Development cooperation

How we define meaningful development cooperations

All over the planet, people are facing immense challenges. terre des hommes schweiz is taking on responsibility for these issues by supporting local initiatives in the Global South, as well as political developmental issues in Switzerland. In a globalised world, the main causes of poverty and violence are closely intertwined with our actions. terre des hommes schweiz stands for sustainable development based on partnerships and responsibility.
Two young women sit next to each other taking care of a plant.
Two young women learn how to care for their seedlings in a course run by our partner organisation ASPTA.

The term ‘development cooperation’ refers to many different approaches. terre des hommes schweiz focuses mainly on human rights advocacy and participatory collaboration with the local civil society. The key aspect is cooperation with local organisations in the project countries. Unlike other organisations, terre des hommes schweiz does not export any aid supplies or ready-made solutions. Instead, it promotes local structures and initiatives on the ground with the aim of developing long-term, sustainable partnerships.

Developing unique solutions
The partner organisations supported by terre des hommes schweiz are not simply aid beneficiaries, but rather competent agents who stand up for their rights and develop their own solutions in order to achieve better living conditions. They give disadvantaged youth the tools they need to shape their own development. terre des hommes schweiz helps people to help themselves – that is the organisation’s contribution towards affecting sustainable social change.

Networking for a broader impact
Providing support for various projects is not a panacea. The actual project funding has a limited reach in terms of the profound social and economic challenges facing the project countries. That is why the coordination offices in those countries facilitate networking and exchange between the various partner organisations. The aim is to promote the organisations as agents for change within their societies. Strong grassroots organisations are capable of influencing politics in their countries. Networked with others, they act as watchdogs, critical political opponents and advocate for the rights and concerns of disadvantaged groups. This approach enables them to have a broad impact.

What does this have to do with us here in Switzerland?
Poverty and violence do not just suddenly appear. They are caused by global exploitation and power structures. The economic and social circumstances in developing countries are significantly shaped by the international arena. The lifestyle, consumption habits and political decisions of developed countries have direct ramifications for the countries in the Global South. Together with other NGOs, terre des hommes schweiz campaigns to prevent decisions made in Switzerland from additionally disadvantaging the development of poorer countries. This engagement is designed to better align Switzerland’s development policy goals with the other interests of Swiss foreign and economic policy.

Important public relations work in Switzerland
terre des hommes schweiz highlights social injustice and abuse through campaigns and its collaboration with other Swiss organisations including the developmental policy group Netzwerk Alliance Sud. By exposing global relationships, it is possible to demonstrate how citizens, political and economic decision-makers can take specific measures to contribute towards a more just world. terre des hommes schweiz’s public relations work makes the causes of global poverty and inequality visible. It provides information about forgotten conflicts, oppressed interests and hidden dependencies.