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Committed to sustainable economic development for 60 years

Since its founding 60 years ago, Swisscontact has firmly believed in the principle that people can improve their livelihoods, based on their own strength. Success is seen when people are able to participate in the local economy as producers, employees or consumers.



To achieve this goal, Swisscontact has worked closely with the private sector from the very beginning. We are supported by Swiss companies, and we implement projects in our partner countries together with local companies. In this way, we have been able to gain a deep understanding of the local environment and its challenges, thereby making an important contribution to sustainable economic, social and environmental development.


Skills development is a key focus of our work. Swisscontact laid the foundation in India in the year it was founded, by opening the first vocational school in 1962. In the sixties and seventies, numerous training centres in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe were opened. Based on the Swiss model of dual apprenticeship-based vocational education, we continued to develop this methodological approach even further. Over the last couple of decades, youth unemployment has come to the forefront. Addressing this problem requires vocational training programmes, which promote employment and labour market integration. Over the last five years alone, around 353,000 people have benefited from Swisscontact's hands-on vocational training and continuing education programmes.


Through the years we have learned that development cooperation is effective when all market systems are included, not just individual market participants such as farmers or businesses. Our project work therefore focuses more on stimulating the sustainable development of local market systems and making them beneficial to people. This approach allows us to achieve broader impact and improve access to production, business opportunities, and jobs for more people. From 2013 to 2017, 2.6 million smallholder farmers and SMEs have been able to increase their income thanks to Swisscontact's initiatives.


Finally, in international development cooperation the idea has become widespread that solid partnerships with public, private and civil society organisations, both locally and here in Switzerland, are crucial to success. We are grateful for these partnerships which allow us to build on our work, use synergies, promote scalability and share the necessary skills and knowledge.


Since Swisscontact was founded 60 years ago, both the world and international development cooperation have changed radically. This is reflected in our foundation's history. We have always strived to adapt to new international and local realities and ensure our work remains relevant. We are confident that due to our experience we will achieve great success in the future as well, opening up life-important and economic opportunities for many people.


We thank all our partners and friends for your faithful support over the last 60 years, and we also thank our employees around the world for their great and unwaivering commitment.


Heinrich M. Lanz            Samuel Bon

President                        CEO



The archive photos on this website were kindly provided by the Archives of Contemporary History.

Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97