In the South...

As a foundation for development work, SWISSAID is largely funded by donations. So our core work – projects to help the poorest people in our partner countries – can only be carried out thanks to generous donations from institutions and private individuals. Each and every one of us is called upon to make an active contribution – not least in our own interests – towards creating better living conditions for all: this is the message we try to convey in Switzerland. We also represent the interests of disadvantaged people and countries when it comes to development policy: we campaign for laws, consumer behaviour and production conditions to be made more sustainable.

A third of SWISSAID’s funding comes from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA). in the North

In Switzerland, we focus our public awareness work on our areas of specialisation, namely agroecology, food security, support for smallholder families, climate protection and raw materials. We engage in dialogue with a large number of important stakeholders: Companies, authorities, international institutions, representatives of the scientific community and our volunteers. If we believe that we can contribute to improving living conditions in the South through certain decisions or measures in Switzerland, we act as an advocate for those affected. For example, we supported the Responsible Business Initiative (KOVI) and are a member of the Climate Alliance.

Maximum impact with your donations

We see it as our duty to ensure that your donations have the greatest possible impact for the benefit of people in the Global South. We are convinced that sustainable development requires two things: firstly, specific help on the ground and, secondly, increased awareness of our shared responsibility here in the north. These two core elements of development work are reflected in our programme.

About 80% of our resources go directly into these projects, and around 20% into fundraising and administration. The main focus of our work is aid projects in the south and this accounts for 82% of the SWISSAID programme. The remaining resources are invested in raising awareness (15%) and work on development policy (3%). Specifically, the development policy work comprises our membership fee to Alliance Sud, supporting projects like the Responsible Business Initiative and, currently, for example, the work of the Climate Alliance.

We treat your donation with respect

SWISSAID is ZEWO-certified. That quality seal guarantees that donations will be handled carefully. SWISSAID submits its accounts in accordance with the SWISS GAAP FER 21/CoreFER professional regulations. An external auditor checks the accounts in interim and final reviews every year. SWISSAID voluntarily subjects itself to the more stringent ordinary auditing procedure and has standardised its reporting, in particular in connection with its ICS (internal financial control system).

Most important resource: the employees

SWISSAID has a workforce of around 200 people around the world, 40 of them in Bern and Lausanne. In the countries of the South SWISSAID works mainly with local specialists and refrains generally from bringing in expensive experts from Switzerland.

Find out more about the team

Appreciation of our work

Local authorities, cantons, town and city councils, foundations and, above all, thousands of donors throughout Switzerland supported us generously in 2019, contributing the lion’s share of our financial resources. A big thank-you to you all! We consider this support to be proof of people’s trust in the work that we do and a mandate from them to implement the projects even more effectively and efficiently. Handling financial resources carefully is very important to SWISSAID. We continually support our partner organisations in developing countries in steps to improve the quality of their administrative processes. This leads to improved financial supervision of the projects and increased transparency.

SWISSAID invests continuously in these processes. While the individual steps might seem modest, this progress will make a difference in the long run.

The clear division of duties between the Bern branch office and SWISSAID field offices in the Southern Hemisphere prevents duplication of work. Continual monitoring, according to business management principles, is undertaken to check that projects are conducted efficiently and fundraising measures are worthwhile. Yet professional management and project monitoring, controls and quality assurance, fundraising itself and transparent accounting represent an important investment in the future both for the foundation and for our partners in the South.

Luis A. Guzmán, SWISSAID

Against corruption

Corruption hinders the fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development. It exacerbates inequality and the gap between social classes. SWISSAID works in countries with a high CPI (Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from Transparency International) – this means that the population surveyed believes that corrupt practices are very widespread in the country. It is SWISSAID’s explicit goal to fight corruption. One effective means is to strengthen civil society: an issue to which SWISSAID is highly committed in all areas of its work. A strong, critical and well-informed civil society advocates transparency and accountability on the part of the government.

Against sexual harassment

Unacceptable practices do not only exist in the environment in which SWISSAID works, but, despite strict guidelines, can also occur within partner organisations or SWISSAID itself. Anyone who identifies or learns of violations (such as corruption, fraud, conflicts of interest, mobbing, sexual harassment, non-compliance with project standards) can report this confidentially via the following email address: 

In 2019, SWISSAID developed a Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Harassment and Abuse Policy (PSEAH Policy) in English, French and Spanish so that it is accessible to all staff in our partner countries.

Responsible communication

As a foundation for development work and through its publicity work and fundraising, SWISSAID has an influence on public perception of the Global South. Together with other supporting organisations of Alliance Sud, we are committed to our shared manifesto and to responsible communication. The manifesto serves as a guide for all our employees. At its heart are our sector’s internal guidelines on responsible communication in international cooperation, which impose an obligation on us in relation to the general public.