Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

The origin of the Swiss assistance in Nepal dates back half a century to when SDC implemented its first project and pioneered many approaches.
The overall objective of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Nepal 2005-2008 is to contribute to conflict transformation and peace building through three main components .

  • Harmonized bi- and multilateral framework: Switzerland aims to foster and to deepen a coherent approach and dialogue between bilateral and multilateral development partners, including the UN system, the international development banks, as well as agencies providing humanitarian assistance.
  • Livelihood and Inclusion: SDC aims to maintain and improve the living standard in the villages with a strong focus on access and inclusion of disadvantaged people through management of natural resources, building of rural infrastructure, providing health services and promoting local democracy.
  • Meaningful Dialogues and conflict transformation: Switzerland is committed to contribute to the creation, from the grassroots right up to the track-one level, of a favorable environment for reconciliation and peace building that addresses and transforms the political and social conflicts in the country.

The Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Nepal 2005-2008 is intended to last at least 3 years (mid 2005 – mid 2008) with an annual budget of CHF 19 million.

SDC Nepal in close cooperation with Helvetas concentrates its interventions in geographic cluster areas, where the programme has traditionally had substantial presence and impact. SDC is particularly engaged in Dolakha, Ramechhap and Okhaldhunga; whereby Helvetas concentrates activities in Dandeldhura and Doti in the Far-Western Development Region, in Dailekh, Jajarkot and Achham in the Western Development Region as well as Tehrathum in the Eastern Development Regions,.
The Cooperation office in Kathmandu coordinates the activities of different projects and, when needed, bilateral humanitarian inventions. The SDC management also ensures dialogues with the parties to the conflict, political parties and civil society, in order to protect the space for development work.

Type of assistance and programming:

SDC has contributed to the formulation of the key development policies and has fostered decentralization at district and local level, focusing on democratic development and participation. SDC and its partners (in particular Helvetas) have strong technical, institutional and social competencies in areas that are key to poverty reduction including rural infrastructure, forest and soil fertility management as well as occupational skills / vocational training. SDC’s programme in Nepal particularly transport infrastructure (roads, trail bridges) , management of natural resources (forestry, agriculture) – have established a strong foundation in the country that is directed to capacity development and policy improvement. SDC is one of the few agencies that has supported technical and vocational training and education as a corner stone of human development continuously over half a century. Governance issues such as decentralization, human rights and anti-corruption, especially at the local level as well as promotion of equity and social inclusion are integral part of the program implementation. SDC Nepal has started to contextualize the issues of women and conflict, thus promoting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and Resolution 19 of the 61st Human Rights Commission on Nepal in Geneva. It has established sound cooperation with all major donor agencies by participating in the process that led to the formulation of Basic Operating Guidelines (BOGs). The common guidelines provide adequate orientation for those working in the Nepalese conflict situation. Over the last several years, the SDC programme has adopted a comprehensive Conflict Sensitive Programme Management (CSPM) which has proven to be effective during the recent period of increased tension, repression and open conflict at operational level also in coordinating political responses. Its strong linkages with groups of citizens, users committees and local NGO and networking with the allied community-based organizations has given SDC the opportunity to address difficult issues linked to the effect of violence and fear on the civilian population, especially on women.