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 73 – 84 of 1187

Planned project

Society, Culture and Memory

01.01.2024 - 30.06.2030

The programme’s objective is to strengthen and diversify the voices and spaces in civil society from the perspective of culture and memory. Using competitive funds and making contributions to key actors, the aim is to update the offer in training, education and professionalization of the sector. The programme responds to a demand of civil society and expands SDC’s commitment in the field of culture, the recovery of identities and memory in Nicaragua.


Planned project

Anti-corruption and Accountability

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2030

Corruption is a politically sensitive issue in Mozambique. Fostering an environment of good governance and deterring corrupt practices requires a commitment from stakeholders at all levels. This programme aims to leverage Switzerland’s high level of trust and credibility in the local context to forge constructive coalitions between government, the judiciary, civil society and the private sector. The overall goal is to reduce the negative impact of corruption on development in Mozambique.


UN Joint Programme on Youth Employment

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2028

Cambodia is the most youthful country in South East Asia with more than 50% of the population below 25 years. The key challenge of Cambodia is to create decent and productive employment opportunities for new entrants to the labour market. With its contribution, SDC addresses the challenge by enabling young people to have access to skills and quality education and employment whilst promoting rightful and decent working conditions.


Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Project (GBV Project)

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

Gender-based violence is prevalent in Nepal because of patriarchal values, lack of rights awareness or support services and poor implementation of laws. In the first phase, the project will directly reach 50,000 households in three districts with GBV prevention activities involving women, girls, men and boys and will provide improved medical, psychosocial and legal services for a minimum of 1’000 GBV survivors. Subsequently, the coverage will be increased.


Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Inclusive Green Growth in Egypt

01.09.2023 - 31.08.2028

Egypt is facing economic challenges among which high poverty and high unemployment rates impact the most marginalized to a greater degree. This new program contributes to an innovative and inclusive development approach to promote the green economy[1] through utilizing agricultural waste and other untapped profitable green resources to make use and leverage local resources to strengthen the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in Upper Egypt and create jobs.

 

[1] For more information regarding green economy, please see Annex 2: Green Economy and growth: challenges and opportunities


Planned project

Subnational Governance Program (SNGP)

16.07.2023 - 15.07.2030

The overall goal of the Program is to support the subnational governments to build sustainable, inclusive and democratic institutions that deliver services to the citizens, especially from disadvantaged groups, in an efficient and effective way and as per their constitutional mandate. The Program will be nationally coordinated government-led and implementation will mainly take place in all seven provinces and 753 local level governments of Nepal.


Planned project

Support to Electoral Reforms in Macedonia

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2029

Election related institutions are strengthened to conduct election processes free of violence and intimidation. In addition, political parties are supported to apply a more citizen centred approach in developing their election programmes. Ultimately, better informed citizens are empowered to demand accountability from elected officials which increases legitimacy of the state institutions, thus they become more open and citizen oriented in the creation of policies.


Planned project

Programme d’Appui à la Promotion de l’Entreprenariat Agricole (PAPEA)

01.06.2023 - 31.01.2030

Au Burkina Faso, l’entreprenariat en particulier agricole est très peu développé, contribuant ainsi à la pauvreté et au chômage des populations. Les jeunes et les femmes sont les plus touchés par le phénomène du chômage et du sous-emploi (65,4% des chômeurs ont moins de 24 ans). La DDC soutiendra le développement d’entreprises agricoles pour la création d'emplois et de revenus au profit des populations, en particulier les jeunes et les femmes des zones rurales et péri-urbaines.


Planned project

Municipal Waste Collection and Transportation Management in Ulaanbaatar

01.04.2023 - 31.12.2024

The project aims to improve Waste Management focusing on the development of an effective collection and transportation system for municipal waste in Ulaanbaatar, to make it financially sustainable and efficient. The intervention focuses on the underserved and least developed areas of the capital city of Mongolia (ger areas) where most poor people reside, and will increase service delivery to citizens, diminish inequalities, increase the economic efficiency of the system and support the implementation of the new law and regulations on waste management.


Planned project

Mozaik: Youth for Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.03.2023 - 28.02.2026

Young people are encouraged to increase their activism and to engage in joint community projects of public interest with municipal authorities and local companies. They acquire skills and self-confidence which provides them with better chances on the labor market, and some of them will develop into entrepreneurs who again create work opportunities accessible for all.


Planned project

Primary Health Care

01.01.2023 - 31.10.2024

After years of underinvestment in the social sectors and decades of civil war, access to basic services is low, in particular in the rural areas of the southeast of Myanmar. This project aims to improve people’s health through a primary health care approach in selected townships of the region, both in Government and Ethnic Armed Group controlled areas, strengthening basic services, empowering communities and supporting convergence of health systems.

Object 73 – 84 of 1187