Bastian Baker in Egypt as SDC project ambassador

Press release, 11.02.2016

Bern, 11.02.2016 - Acting as a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project ambassador on behalf of the organisation's Democracy Without Borders initiative, the Lausanne-born singer Bastian Baker is promoting sustainable water use in Cairo and Aswan from 7 to 12 February 2016. He will hold a concert in Aswan with the Nile Project, which brings together local artists including musicians and young people from the Aswan region to raise awareness among the local population of the issues and problems concerning the Nile's ecosystem. His trip includes visits to three Swiss development cooperation projects, where the singer will be able to talk with the young people taking part.

Bastian Baker reaches out to musicians and young people in Egypt who are working to promote the Nile ecosystem. © SDC
Bastian Baker reaches out to musicians and young people in Egypt who are working to promote the Nile ecosystem. ©

As an SDC project ambassador, Bastian Baker is supporting a project that combines music, education and innovation to promote the sustainable use of the Nile basin in Egypt – the Nile Project. Musicians from the eleven states the river runs through are already taking part in the project, which seeks to bring together young people and other local actors and raise awareness of the sustainable use of the Nile basin.

Bastian Baker is also scheduled to visit a number of SDC projects including a water programme in Aswan, which aims to improve infrastructure in the Naseriya district and advise Aswan's water companies on water management. Because raising awareness and involving local people are key to sustainable water management, the singer's agenda includes meeting with a women's group that is active in making the best use of scarce water resources in the household. Another stop is planned in the northern part of Aswan city, where several farms have benefited from an SDC project to improve the irrigation system. His third visit is being carried out together with the young people taking part in a SDC project that promotes youth employment.

The Swiss singer and guitarist is travelling to Egypt as part of the Democracy Without Borders initiative developed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The initiative links nationally and internationally well-known Swiss personalities with development cooperation projects that seek to strengthen democracy, peace and human rights. Democracy Without Borders is intended to raise awareness in partner countries and among the Swiss public about the challenges being faced and to increase the impact of such projects. The initiative was launched by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter in 2014.

There are around twenty project ambassadors who are currently involved in five SDC projects in different partner countries: In Honduras for example, a high-quality vocational training project for young people from city districts with high levels of violence aims to help them escape the vicious cycle of poverty and violence. Vocational education and training is also the focus of the initiative in Myanmar for 2016. In Tunisia, the initiative aims to strengthen Parliament in the democratisation process.