Empowering women in Ecuador

Women in Ecuador have a hard life – 64 percent of them are victims of violence in the course of their lives. Every day, seven girls under the age of 14 become pregnant as a result of rape. These young mothers often embark on adult life without even a school-leaving certificate. Rural areas with a high proportion of indigenous people are particularly affected. SWISSAID has established networks in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo together with local women’s organisations. Here, women smallholders can exchange ideas, learn about their rights and grant each other microloans. The money enables the women to take the initiative and help themselves. Last year, around 2,000 women benefited from this project

Seed propagation in Nicaragua

In recent years, SWISSAID has worked with local partners to ensure that indigenous crop seeds (including maize, beans, millet, sorghum and rice) have been identified, registered and protected from disappearing. In more than 400 established seed banks, seed guardians cultivate the precious commodity and ensure its distribution to the population. These centres also help to ensure that local diversity is maintained. A current project, for example, saw 96 maize and bean varieties professionally stored and protected last year. In total, it enables 2,000 women producers and their families to lead an independent and self-determined life. In addition, the smallholders are better protected against the devastating natural disasters that are tending to occur more and more frequently. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, the Central American country is one of the countries most affected by climate change.

Planting trees in Colombia

Young people in Colombia have the power to protect their habitat: the tropical forest in the Sucre region is home to 2,600 different plant, 230 bird and 60 mammal species. Forest walks, campaigns and videos are used to raise awareness among young people, and they are involved in the establishment of tree nurseries. 50 native tree species were reintroduced in 2023. 120 hectares of forest were reforested and over 50,522 trees planted. 500 kilometres further north, in the high South American mountains of Boyaca, the guardians of the paramos are at work protecting a unique ecosystem and, thanks to agroecological farming methods, are able to find enough to eat and enjoy a balanced diet at the same time.

Kolumbien Bäume pflanzen


Learning to read in Guinea-Bissau

Despite being rich in raw materials, Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s poorest countries, with everyday life having been shaped by political instability for decades. Women smallholders in particular, who have little schooling, suffer from poverty. According to a SWISSAID study from June 2022, 49 percent of women smallholders in the project areas of Bissau and Bissora have never attended school. As a result, every second woman can neither read, calculate nor write. The consequence of this is that they sell their vegetables below the market price, do not market their products and have no access to information or assistance.

Local teachers teach the women how to use a mobile phone, read and do simple calculations, as well as promoting digital skills. The knowledge helps to boost the women’s self-confidence, making them less likely to be cheated at market and enabling them to take on roles with more decision-making power in the family and village communities. This can help to change their life forever. More about the project.


SWISSAID attaches great importance to working directly with the local population. In each of the nine countries in which we are active, an office made up almost exclusively of local employees coordinates the various projects. These professionals have excellent knowledge of the country, the different dialects and the culture of the respective regions. This is an important prerequisite for the smooth running of the projects. The offices work closely with local partners, NGOs as well as the public and private sectors, and thus implement the projects efficiently and diligently.

Helping the needy in Niger

The country in the Sahel region, which has been shaken by natural disasters, was further destabilised by a military
coup in July 2023. Large parts of the population were cut off from essential supplies, and the sanctions introduced caused food prices to skyrocket, all of which exacerbated the food crisis. SWISSAID doubled the budget
for the emergency aid project that had already been launched. 17,500 people in the Dosso and Tillaberi regions in the south-west of the country received food parcels and seed to secure the next harvest. While various international organisations have withdrawn from the country as a result of the coup, SWISSAID has remained and continues to support smallholders through access to water, strengthening women’s rights and teaching agroecological farming methods.

Providing water in Chad

Tschad Wasser

According to the Human Development Index, Chad is the second-poorest country in the world. The insecure situation in Central Africa, particularly in Sudan, is creating a relentless stream of refugees. Everything is in short supply. Including water. In the Mandoul and Logone Oriental regions, SWISSAID worked with the local population to build 32 wells last year. This means less diarrhoea and other illnesses caused by drinking contaminated water. All beneficiaries pay a modest contribution to the maintenance of the wells, and water committees make sure they are well maintained. But access to drinking water also helps to create peace, noticeably easing the social conflict between

Protecting miners in Tanzania

“When you are safe, your family is also safe!” says Josefina John, a mother who works in a mine in Geita, a region in the east of Tanzania. Her hands are often full of cracks. Her legs hurt. Gold mining is dirty and dangerous work. Fatal accidents occur often. Health suffers. But the hope of finding gold often seems to be the only way out of poverty. Out of misery. To protect the workers, SWISSAID distributed helmets, safety boots and safety goggles in October 2023. Including to Josefina John. Women and men are also provided with training in accounting, safety and sustainability. SWISSAID is taking political action to improve conditions for artisanal mines and offer the miners access to the regulated market. More about the project.

Supporting girls in India

Child marriages are widespread in India. In the Marathwada region, which is severely affected by poverty, every second girl is married before the age of 18. SWISSAID is at work campaigning for equal rights and women’s rights in 80 villages. Young men and women are educated about gender inequality and taught to combat it and pass on their knowledge. Victims receive protection and accommodation, psychological support and medical care in counselling centres.
4,931 women and girls benefit from the support of this women’s project, which is co-financed by the European Union. Last year, SWISSAID also helped communities to become more resilient to climate crises through activities such as fishing and forestry.

Building strong communities in Myanmar

Since the military coup in February 2021, violence has continued to spread, with a total of 2.3 million people having been displaced across the country. A quarter of the population in Myanmar – more than 18 million people – are experiencing a lack of food and increasing poverty. Last year, SWISSAID supported particularly vulnerable households with emergency aid. The organisation is also working to build resilient and strong village communities and promote organic farming in 15 villages in Kachin State, in the north of the country. In this complex context, it is more important than ever that communities are able to organise themselves. SWISSAID is helping to set up village councils, establish structures and grant microloans (mainly to women) with a view to creating opportunities for overcoming the challenging circumstances.

Myanmar Gemeinschaften

Celebrating an anniversary in Switzerland

On the Gurten above Bern, SWISSAID looked back on its 75-year history last summer with its country managers and employees in Switzerland, together with donors, experts and politicians. Established in the post-war period, SWISSAID is now a reliable, experienced partner in nine countries, with
in-depth expertise in the areas of agroecology and gender.
Over the years SWISSAID has adapted itself repeatedly to local conditions during crises, and these qualities will be more important than ever in the future as global warming exacerbates the food crisis worldwide. If you would like to find out more about the story and key focal points, we recommend our podcast “Hungry for Solutions” and the anniversary brochure.

Your donation changes lives

The farmer in Ecuador. The mother in Niger. The boy in Myanmar. The woman in Colombia. The family in Tanzania. The man in Chad. The girl in India. The father in Guinea-Bissau. The peasant woman in Nicaragua. Your donation will benefit them.