Focus on Africa
Significant progress has been made in sub-Saharan Africa, including a halving of the number of malaria deaths over the past 15 years, while the number of democracies has doubled since 2000.
Four of the world's ten most dynamic economies were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017.
The continent's economic development is dynamic, but this development is not yet sufficient for the entire population to engage in a decent economic activity that allows them to support their needs.
Challenges on the continent such as climate change, multiple conflicts, weak government and judicial institutions, growing inequalities and uncontrolled urbanisation continue to undermine the progress already achieved in development.
Switzerland's international cooperation in Africa remains important to reduce inequality and poverty, contribute to economic development, promote peace and respond to global challenges.
Switzerland's support focuses on democracy and human rights, economic development and inclusive employment, migration and protection.
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
EgyptProtection for refugees and migrants
The majority of migrants and refugees face many challenges, mainly in areas of protection and basic needs (education, health, food, and housing). Migrants are particularly vulnerable to poverty, insecure food supply, poor quality services, as well as sexual and gender-based violence.
Switzerland contributes to St. Andrews for Refugee Services (StARS). StARS is one of the few NGO's in Cairo that provides to a total of 19'000 refugees and migrants high-quality services and offers a safe and inclusive space for them to come together as a community.
Through the project support, these organizations will be able to serve thousands of beneficiaries a year, saving a considerable number of lives and showing communities by example how they can empower themselves.
«I have been with StARS for a year and one month. I am a doctor. I was searching for a job where I can work with refugees as I am a refugee myself. We have a network of doctors and give free consultations and medication. We are trying to save lives and we do our best to help everyone», said Rimaz Mohieldin.
Children education services are delivered in the form of a school located within StARS premises and servicing 260 children.
«I have three children. One is ill in hospital. My other two go to school at StARS. One comes to this branch and one to the nursery located elsewhere. I wait here for my daughter to finish classes, then we pick up my other daughter from nursery and go to hospital to the youngest of the girls».
Switzerland has intensively invested in supporting the civil society and continues on investing in civil society actors in order to achieve a change at the national level.
SDC North Africa
MaliUrbanisation and access to basic services
Centralised governance has not produced the desired results; even in cities, people do not have access to basic services (e.g. water, education, healthcare). Some 70% of people in Mali live without electricity and 42% have no access to healthcare.
To stimulate the growth of secondary cities, Switzerland is co-financing a programme with the World Bank to support Mali's urban communities. It is providing expertise in local governance support and economic development.
- 270 fully equipped classrooms and 6 health centres
- 48km of gutters and drains
- 17km of paved urban roads in Bamako and 8 secondary cities
- 16 retail infrastructures (markets, bus stations)
In total, around 300'000 people have benefited directly from these projects and improved their incomes.
Follow SDC Mali on Twitter here
Burkina FasoDecentralisation and citizen participation
Decentralisation improves transparency and efficiency in local governance. Citizens become more involved in development plans within their communities. Switzerland supports local actors in the drawing up of these plans in consultation with the population.
More than 700 Swiss-backed projects have made a difference in the areas of education, health, water, local economic development and registry services. For example, a network of more than 300 km of rural roads has been built in the east of the country, connecting cities and providing access to markets. More than 110'000 people have gained access to drinking water thanks to the building of infrastructures such as wells.
The Great Lakes RegionAddressing sexual and gender-based violence through psychosocial support and community engagement
Violence as a demonstration of power
Today, even though the fighting has officially ended, the continued prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence remains a serious concern.
The majority of victims are women, but men and boys are also affected – a fact that is often a taboo subject. Victims tend to be stigmatised and rejected by their community.
The programme works not only with victims but with the entire community to facilitate their reintegration.
For example, widows can attend workshops on dealing with grief and emotions, while couples are offered workshops on mediation, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Finding a life project
They also learn how to use various tools for managing small projects. With these workshops and the skills they offer, victims can build new lives for themselves.
To achieve a sustainable reduction in sexual and gender-based violence in the Great Lakes region, it is essential to continue working at the community level and improve the healthcare available.
It is also imperative that the countries concerned pursue their efforts to combat impunity.
