Milestones 2017 - 2020

In the Development Programme we test new ideas and further develop existing innovations that have been proven effective over time.  
2017
Start of New Projects
The start of four-year phase with several new projects, for example our Sustainable Agriculture Project in Cambodia and Lao. The project addresses the increasing demand of farmers in Cambodia for innovative technologies, for example in soil preparation, harvesting procedures and storage methods. What is needed are practical approaches that farmers can afford and that allow them to increase their harvests and produce sustainably in the longer term.
Innovative Partnership Model
The launch of our innovative partnership model established in the Local Skills Development for Youth Project in Uganda, which is proving to be one of the most sustainable vocational training approaches. It relies on the interests and incentives of young adults looking for work and companies in growing sectors that lack a good workforce. The youths are divided into learning groups, linked to companies by means of partnership models, and trained in both practical and theoretical matters.
Measuring Impact
Measuring our impact is key. Since the introduction of the Monitoring and Results Measurement system, we made significant progress in results orientation on programme level. All Development Programme Project Managers attended training in 2017. Each project has a standardised impact measurement, which is based on the guidelines of the international DCED standard. In addition, each project region is supported by a so-called MRM advisor, who trains and supports the teams to measure our impact.
2018
Private Sector Engagement
Organic and Fair-Trade certified chocolate from the Finca Project in Ecuador is available in Swiss supermarkets. In cooperation with private sector partner Chocolat Halba, the Swisscontact project planted over 300 000 cocoa plants and 80 000 additional trees. The certified cocoa beans are produced through highly sustainable cocoa cultivation, following agroforestry standards.
Waste Management
We can look back at several achievements completing our waste management project in Tanzania (Taka Ni Mali). The sustainability of the project activities is ensured by providing profitable business opportunities in the waste sector, complying with the policies implemented by the government regarding a proper Solid Waste Management, and ultimately because of the importance of living in a clean and safe environment.
Career Guidance
Local ownership is key. The Ministry, in close cooperation with Swisscontact, developed guidelines for vocational career guidance and the integration of young people into the labour market in Niger. Today, these national guidelines serve the authorities as a tool for reflection, anticipation and decision-making, and it is impossible to imagine Niger without them. This is a great achievement. The career guidance counselling platforms are up and running, and new platforms are even emerging independently.
2019
First Market System Project
The development programme launches Swisscontact's first project using the Market System Development approach in West Africa. The inclusive market approach identifies barriers and causes that prevent the successful participation of poor and disadvantaged people in the market. Empowering local actors in the system is key. In Benin, small-scale producers from the fish and citrus sectors are integrated into the market and thereby able to increase their income.
Entering the Middle East
Two highlights culminate in the opening of a new Swisscontact country office in Lebanon and the scaling up of the innovative and highly successful Coaching for Employment approach, which was developed in Albania and Kosovo in cooperation with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Disadvantaged young adults with a predominantly Syrian or Palestinian background strengthen their skills and gain access to the labour market.
First Export of Organic Honey
The export of the first container of organic Salvadorian honey is a great success as it is the first company ever in El Salvador to be certified in organic honey production. Swisscontact has fundamentally contributed to this accomplishment. Our Beekeeping Project supported and capacitated small-scale beekeepers and beekeeping enterprises such as cooperatives, associations, small enterprises, equipment suppliers and export companies to meet international quality standards of organic honey production.
2020
Covid-19 Response
The Development Programme supported vulnerable people to deal with the repercussions of the Corona pandemic. For example, Community Paramedics in Bangladesh educated community members about the COVID-19 disease, symptoms, and stipulated safety measures. In Nepal and Guatemala young entrepreneurs received financial support to save their businesses and experts from our Senior Expert Contact advised SMEs all over the world in virtual consultancies on how to adapt and improve their business.
Empowering Local Partners
Several projects concluded in 2020. Because of our systemic approach, it is key to strengthen and empower local players. For example, through our GenerAccion Project in Guatemala, vocational training centres now design high-quality curricula independently. In Albania and Kosovo, public and private sector partners coach vulnerable youths and support their integration into the labour market through an elaborated Coaching Cycle, and in Burkina Faso, municipalities and labour associations develop strategies for their local economic development.