A Plus For Humanity: the SDC podcast

Every day, a great number of Swiss women and men work on the SDC's development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects. In the SDC podcast, they tell us about their projects and provide insight into the lives of local people.

Soldiers at a dam.

The 31th episode of SDC’s podcast is online: «Peacebuilding: dealing with resistance». © SDC

The SDC podcast A Plus For Humanity has been published every month since September 2021. It covers various topics in the areas of international cooperation and humanitarian aid. Experts from the SDC, partner countries and organisations, as well as people affected on the ground talk about their experiences. Don't want to miss any episodes? Subscribe to the podcast and we'll keep you regularly updated: Anchor, Apple Podcast and Spotify.

21.03.2024 – Peacebuilding: dealing with resistance

Peacebuilding is often overlooked by the media. In this SDC podcast, we focus on Iraq, where after the war that began 21 years ago people are still working to find lasting peace solutions. A peace expert with twenty years of experience shares her insights, and explains how to deal with resistance to peacebuilding and why creativity is essential in the search for solutions.

SDC Podcast #31

22.02.2024 – Cuba: promoting positive masculinities to foster equity

In 2018, Parliament decided to phase out bilateral cooperation with Latin America by summer 2024 based on a proposal by the Federal Council. In Cuba, where Switzerland has been present since 2000, we discuss the impact of this engagement by taking a look at the Plataforma Participación y Equidad (PyE) – a platform comprising 15 local civil society organisations committed to promoting participation and equity – in particular their work to raise awareness and educate people about positive masculinity.

SDC Podcast #30

24.01.2024 – On behalf of Switzerland: a look behind the scenes at the FDFA

Every day, several hundred employees around the world are working for Switzerland. What does their daily routine involve? What kinds of challenges do they face? And what are the experiences that will stay with them forever? In the 29th episode of A Plus For Humanity, we gain insight into the daily life and work of two employees, one in Beirut and New York.

SDC Podcast #29

21.12.2023 – Gobal Refugee Forum: urgent challenges for 36 million people

From 13 to 15 December 2023, Switzerland and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organised the second edition of the Global Forum on Refugees in Geneva. The event aimed to monitor the implementation of the 2018 Pact on Refugees, share best practices and find new financial, technical and political support for the people in need and the countries that host them. According to UNHCR, the number of refugees has doubled since 2016 and has now reached 36 million. Today, one in every 200 people in the world is a refugee.

SDC Podcast #28

30.11.23 – The fight against HIV and AIDS: Swiss commitment and pioneering spirit

Approximately 38 million people live with HIV around the globe, and around 1.3 million people contract the virus every year. Thanks to medication and medical treatment, people with HIV can lead a relatively normal life in the global North. However, the situation is very different in other parts of the world. In the latest episode of the SDC podcast you can find out more about Switzerland’s commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and what stumbling blocks a Swiss pioneer had to overcome when he set up an AIDS clinic in Zimbabwe exactly 20 years ago.

SDC Podcast #27

20.10.2023 – Mali: Informing to promote peace

Mali is experiencing a period of instability and insecurity and a resurgence of violence. The situation has intensified in recent months and worsened following the coup d'état in neighbouring Niger. Despite this, Switzerland remains committed to the country and continues its mandate of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Among other things, it is working to improve the education of children and young people, to protect victims of violence or to improve the efficiency of agriculture. In particular, Switzerland supports Studio Tamani, which is based in Bamako, the capital of Mali. A radio programme founded ten years ago by the Fondation Hirondelle, it is financed in part by Switzerland. In the current security situation, those in charge and journalists face numerous obstacles and have to adapt in order to continue to inform.

SDC Podcast #26

23.09.2023 – Climate change is not gender neutral!

Whether droughts, hurricanes or floods - women and girls suffer more from climate-related weather extremes and other impacts of climate change than men. However, they are not only victims but also important actors in finding climate-friendly development paths. This applies to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Listen to the latest episode of the SDC podcast to find out how development and climate change mitigation go hand in hand, and how women can make a difference.


SDC Podcast #25

23.08.2023 – Think global, act local: localisation in development cooperation

"Think global, act local”. The SDC is on the right track, and it should stay there. This is the tune of the upcoming International Cooperation Strategy. In order to keep on adding value in its partner countries, Switzerland should rely even more on local actors and, wherever possible, leave them in charge of humanitarian and development projects. They know best what’s needed on the ground. This is the concept of "localisation".

