How Switzerland comes to the aid of people forced to flee their homes

Article, 20.05.2016

What action can be taken to address the ever-increasing number and duration of humanitarian crises? The SDC’s Humanitarian Aid takes measures to make the most efficient use possible of the funds at its disposal. In addition to providing emergency aid it gives priority to enabling population groups forcibly displaced by conflicts or other disasters to take their lives in their own hands in the long term. Switzerland will contribute the results of several successful experiences it has had in this field to the discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul.

A family in a refugee camp
When crises cannot be avoided, the SDC’s Humanitarian Aid does all it can to launch projects that enable vulnerable population groups to rebuild their everyday life in the long term. © UNHCR

From the perspective of humanitarian aid for the victims of conflicts and natural disasters, these are frightening times. Humanitarian needs for 2015 alone amounted to almost CHF 20 billion (five times more than ten years ago), of which only half was raised. 

The main crises today are characterised by their durations of many years as can be seen with the Syrian crisis, the persistent emergency situation in the Central African Republic and the ongoing acts of violence committed by the Boko Haram group against civilians. It is estimated that the number of forcibly displaced people in the world currently stands at 60 million. 

Faced with this reality, the donor countries, international organisations and NGOs are obliged to set priorities and deal with the most urgent needs – this meaning that hundreds of millions of other people around the world see their basic needs (subsistence, education, health) remain unmet.

Long-term rehabilitation 

In parallel, Switzerland, like others, is doing all it can to adapt its intervention strategies. For many years the SDC and the FDFA's Human Security Division have been actively involved in preventing conflicts and disasters by means of concrete initiatives carried out in the regions concerned. 

When crises cannot be avoided, however, the SDC's Humanitarian Aid endeavours to launch projects that aim to contribute to the rehabilitation of vulnerable population in the long term. By means of support Switzerland helps beneficiaries to develop their own 'resilience', meaning their ability to confront difficulties and rebuild their everyday life – in many cases far from home. 

At the World Humanitarian Summit, the Swiss delegation, headed by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, will have the opportunity to present a number of successes Switzerland has had in this field (see below). Furthermore, Switzerland will appeal for greater respect for the values and principles of international humanitarian law.

Syria: employment aid, food vouchers and durable accommodation

Helping displaced Syrians to feel useful and earn a livelihood while contributing to the reconstruction of their country – this is the aim of a project launched by the United Nations Development Programme and co-funded by the SDC. In view of this protracted crisis, Syrians are unwilling to remain inactive for much longer.

«Recommencer à vivre dans un pays à feu et à sang», (Starting life again in a country torn apart by war), article to appear in the 2/2016 edition of the 'Un seul monde' magazine (special dossier 'Refugees and migrants') (PDF, Page 1, 2.4 MB, French)

The resilience of the victims of the Syrian conflict also involves developing new ways of providing food aid. In the cities of Homs and Latakia, the World Food Programme distributes vouchers to pregnant women and mothers with newborns, with which they are able to buy the kinds of food that best meet their needs. A member of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit is coordinating the project.

Interview with Stefan Bumbacher, specialist working for the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit

The financial and technical support that Switzerland is providing the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria is crucial. The two years that building expert Henri Stalder spent in Damascus has enabled the UNHCR to draw up standards for 'solid' buildings in the midst of the ruins. Only when displaced Syrians have a proper roof over their heads will they be able to look to the future.

UNHCR-project in Syria: Rebuilding beyond the crisis

In general, Switzerland's involvement in the Middle East aims to complement the emergency aid delivered to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon with a long-term vision of development for the populations concerned.

Switzerland’s Middle East cooperation strategy: ensuring the long-term security of civilian populations

Darfur: producing honey against all odds

Almost three million Sudanese were forced to flee their land during the war in Darfur. Since 2010, the SDC has funded a programme to relaunch local beekeeping to enable displaced communities to become as financially autonomous as possible. It has paid off: to date, more than 3,300 family beekeeping operations are marketing their honey, which in some cases is generating up to CHF 2,900 a year.

Project in Sudan «Farmers displaced by the conflict acquire a business perspective»

Somalia: humanitarian aid to strengthen basic services

In 2016, the SDC has allocated CHF 4 million to support the ICRC's efforts in Somalia to raise awareness among various local actors about respect for international humanitarian law. The SDC is also improving the health systems, the drinking water networks and agricultural production in several parts of the country.

Somalia: the challenges of operating in a protracted crisis

Nansen Initiative: a long-term vision for displaced people 

In October 2015, Switzerland and Norway presented the 'Agenda for the protection of cross-border displaced persons in the context of disasters and climate change', which was the product of the Nansen Initiative developed by Bernese professor Walter Kälin.

Preventive measures to help people displaced by natural disasters or the effects of climate change

Links

Current projects

Object 49 – 60 of 1194

Blue Peace Central Asia Strengthening of the Regional Institutional Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

In response to the explicit demand of the five Central Asian States, and building on over 20 years of cooperation in the field of water, SDC facilitates transboundary water resources cooperation consistent with the Blue Peace approach implemented in the Middle-East and at the global level through the establishment of a High Level Dialogue Platform, the promotion of sustainable water practices as well as capacity building of a new generation of water professionals and champions.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Water
Climate change and environment
Water diplomacy and security
Meteorological services
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)
Meteorological services
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020


CHF 6'000'000



Thin lines that change lives

Women carrying baskets walk on a trail bridge.

