The Great Lakes Region (Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The three countries that make up the region (Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC) are closely interconnected and have shaped each other’s development. Since they gained their independence, this continued interdependence has fed into cross-border conflicts that have caused enormous human suffering and brought state institutions to the brink of collapse. The three countries have signed peace agreements and held elections. However, it has become clear in recent years that these elections have failed to cement peace, and various conflicts endure. Institutions remain fragile and the people of the three countries have yet to reap the benefits of peace.

Map of the region Great Lakes Region (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC)
© FDFA

The Great Lakes region, comprised of Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern DRC, is a priority region for the South Cooperation Department of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). This fragility is an obstacle to the strengthening of regional institutions and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Because the prospects of these three countries are intertwined, regional stability is a basic condition for improving the well-being of the local populations. In terms of business and trade, the region is rich in natural resources and offers many untapped opportunities.

Overall goal of the Swiss cooperation strategy for the Great Lakes region

In the Great Lakes region, Switzerland works to further peace and stability, reduce poverty and protect civilians. It helps to strengthen democratic processes, respect for human rights, social cohesion and employment, especially for young people. In line with Switzerland’s diplomatic and political efforts, these activities are aimed at strengthening the capacities of local people to overcome crises and challenges.

Dialogue, fighting impunity and diplomacy

Switzerland is committed to preventing and reducing violence, strengthening democratic institutions and processes, and contributing to the fight against impunity. Switzerland’s activities include facilitation and mediation at the political and civil society levels, support for elections and constitutional reforms, advocacy, monitoring and the protection of human rights. In Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC, Switzerland has helped set up a variety of media outlets, especially radio stations, which perform a watchdog function and produce good quality programming, and has also supported the media’s self-regulation efforts.

Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

Protection of civilians

Switzerland uses all means and channels at its disposal – bilateral, multilateral, the Geneva Conventions – to assure the existence of humanitarian spaces in the region which are necessary to protect vulnerable population groups and restore dignity to those who have been denied it. The protection of civilians includes the monitoring and recording of violations of international humanitarian law, inter-community dialogue, advocacy, training and awareness-raising activities, and reintegration measures. These efforts benefit nearly three million people every year. Switzerland has supported almost 300,000 people through its bilateral projects, including child protection projects, over the past four years.

Employment and economic development

To promote employment and income opportunities, Switzerland is giving priority to high-quality vocational education and training in occupational sectors that are adapted to the needs of the market, both in rural and peri-urban areas. In rural areas, Switzerland is focusing its efforts on the transformation of the building materials sector, which is experiencing rap­id growth and is very labour intensive. Technology introduced by Switzerland in Rwanda and Burundi to improve working conditions and energy efficiency in brickmaking has boosted production to approxi­mately 14 million bricks per year since 2015.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Health and combating violence against women

Ensuring continued access to healthcare services in crisis situations is critically important for public health, eases community tensions and promotes so­cial cohesion. Switzerland is working in this sector for universal healthcare and for primary and secondary health services, particularly mother and child health­care and the fight against child malnutrition. Switzerland is committed to combating violence against women. Swiss-supported efforts have helped some 60,000 women to access survivor support services since 2011, including 12,300 rape survivors who have received medical, psychological and legal sup­port. Thanks to the efforts of over 500 civil society organisations, 54% of the women have been able to reintegrate into their communities.

Gender equality

History of cooperation

Switzerland has been present in the Great Lakes region since the 1960s. For three decades, it carried out development cooperation programmes in the region, but since the 1990s, the primary focus has been on humanitarian aid and peace policy. As part of its 2017–20 strategy, Switzerland combines development aid, humanitarian aid, peace policy and diplomacy in the Great Lakes region. Through the coordinated deployment of these instruments, Switzerland aims to improve the coherence of its efforts, to deal more effectively with the complex political, security, humanitarian and developmental challenges facing the region.

Private Sector Development and financial services

Links

Documents

Current projects

Object 13 – 24 of 24

Food security in the Great Lakes Region - Nutrition

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2020

Multidisciplinary partnerships and multi-stakeholder alliances wrought by One UN agencies and the Governments of Burundi, Rwanda and DRC develop practical solutions to deliver activities in support of the institutionalization of nutrition strategies in the respective countries. The activities take place at the provincial level, in locations where food insecurity and poverty are at highest level; they feed-back to the respective coordination secretariat, thus ensuring an appropriate political steering of the strategies.


SDC Grands Lacs: Gender mainstreaming

01.07.2017 - 30.06.2021

Les inégalités de genre sont très ancrées dans les coutumes et les pratiques des populations de la région des Grands Lacs. Elles sont accentuées par le contexte en ébullition, particulièrement au Burundi et en RDC, qui contribue au taux élevé de viol et de violences basées sur le genre. La présente intervention contribuera à leur réduction en améliorant le niveau de l’expertise liée aux inégalités et à la Violence Basée sur le Genre (VBG) dans la région, en promouvant les réformes adéquates et favorisant l’empowerment des femmes avec l’implication des hommes.


