As part of its new Strategy 2025, Swisscontact is promoting more effective and flexible cooperation. The objective is to create a management culture that focuses responsibly on the foundation’s core values and places people front and centre. The transformation of our current operating model thus includes not only a reorganisation of our internal structures but also a redesign of our HR management and development model. The proper focus of all our internal and external activities on the foundation purpose is reflected primarily in the following areas:
The creation of a new unit called “People & Learning” at management level is the implementation of a strategy that places staff front and centre as the most important resource. People & Learning thus takes on the task of comprehensive staff development, linking this task with elements of our desired organisational culture. It ensures that the right employees are in the right place and capable, versatile people are committed to the culture and work ethic of our organisation as they undergo further development. It helps to strengthen the values and standards of our human resources, fostering the creation of a learning organisation and a work environment prizing personal responsibility.
What initiatives will help unemployed youth to find jobs? How can farmers not only increase their yields but also produce in an environmentally sustainable way? How can the broadest possible swath of the population benefit from Swisscontact’s projects? How can our projects strengthen the role of women?
These are examples of challenges that Swisscontact encounters in its projects. In order to implement these projects successfully, there need to be innovative approaches that can be updated continuously to match local contexts. To this end, Swisscontact is developing and testing various products and applying them in its projects. A product constitutes a successfully tested comprehensive packet of tools, processes, resources, and specific expertise. A commonly shared set of values that abides by the principles of sustainability and work ethics forms the basis upon which Swisscontact’s products and solutions are developed and the desired impact is achieved.
For Swisscontact to continue supporting its projects competently, we have decided to create our own “Products & Solutions” unit featuring technical experts who strengthen knowledge management. The team worked intensively on developing a common set of values that forms the basis for revising Swisscontact’s general project implementation guidelines.
Swisscontact values transparent and credible communication. In 2019 this involved Swisscontact advising on a position the Swiss federal government’s International Cooperation Strategy 2021 - 2024 took that was sent out for consultation. Swisscontact welcomed this step and the resulting substantive debate over the direction of Swiss International Cooperation.
On the whole, Swisscontact took a positive view of the strategy. However, in our response paper we emphasised that Swiss civil society organisations must be ascribed more importance and that developing countries should be granted a long-term development perspective.
In the meantime, the Swiss federal government is awarding an increasing number of projects to foreign organisations that are unable to convey the desired “Swissness” concept. Thus, Switzerland runs the risk of losing decades of know-how and a network of Swiss implementation partners. Accordingly, we are asking parliament to promote Swiss NGOs more assertively. Swiss NGOs that implement projects on behalf of the Swiss government represent Swiss values and are a guarantee of neutral and independent development cooperation.
Swisscontact considers the thematic and geographic focus of Swiss International Development Cooperation to be reasonable, but in its response, the organisation pointed out the danger of focusing too much on short-term domestic public or private sector goals. Sustainable and inclusive economic development needs to be understood as a long-term endeavour.
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
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