01.08.2014 - 30.11.2019

In Nepal, trail bridges are vital for rural mobility. Almost 80 of them were severely damaged or destroyed during the earthquakes of 2015, jeopardizing access to education, health services and local markets for thousands of inhabitants in the mountainous regions. The SDC joined the reconstruction efforts, basing its intervention on the long-standing expertise it has in the country. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Nepal
Agriculture & food security
Rural infrastructure (till 2016)
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
TRANSPORT AND STORAGE
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Transport policy and administrative management
Rural development

01.08.2014 - 30.11.2019


CHF 10'998'000



IDA: International Development Association – Core Contribution 2014-2017

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2023

The World Bank Group’s (WBG) mandate is to support countries in reducing poverty by creating opportunities for economic growth, strengthening governance, managing risks and empowering the poor and vulnerable. The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank Group that helps the world’s poorest countries.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Global
Other
Sector not specified
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Multisector aid

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 752'750'000



The members of municipal councils working for democracy

Women and men assembled in a community hall.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

With the ‘Empowering Municipal Councils’ project, Switzerland’s international cooperation is helping municipal councils in North Macedonia to become effective local authorities whose community policies take into account the interests of ordinary citizens.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 4'000'000



New approach in Bosnia and Herzegovina for democratisation

A man standing in front of a blue gate valve connected to a large blue pipe.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s water and sanitation infrastructure is outdated and a large segment of the population has no access to a water supply. The starting point for the SDC’s project is good governance – the authorities must be transparent about building and renovation decisions, and ensure an inclusive political process for the citizens their decisions affect.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Governance
Public sector policy
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Public sector policy and administrative management
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Democratic participation and civil society

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 12'000'000



AfDB/AfDF: African Development Bank / African Development Fund – Core Contribution

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023

The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) is to promote sustainable economic and social development in Africa by providing support for good governance and private sector development, infrastructure, higher education and vocational training. Switzerland has been supporting the AfDF since its foundation in 1972 and has been a member since 1982.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Africa
Other
Sector not specified
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Multisector aid

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 207'759'519



Programme d’Appui à la Formation Professionnelle

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

Le marché du travail au Mali est caractérisé par une main d’œuvre peu qualifiée. Dans ce contexte, 300'000 jeunes arrivent chaque année sur ce marché sans compétences. L’offre de formation par domaine et/ou filière est en deçà des attentes du secteur productif. La formation professionnelle e 40'000 personnes dont 50% de femmes à l’horizon 2017, améliore la qualité des ouvrages et augmente la compétitivité des entreprises en contribuant à l’augmentation des revenus dans les régions prioritaires de la DDC et de la coopération danoise.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Agriculture & food security
Education
Vocational training
Employment creation
Advanced professional training
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
Education facilities and training
EDUCATION
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
EDUCATION
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Vocational training
Advanced technical and managerial training
Employment policy and administrative management
Education facilities and training
Rural development

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019


CHF 16'957'000



Programme for Supporting Decentralised Management of Literacy in Benin (PAGEDA)

An adult literacy centre in a Fulani camp in the village of Goure Bene, municipality of Nikki, Borgou, 2014

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020

The programme for supporting the decentralised management of literacy services in Benin (PAGEDA) aims to provide high-quality literacy programmes that will enable 30,000 people (50-50 gender split, with most aged 15-30), who are excluded from or have no access to the formal education system, to acquire life skills and fully exercise their rights. The programme also aims to address gender, age and regional disparities in relation to access to education.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Benin
Education
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Basic life skills
Vocational training
Employment creation
EDUCATION
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Basic life skills for youth and adults
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020


CHF 6'320'000



Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Image of a ceremony of distributing certificates for local community and municipal representatives

01.11.2013 - 31.10.2019

Given the complex and difficult political and administrative environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina municipalities face serious challenges to serve their citizens properly, and citizens feel that their needs are not heard by politicians. The local administrative levels are considered the most dynamic and responsive ones to address citizen’s concerns. The project Strengthening the Role of Local Communities focuses on empowering Local Communities (Mjesna Zajednica – MZ) to raise citizens’ responsiveness, participation, and social inclusion in local development processes.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Governance
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Democratic participation and civil society

01.11.2013 - 31.10.2019


CHF 4'774'568



Improving access to good-quality healthcare services in Kosovo

A nurse giving a prescription to a patient in a primary healthcare centre.

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019

The standard of healthcare provision in Kosovo is inadequate and does not meet the needs of the general population. Vulnerable groups are particularly affected, with a number of economic and social barriers limiting their access to care. That is why the SDC is working to improve the quality and inclusivity of the primary healthcare system in Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Health
Health systems strengthening
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management

01.11.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 7'190'000



Increasing the Quality of Health Services for All

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


Albania has the lowest public health spending in the region. Many patients bypass primary health care and overcrowd hospitals, especially in larger cities. In addition, non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore health promotion, prevention of diseases and improved primary health care services are a top priority for the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Health
Health systems strengthening
Medical services
Primary health care
HEALTH
HEALTH
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management
Medical services
Basic health care
Medical services
Basic health care

15.10.2013 - 30.04.2020


CHF 10'000'000



oPt, Enhancing Social Engagement and Accountability through Culture and the Arts

Qattana local community members are beautifying their village through repairing and painting the walls

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

The aim of this intervention is to enhance social engagement and participation, to promote the role of people as agents of change and to strengthen social accountability in the oPt. SDC will support initiatives that use arts and culture as a means to enhance democratic debates, promote social inclusion and active participation within the communities and between the communities and the local authorities. The initiatives will favour the participation of youth and women in local public debates.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Human rights
Conflict & fragility
Culture & recreation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Conflict prevention
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Culture and recreation
Human rights
Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019


CHF 901'868


Object 49 – 60 of 1194