SDC Podcast #24

24.07.2023 – The Mongolian potato project: the seeds sprout

Our latest podcast is dedicated to Mongolia. Between 1999 and 2001, Mongolia was hit by extremely harsh winters which killed over a third of the country’s livestock. Thousands of farmers lost their livelihoods. Stefanie Burri, Head of Cooperation in Mongolia, tells us how Switzerland immediately provided emergency assistance; how it promoted sustainable development in subsequent years; and how it is slowly withdrawing from bilateral cooperation with Mongolia.

SDC Podcast #23

22.06.2023 – An academic internship at the SDC – three personal accounts

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) offers academic internships for students and graduates of universities, higher education institutions and universities of applied sciences who wish to gain some professional experience in their field of specialisation. In this episode, three people talk about their experiences: Anja, an academic intern in the ‘Fit for Purpose’ reorganisation project; Nicolas, an academic intern in the Analysis and Research Section; and Mélanie, a former intern who now works in communications management at the SDC.

SDC Podcast #22

22.05.2023 – SHA: 50 years in the service of humanitarian aid

The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) is celebrating its 50th birthday. Sonia and Robert are members of this unique militia corps that deploys specialists to crisis and disaster areas worldwide. Learn more about their remarkable stories in this podcast. 

SDC Podcast #21

26.04.203 – Sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people who have been forced to flee their homes within their own country, particularly because of conflict, violence, human rights abuses or natural disasters. In Ethiopia, there are an estimated 4.6 million IDPs, mainly due to recent conflicts in the north of the country and prolonged droughts. What sustainable solutions can the government and the international community offer? And what role can Switzerland play?  In this episode we discuss these questions with Prof. Walter Kaelin, former professor of international and constitutional law and an expert on internal displacement, Martina Durrer, head of regional cooperation in the Horn of Africa, and Meron Getachew, SDC country programme manager for migration and protection in Addis Ababa.

SDC Podcast #20

22.03.2023 – Turkey: Switzerland provides access to drinking water and sanitation after earthquake

Water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): all three are necessary to human health. In areas where clean drinking water is unavailable, sewage systems are not functioning and proper sanitation is inaccessible, people get sick. This is what happens following major earthquakes like those that struck Turkey and Syria in early February 2023.

We begin this episode with an interview with a WASH expert who travelled to Turkey with the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to provide emergency relief in one of the regions affected by the earthquake. In the second part of the podcast, we travel to New York, where the UN Water Conference took place at the end of March 2023. 

SDC Podcast #19

28.02.2023 – IC Forum: listening to young people

The annual International Cooperation Forum Switzerland 'Education4Future' was held between 15 and 16 February in Geneva. On the second day, young people had the opportunity to present their own ideas and solutions. In the eighteenth episode of the SDC 'A Plus For Humanity' podcast, we talk to 21-year-old Loukina Tille who attended the international event.

SDC Podcast #18

19.01.2023 – Manuel Bessler: 11 years working for Swiss Humanitarian Aid

Manuel Bessler reflects on his 11 years as the Federal Council's delegate for Swiss Humanitarian Aid and head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit in this 17th podcast of the SDC's A Plus For Humanity series.

SDC Podcast #17

12.12.2022 – Burkina Faso: The school as a refuge – and an escape from crisis

Around 222 million children around the world have little or no access to education due to armed conflict, forced displacement, natural disasters or other crises. Although this figure has tripled over the past six years, only three per cent of humanitarian aid funding is allocated to education. Ahead of the high-level conference 'Education Cannot Wait', which takes place in February 2023 in Geneva, the sixteenth episode of the SDC podcast 'A Plus for Humanity' takes a look at Burkina Faso and highlights the importance of education for people living in a country suffering from years of war.

SDC Podcast #16

09.11.2022 – Tajikistan: water as a unifying element

As water towers, Tajikistan and Switzerland have a lot in common in terms of managing water resources. Both countries are responsible for preserving and safeguarding water supplies for regions extending beyond their national borders. The fifteenth episode of the SDC's podcast A Plus For Humanity looks back at 30 years of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Switzerland and asks what the two countries can learn from each other, for example in terms of water management which is crucial to sustainable development.

SDC Podcast #15

10.10.2022 – On behalf of Switzerland: a look behind the scenes at the FDFA

Every day, thousands of people around the world are on the move on behalf of Switzerland. What's their life like? What is a typical working day like for them? And in what ways do global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine affect their work? The fourteenth episode of the SDC podcast 'A Plus For Humanity' takes a look behind the scenes, providing fascinating insights into the lives of two FDFA employees travelling between Bern, Kyiv, Geneva and Kathmandu.

SDC Podcast #14

12.09.2022 – Sustainable development: the road to results

Sustainable development takes time. For it to succeed, peoples and governments must walk the path together. But what does that come down to, specifically, when putting it into practice? The thirteenth episode of A Plus For Humanity explores the importance of civil society and the challenges that face it.

