A commitment in the Global South
In the Global South, we are supporting local initiatives that enable people to become more independent and to escape poverty. People have the right to participate in economic, social and political life, and this is the driving force behind our actions. To this end, we are conducting development cooperation projects in our nine partner countries.
Sustainable agriculture to achieve food sovereignty
Most of our projects aim to encourage the adoption of agroecological approaches by rural populations. Whether it be the conservation of traditional seeds that are adapted to local conditions and more resilient to climate change, the production of natural fertilisers from compost, mixed cropping, market access, awareness campaigns amongst consumers to promote local farming and seasonal food – these methods are particularly effective in promoting sustainable agriculture. In addition, they are increasing the resilience of individuals to the effects of climate change, which are particularly strong in these regions.
Focusing on women and children to create an egalitarian society
SWISSAID is also committed to improving access to water, livestock and fields, and to defending the rights of people living in the vicinity of mining operations. Women and young people are the pillars of society, and strengthening their rights is also at the heart of our projects. This involves, for example, learning how to read, write and count, getting together in associations, getting to know one’s rights better and how to take part in decision-making processes at all levels of society, getting training in accounting, or finding solutions for patriarchal societies which often go hand in hand with violence against women and children. A society with emancipated women and an active youth is a society moving forward. Men are included in all of these processes.
Local work, global effects
SWISSAID makes it a point of honour to work directly with local people. In each of its nine partner countries, an office that is almost exclusively made up of staff from the region coordinates the various projects. These professionals know the country, its languages, dialects and culture, and that is an essential condition for the smooth running of the projects. These offices are working closely with local partners – NGOs and the private sector – and are implementing projects efficiently and meticulously.
A commitment in Switzerland
In Switzerland, we are sharing information, raising awareness and advocating to the authorities so that the laws passed here do not have any negative impacts on the people in the Global South and do not undermine our work.
We are sharing information relating to our areas of expertise: agroecology, food sovereignty, promotion of small farmers, climate protection and raw materials.
In recent years, we have for instance released explanatory brochures, organised webinars in several languages and joined forces with other organisations, in order to raise awareness on the reality of life in the field and to find solutions for local communities.
United around the 2030 Agenda
In order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which Switzerland has helped developing, it is necessary for civil societies to be informed and to participate in democratic debates. Concretely, we believe that we have a role to play in the fight to eradicate poverty, eliminate hunger, achieve gender equality, urgently fight climate change and guarantee access to clean water. Raising awareness and encouraging active participation of the civil society are essential for the effective implementation of these goals. And the clock is ticking: 2030 will come very soon!
We are maintaining a dialogue with a wide range of actors, including companies, the Government, international institutions, scientists and our own activists. We are also carrying out advocacy work when we believe that certain decisions or measures taken in Switzerland can contribute to improving living conditions in the Global South. That is why we have supported the Responsible Business Initiative, for example, and why we are members of the Climate Alliance.
In 2020, we published a study on gold, a precious material of which more than half passes through Switzerland. After a thorough investigation, we came to the conclusion that self-regulation of the industry is not enough to stop human rights violations and environmental damage in the countries where gold is mined, and that action is also needed there.