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Showing Solidarity

Explore Switzerland // Nov. 29, 2016

Geneva-based foundation offers direct and effective emergency aid

Showing Solidarity

Swiss Solidarity assists people in emergency situations in Switzerland and abroad – and every centime donated is injected into carefully selected relief projects by experienced Swiss organisations with specific areas of expertise in humanitarian aid, rehabilitation and rebuilding. Set up in Geneva in 1946 by Swiss public radio journalists, the work and outreach of Swiss Solidarity today is supported by TV and radio stations like WRS.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, droughts and armed conflicts are all crises to which Swiss Solidarity - through its network of 25 Swiss NGOs - provides a rapid and qualitative humanitarian response worldwide. Emergency relief is often the first step -covering basic needs such as food, access to safe drinking water, sanitation, clothing, shelter and medication. Child protection measures and psychological support are also made available. The organisation then finances reconstruction schemes for homes and public infrastructures, such as schools and hospitals. Lastly, a rehabilitation phase allows State organisations and local stakeholders to take over the projects and reduce the risks linked to future disasters.


An expression of the support of the Swiss population with victims of disasters and conflicts, Swiss Solidarity uses donations from the public and corporate sectors, as well as from cantons and municipalities. The most important and successful appeals were in favour of the Tsunami in 2004 (CHF227m), floods in Switzerland in 2000 (CHF74m) and for the Haiti earthquake in 2010 (CHF66m). The foundation ensures the proper use of funds through in-depth analysis and expert field assessment in compliance with international standards for emergency aid, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Swiss Solidarity guarantees that all donations are given to projects that most meet the needs of victims.

So what does this quality insurance cost the donor? Nothing. The organisation donates 100% of funds to projects in the field and because there is a permanent team of only 19 staff members, running costs are almost entirely covered by interest on funds.



Swiss Solidarity was created following World War II. Today, it remains independent, with the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) providing free advertising for fundraising and programming to highlight the crises at the heart of every campaign. Swiss Solidarity also relies on independent media, including WRS, to convey its messages. 


In recent years, more than CHF50m has been donated to help refugees and displaced families in Syria and neighbouring countries, as well as along the Balkan route. Also receiving support are projects following the earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti and the cyclone in the Philippines, to name but a few.

Swiss Solidarity aid generally extends over several years, with donations used in stages. Funds are only released for further phases when the expected results have been achieved.

In the last 30 years, 69% of donated funds have gone to disaster relief outside Switzerland, 6% to international child support projects and 25% benefitted people needing assistance in Switzerland (natural disasters, social aid, severe weather). Indeed, Swiss Solidarity offers on average CHF1m of support annually in Switzerland, in close collaboration with specialised social services.

For more information visit Swiss Solidarity

Tags: switzerland

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