Our efforts this past year took on a whole new meaning, as the pandemic hit vulnerable populations in many underdeveloped countries with particular brutality.
The uncertainty and the restrictions required considerably more flexibility, agility, and creativity on our part. This in turn affected our partnerships. Our well-built local and international networks have always been our trademark, and with the pandemic, they have become even more resilient.
That this was even possible in such a situation, we, first of all, have the trust and foresight of our donors and clients to thank, in addition to the commitment of our employees in 40 countries.
We firmly believe that responsible private sector-led initiatives are a key prerequisite for sustainable and broad-based development. Collaboration with interested parties in the private sector play an important role in these efforts. Since Swisscontact’s founding, it has been a cornerstone of our work. We are accustomed to achieving win-win situations.
In order to meet Switzerland’s international development targets and achieve the UN’s 17 strategic Agenda 2030 goals, improved coordination between public, private, and civil society organisations is essential. The conditions are in place, and more companies are willing and encouraged to rethink their business and employment models. This will improve the efficacy of our collaboration.
Fusing the various positions constructively with each other and implementing functioning partnerships is a challenge we are all too happy to meet. Public and private sector actors think along different timescales; they have different restrictions, opportunities, and approaches. Swisscontact’s objective here is to invest even more in innovative solutions, expanding its role as a trusted bridge-builder between the public and private sectors, a reputation it has carried proudly for more than 60 years.
For Swisscontact, 2021 was also a year of internal changes. The change in leadership in the presidium of the Foundation Council and in the Executive Board, completed on June 1st, reflected continuity in a stable and successful organisation. It is a great privilege to be able to continue along the path we have forged with our strong team, moving ahead through the ongoing changes in international development cooperation and transition overall.
During the reporting year, both Chairman Heinrich M. Lanz and Michèle Frey-Hilti stepped down from the Foundation Council. We once again would like to offer our sincerest thanks to both former members, especially to our long-time Chairman, for their selfless commitment and solidarity. Dr Sabin Bieri and Thomas Greminger were newly appointed to the Foundation Council.
We wish to thank our partners, clients and donors in Switzerland and abroad for their trust, support, and consistently constructive cooperation. We are pleased and proud to be able to continue counting on them in 2022.
Thomas D. Meyer