SDC Podcast #13

09.08.2022 – South Caucasus: boosting women's economic independence

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been at work in the South Caucasus for over 30 years. It all began in 1988 with a mission following the earthquake in Armenia that claimed around 25,000 lives. After the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, this initial humanitarian aid operation became a long-term partnership combining instruments of human security, conflict prevention and transformation, humanitarian aid, and technical and financial support. In the twelfth episode of A Plus For Humanity, we head to Georgia to visit a women's economic empowerment project that was successfully implemented over the past five years.

SDC Podcast #12

12.07.2022 – Ukraine war: a challenge for the dairy industry

War has been raging in Ukraine for several months now. In addition to human suffering, Russia's attack has brought about enormous economic challenges for local communities. A major sector of Ukraine's economy is agriculture. In the eleventh episode of A Plus For Humanity, dairy farmers talk about the difficulty of selling their produce and keeping their cows healthy, and we learn how Switzerland is supporting dairy producers in Ukraine.

SDC Podcast #11

09.06.2022 – Syria, how to provide humanitarian aid during an extended crisis?

Eleven years of civil war in Syria have destroyed most of the country. It is estimated that some 500–600,000 people have lost their lives and a further 13 million have been forcibly displaced. How can Switzerland help during an extended crisis like the one in Syria? We discuss this in the tenth episode of A Plus For Humanity.

SDC Podcast #10

09.05.2022 – Burundi: sexual violence and men as part of the solution

The ninth episode of A Plus For Humanity explores how men can be involved in preventing violence and to what extent this prevention also assists in reducing sexual violence and helps people work through possible trauma.

SDC Podcast #9

11.04.2022 – Haiti: a country facing major challenges

Haiti faces a twofold challenge: because the country is struck again and again by natural disasters and always has to operate in disaster mode, there is hardly any time to address real challenges such as poverty, discrimination and fair access to basic services. How can this pattern of crises be broken? The eighth episode of A Plus For Humanity explores this issue.

SDC Podcast #8

08.03.2022 – Madagascar: life after the cyclone

In early February 2022, Cyclone Batsirai swept across Madagascar, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Joint expertise was needed to provide rapid and targeted aid. As part of an audio diary, the seventh episode of A Plus For Humanity takes us to the place where it all happened.

SDC Podcast #7

08.02.2022 – How can humanitarian aid be made more environmentally sound and sustainable?

The SDC promotes technological initiatives that make its projects more effective, thereby sustainably improving the living conditions of millions of people. Technologies developed in Switzerland are deployed in various fields, such as agriculture and disaster resilience. The sixth episode of A Plus For Humanity shows how Tech4Good helps achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

SDC Podcast #6

10.01.2022 – A look behind the scenes: people hard at work for Switzerland

Every day, several hundred employees around the world are working for Switzerland. What does their daily routine involve? What kinds of challenges do they face? And what are the experiences that will stay with them forever? In the fifth episode of A Plus For Humanity, we gain insight into the daily life and work of two employees, one in Yaoundé and the other in Brussels.

SDC Podcast #5

09.12.2021 – Jordan: making it through the COVID-19 crisis with help from social assistance

In the fourth episode of A Plus For Humanity, we take a trip some 4,000 kilometres to the southeast – to Jordan. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country hard, and the economy is in ruins. Switzerland is helping out with cash and social assistance, among other things. But what is this assistance all about? And above all, how does it help the people living there? Tune in to find out what we learned.

SDC Podcast #4

09.11.2021 – Colombia: water, security, reconstruction

Why is water, of all things, a foundation of peace and stability? And why is Switzerland engaged in securing the supply of water in Latin America? The third episode of A Plus For Humanity, from Colombia, answers these questions.

SDC Podcast #3

11.10.2021 – The Sahel: drought, conflicts, COVID-19

A record 29 million people are in need of aid in the Sahel. Drought, conflicts, COVID-19: the challenges are enormous. The people in the Sahel are hungry. What is Switzerland doing to help? We look into this – in the second episode of A Plus For Humanity.

SDC Podcast #2

07.09.2021 – Lebanon: opportunities in uncertainty

"Our greatest concern is the economic crisis that we have to overcome. It's a very difficult situation for all of us. We are doing our best and our parents are sacrificing a lot for us. But we young people are heading towards a future full of uncertainty." In the first episode of A Plus For Humanity, young people in Lebanon talk about their fears, hopes and aspirations. And we pose the question of what Switzerland can do to support them.

SDC Podcast #1
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