“Schweizer Spende” – the agency providing emergency aid in war-ravaged Europe – is renamed “Schweizer Europahilfe” (SEH) – an umbrella organisation for the “Schweizer Hilfswerke” active back then.

The SEH not only carries out coordination work and procures funding, but also manages its own campaigns in West Germany and Austria. The concept of “self-help” emerges for the first time.

Activities in West Germany are wound up. New projects are funded in Greece. At the SEH’s General Meeting, members agree in future “to include in its mandate campaigns to help areas in need in other regions of the world”. Thus, development aid is recognised as a new area of activity. Consequently, the organisation is renamed “Schweizer Auslandhilfe” (SAH).

The SAH’s initial projects in India mark the real beginning of development aid. Loosely cooperating with a Swiss national living abroad in India, the SAH supports irrigation systems, rural training centres and the rehabilitation of leprosy sufferers.

The SAH starts work in Chad.

The “Schweizer Auslandhilfe” is renamed – to make its mission clearer – SWISSAID.

To educate the Swiss population more effectively about development aid and poverty, SWISSAID joins forces with “Bread For All”, “Fastenopfer” and “Helvetas” to form a consortium today known as “Alliance Sud”.

In the same year, SWISSAID gains a foothold for the first time in Latin America. From Ecuador, the relief organisation initiates projects in Colombia before the country gains its own office in 1983.

After 24 years, Heinrich Fischer retires as SWISSAID’s Secretary-General. His successor is Ernst W. Schnellmann. He worked for SWISSAID from 1948 and had a key influence on the organisation’s development and overall attitude.

SWISSAID sets up an office for women’s affairs.

SWISSAID is transformed from an association to a foundation independent of religious or party political affiliations with a mission to “promote the solidarity of the Swiss population with the world’s disadvantaged people.”

In Lausanne, a branch office of SWISSAID’s headquarters opens.

The SWISSAID team adopts a more political tone and sets up an “agriculture and environment” information office.

SWISSAID commences work in Myanmar (Burma) or, initially, in the area bordering Thailand.

The Max Havelaar foundation is established. SWISSAID plays a substantial role.

SWISSAID undertakes to provide “development aid from the inside out and the bottom up”, so those concerned take the initiative and are themselves in control.

SWISSAID marks its 50th anniversary, including a celebration in the hall of the Swiss National Council.

SWISSAID’s subsidiary office in India is the first to be “decentralised”, thus largely self-determining which projects will be carried out. Local professional managers are in charge of all SWISSAID offices.

SWISSAID celebrates its 60th anniversary. At the festivities in Bern town hall, Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey praised the organisation’s work.

After a successful lobbying campaign by SWISSAID and other non-governmental organisations Switzerland agrees to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI works to ensure transparency concerning the revenues from resources of raw materials in developing countries.

Eight Swiss NGOs, including SWISSAID, found the Swiss Water & Sanitation Consortium funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). SWISSAID can assist 101,000 people to access cleaner water in the Sahel states of Niger and Chad.

In Myanmar (Burma), together with the relief organisation Oxfam and other partners, SWISSAID can implement an EU Major Project of approximately 500,000 Swiss francs.

In Tanzania, along with other civil society organisations, SWISSAID’s partner organisation Tabio opposes the overpowering pressure of the agricultural lobby to ensure that genetically modified seeds only continue to be used for research purposes and that the users still bear the risks.

The Responsible Business Initiative is established. More than 140,000 people and 76 non-governmental organisations have signed up to the SWISSAID initiative and clarified that Swiss companies abroad should also respect human rights and the environment.

Since 2019, the Board of Foundation has been led for the first time by a co-chairmanship. Bastienne Joerchel and Fabian Molina, together with the Executive Board, are responsible for the strategic management of the Foundation.

SWISSAID is forming the Sufosec Alliance with five organizations. Over the next four years, Fastenopfer, Vétérinaires sans Frontières, Vivamos Mejor, Aqua Alimenta and the Skat Foundation, as joint contractual partners with the SDC, will pursue an ambitious program to reduce hunger and poverty through agroecology, the promotion of civil society and networked cooperation, particularly in the development and safeguarding of knowledge.

In collaboration with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), SWISSAID launches the CROPS4HD project. This ambitious project aims to promote the production and consumption of local and resilient plant species and ensure a healthy and diversified diet for the population. It is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The Sufosec Alliance publishes its first food report. The report highlights the dramatic increase in hunger in the world and shows how important agroecology can be in the fight against hunger.

2023 – 75 years of SWISSAID
We have achieved a lot. Discover the great moments in the history of our foundation over the last 75 years. Start your journey through time to the years 1945 – 1973, 1974 – 1997, 1998 to today (only in german and french). You can find more stories and exciting facts from 75 years on the anniversary page.