The progress made to date is encouraging, but challenges remain in this region weakened by years of conflict.
For further information:
SDC The Great Lakes Region
SDC Gender Equality
NigerPromoting the professional integration of young people in rural areas
In support of the Niger authorities, Switzerland launched a programme in 2011 to support vocational training in the country's rural areas.
The objective is to contribute to the establishment of a local education, training and vocational integration system that meets the needs of young people and the local labour market.
Since 2013, 15'000 young women and men have received training. They acquire formal basic knowledge and the practical skills necessary for a professional activity.
«With my father we planted an orchard of 100 mango trees on our family farm. I am the one who brings the techniques (grafting and planting) and my father trusts me completely despite the fact that I am the youngest and also a girl. He follows me without hesitation in my decisions. We maintain the orchard together and will hopefully make a good profit when the plants start to bear fruits.»
SDC Basic Education and Vocational Skills Development
TanzaniaPromoting youth engagement through media
Press on the button below and listen to an episode of Niambie, which discusses the challenges young girls face when going to school (in Swahili).
The project is funded by Switzerland and implemented by BBC Media Action. Niambie aims to provide relevant, credible and balanced information to help young people understand their rights and responsibilities. It seeks to build the confidence of youth to engage in their communities and democratic decision-making processes.
The experts offer their professional opinion while celebrities share their views on a selected topic in everyday language.
Listeners get involved in the discussion by posing questions or sharing their comments by calling in or through social media. Both audiences and guests have engaged in freestyling and singing to share their views.
Niambie listeners say the show has helped them improve their understanding of civic decision-making and the importance of keeping their leaders accountable.
Young female listeners report to have learned from topics on gender discrimination and violence, sexual reproductive health and challenges faced by young girls when going to school, among others.
«I have learned a lot from Niambie. For example, as a young girl, I now know I can engage in politics and share my views. I also connect with my peers from across the country through the Niambie Facebook page to discuss everyday issues» Zainab Juma Kabelengwa, Dar es Salaam.
SDC Good governance
Listen to Niambie's latest show (Swahili) here
Follow Niambie on Facebook here
ZimbabweClimate resilience for smallholder farmers
In Zimbabwe, the precarious economic situation and high inflation has further exacerbated the situation. The economic crisis has affected small farmers very directly.
At the end of 2018, seeds and fertilizers were more than twice as expensive as in the previous year. The interplay of climatic and economic shocks has triggered a humanitarian emergency.
Climate smart solutions
R4 combines agricultural and financial components. The R4 initiative includes four risk management strategies, namely risk reduction (asset creation), risk transfer (weather-indexed micro-insurance), risk taking (credit) and risk reserves (savings).
The primary objective is to help poor households improve their food security and deal with climate shocks such as drought.
The greatest innovations under the R4 initiative is that poor smallholder farmer's receive a drought insurance through the community work they do. This pays automatically if there is too little rain during the growing season.
Finally, savings groups are formed in which the participants invest part of their income each month in order to obtain small loans for non-agricultural activities.
Tariro has gained a lot of knowledge about sustainable farming and financial literacy and is able to implement these approaches in other aspects of her life. She has now started her own poultry and goat farming initiative.
By 2021, 6'000 farming families in Zimbabwe are to be involved. In Malawi and Zambia, where R4 has been operating for four years thanks to Swiss support, there are already almost 50'000 participants, two thirds of whom are women.
From the outset, private insurance companies, microcredit institutions and buyers of agricultural products have been involved in the project to ensure sustainability.
Kwaneiso Mawere takes a break from digging and says «the most important knowledge that I have gained is how to farm for business».
This creates an element of cohesion: women come together and discuss their problems. Men are also encouraged to participate in order to bring a balance between women and men in communities.
«We have created income generating projects such as fish farming and market gardening. I started selling vegetables at schools and in the community and am able to pay school fees for my children. I am expecting to fly higher with my life and I am happy for that», says Tafadzwa Sigauke.
International climate policies should do everything to ensure that lessons learnt from Zimbabwe are taken into account in other contexts.
SDC Southern Africa
SDC Climate change and the environment