan, learned during her cabinetmaking apprenticeship. After receiving her certificate, she practised cabinetmaking in her free time. She spared neither energy nor time in working and reworking her creations at her workbench.

As GRET became increasingly larger and more decentralised with its representation offices in our countries of intervention, Emmanuèle’s role evolved. Initially, she feared she might not be qualified enough to train others, but she went on to conduct missions, transferring her know-how and supporting the financial departments in our representations. And she thoroughly enjoyed this new function, because for her it was completely in keeping with the spirit of international solidarity that motivated her. Emmanuèle worked in French-speaking Africa, in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea, Congo and other countries. These were the missions where she fully thrived, not only training the local teams but also, and above all, forming lasting friendships.

Lastly, Emmanuèle Dufour was involved in all internal management reforms at GRET, contributing to the improvement of its tools, and investing herself for the collective interest. In this regard, her mastery of her profession and her common sense proved extremely useful. She also supported and advised all the young HQ finance managers who were recruited within the finance and administration department.

For those who knew her well, her sharp irony could not conceal her deep sensitivity, she had a biting humour that did not take away from her openness and her interest in others, at times an apparent hardness that was first and foremost an expression of her own high standards. She also had a wealth of culture, was an avid reader and especially an accomplished accordionist, an instrument she practised diligently. One could often bump into her at lunch time, wearing her piano on straps, rehearsing her scales and classics from the French chanson tradition, of which she had an encyclopaedic knowledge.

Our thoughts are with her partner Annick and all her family. GRET joins in their grief and in their fond memories of her.

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