We use cookies to optimize this website.
By using this website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.    Learn more

Not merely a noble gesture,
but a responsibility


Heinrich M. Lanz, Chairman, and Samuel Bon, CEO of Swisscontact (from left)
Heinrich M. Lanz, Chairman, and Samuel Bon, CEO of Swisscontact (from left)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2018, thanks to Swisscontact and our donors, 1.3 million people were given the opportunity to improve their lives through their own initiatives. They completed a training course, furthered their education or have generated more income through their small businesses. Many seized this opportunity, and in this way, they are making a significant contribution to the economic and social development of their countries. But Switzerland has benefited as well: as a small but globally connected country, it is in our interest to foster fair business practices, social stability, and prosperity in developing countries and emerging economies, not in the least because Swiss companies do business with these countries. We at Swisscontact believe that international development cooperation is not merely a noble gesture, but a responsibility that is in the interest of everyone involved.

Our 2018 milestones

We successfully completed long-running projects during the reporting year. Especially noteworthy in this regard is the Programme d'Appui à la Formation Professionnelle (PAFP) in Mali, which opened up a professional future for 60,000 people. Also coming to a close was the WISATA project, which supported the development of sustainable tourism in four Indonesian regions, and Aire Limpio in Bolivia, a project implemented to improve air quality.

The PAFP project team encountered a difficult environment when it started. Nevertheless, the team was able to implement and expand the project continuously, despite serious political instability and the armed conflict in the country’s north. PAFP is a good example of how even in the difficult West African context, we are able to implement skills development projects successfully. PAFP was financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Royal Embassy of Denmark.

Visibility of the pioneering WISATA project to also support tourism development went far beyond Indonesia itself. Swisscontact generated new productive jobs and income generation opportunities for broad swaths of the population at four destinations. During the project implementation period, tourist expenditures rose by 59% at the local destinations. Based on our positive experience in Indonesia, Swisscontact is now implementing tourism projects on four continents. WISATA was financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The Aire Limpio project (“Clean Air project”) reduced the burden on the Bolivian people imposed by air pollution. The results: CO₂ emissions dropped by 370,000 tonnes. 12 Bolivian cities developed plans for sustainable urban transport and are currently implementing these. A national air quality measurement network has been set up. Aire Limpio was financed by SDC.

In focus: promoting entrepreneurship

Together with our private and public partners, we are implementing programmes to promote entrepreneurship. We laid out a roadmap for the further development of our approach at a global seminar. In this way, we will be able to support the different needs of various groups in targeted fashion.

For 40 years, Swisscontact has been helping entrepreneurs, from farmers to exporters. This support has been – and continues to be – provided on various levels: in education, industry promotion, and access to financial services for entrepreneurs. The objective of our programme is to give people the chance to work. Along with facilitating internal exchange, Swisscontact also dedicated its annual event to the subject of innovative entrepreneurs.

Strategy 2025

2018 was a year of reorientation for Swisscontact. The Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee and Management jointly developed our Foundations’ strategic direction for 2025. We have launched three initiatives to achieve our goals:


1. Swisscontact has grown rapidly in the last six years. To remain flexible after this growth, we implemented a reorganisation. This includes expanding the Management Board and strengthening interdisciplinary collaboration.

2. We want to become even stronger in quality assurance and product development to ensure that, while implementing our projects, we can perform consistently and guarantee project impact is even more sustainable.

3. We want to take on the competition beyond the Swiss market and offer our services to public and private donors and contracting entities.

Agenda 2030: a space for new partnerships

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have opened up space for new financing models. As part of our strategy discussion, we are also considering how Swisscontact can support these new partnerships.

In the last 20 years, Swisscontact has been financed through two mechanisms: on the one hand, we received contributions, in particular from private foundations and businesses for our own projects, while on the other, we implemented publicly tendered mandates from Swiss and international donor organisations. Our most important partners for mandates are the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). We continue to rely on our previous financing mechanisms. With implementation of Agenda 2030, new financing forms are being added that we would like to test more closely.

The role played by local NGOs is becoming more important as well; increasingly, many donor organisations are working directly with them. Swisscontact can help build the capacity of these local organisations as well as enhance quality assurance in locally implemented projects.

Latest developments with the Board of Trustees

In 2018, we welcomed new Members of the Board of Trustees Monique Bourquin, Michèle Frey-Hilti and Isabelle Welton. Egbert Appel, Rudolf Bärfuss, Marina de Senarclens, Dr Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, Dr Albin Reichlin-Boos, and Prof. emerit. Dr Ulrich W. Suter all stepped down from the Board. We thank them most sincerely for their service and hope they will keep close ties with Swisscontact in the future. We reserve our special gratitude to Marina de Senarclens for her considerable contributions. She has served on the Board of Trustees' Executive Committee with much passion and dedication since 2007.


We wish to thank our partners, contracting entities and donors in Switzerland and abroad for their support and constructive collaboration. Most importantly, we wish to thank our staff worldwide for their work during the past year.

In 2019 Swisscontact is celebrating its 60th anniversary. We will use our anniversary as an opportunity to better explain our work and to demonstrate the change in international development cooperation over the past 60 years.



Heinrich M. LanzSamuel Bon

Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org