2020 was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal to create employment and increase incomes was an immense challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented immense challenges to Swisscontact employees. The global lockdown required us to find new pathways for project implementation. Our employees continued their project activities from home wherever possible. They adapted to the new situation, often under difficult conditions, and mitigated the pandemic’s negative effects on local target populations with various ad-hoc measures.
Our global staff has remained connected via virtual channels. Despite the personal challenges and serious burdens caused by this situation, employees have remained innovative, proactive, and exhibited considerable resilience.
Our financial partners actively supported project implementation during this difficult time by remaining available to talk at all times and were open to project team proposals, always engaging with them when asked.
We have our Swisscontact employees and financial partners to thank for the fact that all our projects could continue despite the pandemic
The private sector in Ukraine is growing. The lack of a well-trained labour force is, however, a barrier to development. Vocational education in Ukraine needs reform. Training often does not meet applicable standards, even though companies must remain competitive on the European market. The few vocational training programmes carried out by companies cannot address this dearth of a trained labour force on their own. With its expertise in vocational education and training, Swisscontact can provide valuable support in Ukraine, so in 2020 it opened a new national office in Kyiv.
Swisscontact is implementing a project intending to improve training of plumbers. Swisscontact is collaborating closely with local vocational education institutes. The approach Swisscontact is applying makes it possible to meet various requirements and ensure that graduates will improve their employability substantially. In addition, Swisscontact teams will build and strengthen network linkages between schools and businesses, thereby facilitating the long-term availability of apprenticeships and internships in local businesses.
The project is financed through a public-private partnership between Geberit AG and SDC. It came about through a private sector initiative and thus constitutes a trailblazing example for the future.
In December 2020 after 11 years, the Sustainable Cocoa Production Programme (SCPP) in Indonesia came to a close. Its partnership with the private sector was unprecedented. As the main donor, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) helped Swisscontact bring leading players in the industry together. These included Nestlé, Mars, Mondelez International, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ecom, JB Cocoa, and Krakakoa.
SCPP trained 164,300 cacao farmers across 57 districts. The cocoa companies provided their know-how in sustainability and provided market access to Indonesian cacao farmers. Farmers increased their incomes by US$22.2 million per year. The share of cacao farmers living below the poverty line decreased by half.
Thanks to SCPP, new tools were developed and put to use. One of these tools was a database solution for traceable, certified sustainable cacao. Another was the creation of needs-based training offered to cacao farmers. These tools are furthermore of use to value chains beyond cacao itself.
SCPP succeeded in transforming the entire sector. By making the supply chain more inclusive, innovative, and resilient, it has produced lasting impact on Indonesia’s cacao production.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an enormous amount of suffering around the world. On the other hand, the lockdowns implemented in early 2020 triggered a digitisation push from which many people have benefited. Many Swisscontact project teams had been working in the area of digital transformation already. They used the global lockdown as an opportunity to intensify efforts in this field. The teams reacted quickly and transferred activities over to the virtual space, wherever possible and appropriate.
As an example, the Markets for Recycling team in Bolivia organised an online trade fair for companies in the recycling sector. Furthermore, various vocational education projects either enhanced distance learning initiatives or launched them outright, always mindful of the possibilities available to trainees.
At the same time, the digitisation push was adopted across our entire organisation and strategically channelled. The aim was to generate as much added value as quickly as possible in project implementation. The purpose was also to keep the organisation agile and productive internally while maintaining communication with clients externally and ensuring continuity of reporting.