The mandate of Swiss Humanitarian Aid is to save lives and alleviate people’s suffering following natural disasters. It plays an active role in protecting the interests of vulnerable groups prior to, during and after periods of conflict, crises or natural disasters. It therefore focuses on the following areas: disaster risk reduction (DRR), protecting vulnerable groups of people, emergency aid, reconstruction and rehabilitation of disaster-stricken areas.
Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been working in Bolivia since 2005 with the purpose of promoting prevention, awareness and training on DRR for local people as well as public and private agencies. Through its components, the Disaster Risk Reduction Project run by the Swiss Cooperation Office in Bolivia has supported measures aimed at prevention, preparedness and strengthening capabilities. Among other partners, it has worked with four vice-ministries, five departmental governments and 12 associations of municipalities, including more than 100 local municipalities and communities.
Following the 2013-1016 Cooperation Strategy of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Bolivia, in its fourth phase comprising the period 2014-2016, the project will support the resilience of public investment in productive and water sectors through the transfer and effective integration of DRR tools. Mitigation measures will be implemented on existing infrastructure such as dams and irrigation systems. The building of a culture of resilience will be supported by training both public employees (through the Escuela de Gestión Pública Plurinacional - Public Management School) and undergraduate students from five degree courses in four private and public universities on DRR topics. The whole process will be coupled with citizen education campaigns that will inform and create awareness on climate events and will map risks and vulnerabilities. At the same time, it will strengthen the first response and emergency aid capabilities of firefighters, SAR Bolivia, SAR Military Forces and the Bolivian Red Cross, as the main rescue actors, with the objective of providing people affected by natural disasters with a better response, as well as immediate and efficient attention.