International development cooperation in 2020: virtual, but no less effective

2020 was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal to create employment and increase incomes was an immense challenge. The economic consequences of the pandemic profoundly affect people in poorer countries, as state safety nets are largely absent.
Heinrich M. Lanz, Chairman (left); Samuel Bon, CEO

However, the crisis also presented an opportunity to rethink fundamental tenets: Are we doing the right thing? What can we do to help people overcome this crisis quicker? Are we doing things the right way? Our understanding of development aims to strengthen resilience by applying a systemic approach. In the future, we hope to place this front and centre even more. We are not only asking ourselves what our interventions are achieving, but we also want to know what it takes to lessen the shock from future crises on people, the environment, and economy.

Resilience thanks to international development cooperation

The current crisis has shown how much ground-breaking preparatory work has been put into our many years of activities at the local level, building stable structures, networks, and partnerships. This has helped people, businesses, and the economy as a whole to navigate out of such crises with less damage. The relationships created have withstood the challenges faced during the global lockdown and made it possible to quickly adapt project activities to the new conditions.

We engaged in a particularly intensive dialogue with our donors this past year. They have actively supported us in dealing with the financial and personal challenges presented by the pandemic. We were even able to implement direct interventions, through which we helped to alleviate suffering in the local population. To illustrate this, we present two project case studies in this report.

Project case study Kenya
Exploring professional opportunities in a refugee camp
Project case study Honduras
For a resilient economy in the Dry Corridor

It is at this stage that we would like to thank our donors and financial partners for their trust and support through these turbulent times.

This year was particularly demanding on Swisscontact employees. We are grateful for their contribution and proud to have such a committed team on our side!

Changes at the Swisscontact Foundation Council

In 2020, Messrs Georges Theiler, Nicolas A. Aune, Hans Hess, and Dr Gottlieb A. Keller stepped down from the Foundation Council. We thank them for their many years of service and are grateful that they will remain associated with Swisscontact. We are pleased to welcome Dr Karin Lenzlinger Diedenhofen and Mr Thomas D. Meyer as new appointees to the Foundation Council.


2021 will continue to be marked by the challenges presented by the pandemic. Swisscontact must also contend with several internal changes. The Chairman and CEO, both holding office for many years, will transfer their tasks on 1st June 2021 to their respective successors. Thomas D. Meyer will present his candidacy to the Foundation Council for President; Samuel Bon’s successor as CEO will be Philippe Schneuwly.

We both pass the baton with confidence to new, competent hands and wish our successors much success, fulfilment, and joy in their new roles. We would like to thank all our friends and partners for their trust and support.

Heinrich M. Lanz


Samuel Bon


In the year of crisis that was 2020, Swisscontact was able to build on its many years of experience building stable structures, networks, and partnerships at the local level. This helps people, businesses, and the economy as a whole to find their way out of crises more quickly. 
Results and Impact
Swisscontact is implementing 117 projects in 39 countries. This is what we achieved in 2020.
Swisscontact focuses on four primary sustainability criteria. The following examples provide a glimpse into how these criteria make their way into daily project activities.
Financial Statement 2020
on 31.12.2020
We thank all our partners (in alphabetical order).