How we work

How we work

Small, local partner organisations are the key to our work abroad. They ensure that the local population is involved in the processes and this makes the changes sustainable. The main target group for our project work is young people – teenagers – a group that has been neglected for too long in development work.
Children and Adolescents at the Youth Event Mfakantini of our Partnerorganisation Dlalanathi in South Africa 2011.
Support adolescents in Townships: Children and Adolescents at the Youth Event Mfakantini of our Partnerorganisation Dlalanathi in South Africa.

terre des hommes schweiz works with local partners in our project countries. We support small organisations that are well rooted in their local environment. In six different countries we have National Coordinators, some of whom are assisted by experts in accounting. Because of their geographical proximity, the National Coordinators are in close contact with the partner organisations. The people working for us abroad are almost exclusively locals.

Learning from good examples
For our partner organisations, we are not only providers of money but we also help them with developing and strengthening their technical capabilities and institutions (capacity building). Regular meetings to discuss strengths, weaknesses, problems and solutions are all part of the partnership. We also encourage interaction between the partner organisations, which is very important. We provide platforms where organisations can report on their experiences and share their knowledge. After all, what is successful in one place could work in another, too.

Change through participation
We are convinced that, for change to be sustainable, the needs of the people who are most directly affected must be taken into account and civil society in general must be strengthened. Only then will positive trends become truly rooted in the population in the long term. Our commitment is always to the long term. However, we do withdraw from projects if their work no longer coincides with the areas of work in which our expertise lies, or if we are no longer convinced by their quality.

Why are young people at the heart of it all?
It is true that our real target group is young people, but we always also involve the whole community. Why young people? Whereas a great deal has been done for children in the last 20 years, young people – teenagers – are a forgotten group in development work. Young people are the decision-makers of tomorrow and they have so much potential that is often too little used or encouraged. We are convinced that sustainable change really depends on them.

The quality of our work and that of our partners is very important to us. We use a range of mechanisms to guarantee it.

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