OXFAM : Renforcement des capacités communautaires à résister et s’adapter aux chocs et contraintes de l’insécurité et de la violence au Masisi, Nord Kivu

10.06.2017 - 31.12.2017

Dans le territoire de Masisi, l’environnement de conflit induit de nombreuses menaces de protection, qui ont elles-mêmes des répercussions négatives sur les moyens de subsistance des ménages. Le projet vise à renforcer la capacité des individus, des ménages et des réseaux communautaires à résister aux chocs et aux stresses liées au conflit, en renforçant leur environnement protecteur et en donnant aux groupes communautaires les capacités d’investir dans leurs moyens de subsistance et dans des stratégies positives de survie. Ce projet s’étalera sur deux phases au minimum : la première jusqu’à la fin 2017, et la seconde en 2018.


Trans-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

Jointly with the Swedish Embassy, Switzerland supports a trans-border dialogue for peace in the Great Lakes region, a program run by Interpeace with 6 local NGOs. This second phase will continue using research and dialogue to address stereotypes and lack of trust behind recurrent conflicts in the Great Lakes region. Research and dialogue constitute the basis to engage decision makers, to promote good governance and concrete consensus-based solutions taking into account local populations’ concerns and recommendations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


RDC, Alliance Globale du Vaccin (GAVI): Approvisionnement en médicaments

02.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

La contribution ciblée à GAVI présentée dans cette proposition de crédit est la mise en pratique de la stratégie de coopération : elle vise non seulement l’appui stratégique et vital du circuit des médicaments et vaccins en RDC, en particulier au Sud-Kivu, mais convole aussi l’agenda du programme global Santé, du travail diplomatique de la représentation Suisse à Kinshasa et du programme de la coopération Sud.


Support to the DPCG (Development Partners’ Coordination Group) Secretariat in Rwanda

15.09.2016 - 15.09.2019

Switzerland and the UK, in an effort to facilitate a broad and fruitful development policy dialogue in Rwanda, will dedicate financial resources towards a UNDP support to the line ministry in charge of aid coordination. It entails, on the one hand, carrying out analytical research leading to evidence-based policy decision, and, on the other hand, the efficient management of the Development Partners’ Coordination Group (DPCG) Secretariat.


Promoting off-farm employment and income in the Great Lakes Region through climate responsive construction material production

01.07.2016 - 31.12.2019

High demographic growth in the Great Lakes increases the competition for scarce natural resources and boosts the demand for affordable housing. The project aims at triggering local economic development, improving working conditions and increasing off-farm employment through climate responsive building material production. Results of the first phase allow for a technology transfer adjusted to local needs and scaling up of the brick production value chains in the region.


Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST) : phase 2

01.02.2016 - 30.09.2019

PROMOST is a program promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region by improving the access to quality and market-relevant vocational training. In a first phase, the program improved access and quality of formal and informal vocational training in Rwanda. The second phase will consolidate results in Rwanda, develop alternative vocational training options in Burundi and South Kivu, and further regional networking on TVET.


Programme d’Appui à la décentralisation au Burundi (PAD)

01.03.2015 - 31.12.2019

La décentralisation est un levier important pour consolider la paix et favoriser le développement. En appuyant le Burundi dans ce secteur, la DDC veut contribuer à la promotion d’une interaction à tous les niveaux fondée sur : la participation citoyenne et la redevabilité sociale, des réformes favorables à l’autonomie opérationnelle et financière des communes et la fourniture des services de proximité tenant compte des besoins des groupes marginalisés.


Programme d’appui au système de santé du Sud Kivu (PASS S-Kivu)

01.02.2015 - 31.12.2019

Les interventions suisses dans le domaine de la santé au Sud Kivu se concentrent sur l’appui au système public et sur la lutte contre la violence basée sur le genre. La Phase III du programme d’appui au système de santé du Sud-Kivu met l’emphase sur la qualité et l’accessibilité des soins primaires (y-inclus la santé materno-infantile et la santé reproductive des jeunes), et s’inscrit dans la continuité de l’approche systémique testée pendant les phases précédentes.


Appui à la gestion foncière

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

Lancé depuis 2008 au Burundi et 2011 en RDC, le programme d’appui à la gestion foncière met le focus stratégique sur la sécurisation des droits en milieu rural ainsi que le développement et la mise en œuvre des politiques foncières en vue de garantir une meilleure gouvernance dans ce domaine et la réduction des conflits dans les communautés. Le focus portera sur le renforcement et l’extention des services fonciers, la reconnaissance des droits sur les terres rurales et l’amélioration du cadre légal et politique.

Object 13 – 24 of 24