Three years ago, six NGOs specializing in different areas of international cooperation joined forces to form “Allianz Sufosec“, the Swiss Alliance for Sustainable Nutrition, with the aim of sustainably combating global hunger using agroecological methods. This is a special feature in Switzerland’s development policy landscape. The first joint program period 2021-2024 is significantly supported by the SDC, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The Alliance aims to significantly reduce hunger and poverty in its program areas – using best practices in sustainable agriculture, so-called “agroecology,” strengthening local food systems and communities, and last but not least, empowering women. The idea of the alliance is to achieve more thanks to synergies and complementary competencies than if each organization were to go it alone. Part of the joint program is a systematic review of the impact of the projects. On the occasion of World Food Day on October 16, 2023, the alliance will publish a first interim report. The results are encouragingly positive: Despite global crises such as the COVID 19 pandemic, the Ukraine war and climate change, the alliance can demonstrate its first measurable successes.
Agroecology and gender equality as solutions
The impact of the alliance’s programs is positive: according to a survey, food security has increased by 13 percent in 32 project areas in 18 program countries over the past two years. Since 2021, 91,000 households have participated in Sufosec programs. The surveyed households now use an average of nine different agroecological farming methods. The proportion of households combining crop and livestock production has increased significantly within two years. This, together with the introduction of sustainable farming methods in the Sufosec program areas, has made a promising contribution to improving food security. There have also been positive changes in the area of gender equality, with the average percentage of women in leadership positions at 213 Alliance partner organizations in the South increasing from 44% in 2021 to 48% in 2022.
Continuing successful collaboration
The initial successes of the Sufosec alliance are the result of bold collaboration, shared learning, and leveraging synergies. Sufosec has become a knowledge hub, especially in agroecology, local collaboration, triple nexus and gender equity. As a result, the Alliance organizations agreed early on to consider a second program phase. Shared learning, as well as program and service synergies, will be further deepened in the next phase from 2025 to 2028. A second nutrition report on the current program period is planned for fall 2024.
The interim report and more info about the alliance can be found on the newly established website www.sufosec.ch (for now only in German).
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What does agroecology mean
Agroecology is an approach recommended by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) to achieve a sustainable, equitable and healthy food system. The multi-faceted approach is based on natural cycles, conserves resources and reduces dependence on external factors such as chemical fertilizers. In addition, the farming method strengthens the soil – protecting it from storms, heavy rains or droughts. The principles of agroecology incorporate social, scientific, economic and political aspects.
Short portrait Allianz Sufosec
Sufosec*, the Swiss Alliance for Sustainable Nutrition Worldwide, is an alliance of six international cooperation NGOs. Their common goal is to sustainably reduce hunger and malnutrition by strengthening local food systems and communities based on agroecological methods. The collaboration has been in place since 2020 and is continuously deepening; it brings together the complementary expertise and experience of all actors in North and South and creates synergies for an efficient use of funds. Impact is systematically reviewed and improved.
The alliance organizations are Fastenaktion, SWISSAID, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse, Vivamos Mejor, Aqua Alimenta and Skat Foundation. They are currently involved in a total of over 450 projects in poverty-stricken countries in the global South – in close cooperation with local civil society organizations. Together, they aim to achieve the goals of the UN Agenda 2030 with regard to hunger and malnutrition in the project areas involved.
The alliance is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of its program contributions. More info: www.sufosec.ch
* Sufosec stands for: Sustainable Food Systems and Empowered Communities