Resources and services for all

Reliable access to important resources and services is essential for disadvantaged groups. Innovative projects in technology and finance and efforts in the education sector were priorities for Swiss development cooperation in 2017.

Overcoming crises through education and training

Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC: the rapidly growing populations of these three countries in the African Great Lakes region have witnessed a succession of conflicts, human rights violations and displacements since the 1990s. In Rwanda, the government has made education its main priority to get the country back on its feet and meet the needs of an increasingly large young population. The SDC is supporting projects in the education sector in these three countries.

Education, which includes basic education and vocational skills development, is crucial in conflict situations: it helps protect children and young people, and gives them prospects and a chance to be part of their country's economic, social and political development. Education is a fundamental human right and an important factor for cohesion; it plays a key role in peace-building. In line with its new education strategy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDC is stepping up its commitment in fragile contexts not only in Africa but also in Asia and Latin America.

Switzerland's support in the Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu

In the eastern DRC, which is plagued by recurrent conflicts, children and young people are exposed to multiple forms of violence: abuse, sexual exploitation, forced labour and recruitment by armed groups.

 Conflict and a lack of schools mean that 7 million children are not receiving an education. Training opportunities are scarce and most young people are unemployed. In North Kivu, the SDC is funding a project to provide education and offer protection to children affected by the conflicts. In South Kivu, it is supporting the development of quality vocational skills programmes adapted to the needs of local communities and businesses to increase employment and incomes. 

In crises, basic education and protection go hand in hand

'Maman DIVAS', a school administrator in North Kivu is pleased with the SDC-funded project. “Teaching methods that allow children to make up for lost years of schooling and process traumatic experiences help the children to grow.  School achievement rates have risen." Between 2016 and 2017, more than 20,000 children benefited. The measures introduced include teacher training on psychosocial support and children's rights, psychologists and lawyers to follow-up on cases of abuse, and extracurricular activities for the pupils.

 The integration of displaced children into schools has fostered cohesion between displaced and host families. In times of crisis, going back to school is a return to normality, hope, future prospects and physical and psychological protection – important factors for the well-being of children and their families. School is the place where children learn to live together again: it teaches them about peace and reconciliation and the prevention of violence. 

Vocational skills development: the gateway to employment

Delphin took a course in embroidery, Céléstine learned joinery. They both attended short-term training courses funded by the SDC. Today, they work in local companies. Bricklaying, welding, motorbike repair, sewing, leather work and hairdressing are among the 19 trades with employment potential identified in the city of Bukavu. The skills they learn significantly increase the trainees' chances of finding a better paid job, as Delphin can confirm:  "Before the training, I did casual sewing jobs and earned 1 to 2 USD a day. Now I have been hired by a workshop and I earn at least 60 dollars a month".

The training helps young people who have received little or no education: orphans, ex-combatants, girl mothers, displaced persons. Almost 600 young people have received training, half of them women. Celestine, a single mother, is happy to see that she can cope with her son's school fees and take charge of her life. 

Basic education and vocational training

How satellite technology is helping rice farmers

Two women planting rice in a paddy.

203'000 Indian rice farmers have been able to claim compensation for crop losses thanks to technology that can 'see through clouds'. The RIICE project combines two SDC objectives: food security and financial inclusion.

The state only pays when people find employment

Beneficiaries of the Carvajal Foundation employment programme supported by the Social Impact Bond in Colombia.

With Swiss support, the Colombian government launched the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in a developing country in March 2017.