Partnerships with NGOs

The SDC relies on the knowledge, experience, capacities and networks of non-state service providers and key players to carry out its mandates. In Switzerland, the SDC maintains partnerships with NGOs that have a successful, long-term track record, proven skills, substantial knowledge, their own financial basis, and are firmly anchored in Swiss society. These partnerships contribute to the qualitative development of Switzerland's international cooperation, use complementarities to achieve strategic goals, and increase public awareness on humanitarian and development policy issues. 

The SDC relies on the skills, capacities, experiences and networks of NGOs at technical, operational and development policy levels. It works together with local, international and Swiss NGOs according to the particular context. The competences and track record of an NGO form the basis for partnerships and cooperation, which also encourages civil society to play an active role and promotes the democratic participation of local people in development processes.

The Government Bill on Switzerland's International Cooperation defines the strategic framework for strengthening cooperation with Swiss NGOs by  emphasising the contribution made by civil society organisations to poverty reduction and social justice, as well as to strengthening democratic processes and conserving global public goods.

Independent evaluation confirms effectiveness of partnerships and identifies potential for improvement, article, 19.10.2017

Forms of cooperation

The SDC's approach to cooperating with NGOs is two-fold:

  • to implement projects in line with the priorities of the SDC's geographical and thematic strategies and concepts;
  • to maintain and strengthen the skills and capacities of NGOs in line with the overall strategic goals of Swiss international cooperation.

To this end, there are two different forms of cooperation at the operational level:

  • Mandates: The SDC mandates specialised NGO to carry out a clearly-defined task such as implementing a programme or a project, or providing thematic and technical advice. Mandates are subject to competitive tendering.
  • Contributions: The SDC supports programmes carried out by NGOs under their own responsibility and in accordance with their core competences and capacities. Contributions are subject to negotiations.

All SDC projects

Institutional partnerships with Swiss NGOs

The SDC engages in institutional partnerships with Swiss NGOs that have a long-term track record in terms of performance, competences and capacities, substantial knowledge, that are firmly anchored in Swiss society, and that have a financial basis of their own. The NGOs carry out their programmes autonomously and in line with their own strategic guidelines and competencies and consistent with the strategic objectives of Swiss International Cooperation.

The partnerships use and promote the diverse range of strengths, competences and capacities, extensive knowledge and experiences of Swiss NGOs in order to achieve the strategic goals of Swiss international cooperation. In this way, complementarities are fostered and the potential to go beyond the immediate geographic and thematic priorities of the SDC can be valorised.

These partnerships strengthen the qualitative evolution of Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid.

Based on their experience in programme work, Swiss NGOs contribute to education on development policy in Switzerland, increase awareness on development policy and humanitarian issues, and strengthen the debate on these issues at the national and international level.

Programme contributions as an investment

Partnerships are based on institutional analyses and negotiations regarding the relevance of the NGO programmes. The progress of cooperation and of programme implementation are subject to a continuing dialogue between SDC and the NGO.

The NGO’s programmes encompass activities in the field of humanitarian aid, development cooperation and cooperation with Eastern Europe. Programme contributions granted by the SDC as part of these partnerships are considered as an investment in the competences and capacities of the NGO and the relevance of their programmes.

The SDC maintains institutional partnerships with the following Swiss NGOs: