Switzerland's engagement in Afghanistan aims to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. Switzerland promotes the respect for human rights and the protection of vulnerable population groups. In addition, it contributes to the improvement of rural livelihoods and fosters access to quality basic education.

Map of Afghanistan
2014 Natural Earth

The long period of war has caused enormous human suffering. Institutions have been weakened and economic and social development hampered. Afghanistan is now one of the poorest and most fragile countries on Earth. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made since 2001 in the areas of education, health, rural development, justice and good governance. Further international support for the Afghan reform agenda is vital to maintain the results achieved so far and to ensure that all Afghans benefit equally from this progress.

Switzerland has distinguished itself in Afghanistan through its many years of experience and the high quality of the projects it has implemented there. Switzerland also enjoys a great deal of trust on the part of both the government and the population. The overarching objective of Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the 2019–22 period in Afghanistan is to reduce poverty, human suffering and the loss of life. It seeks to promote a peaceful society with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions based on the rule of law, geared towards meeting the needs of the population. Switzerland's activities focus on three interconnected areas: 1) rule of law and protection 2) agriculture and management of natural resources and 3) basic education.

Rule of law and protection

Switzerland contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights. It supports the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations in this area. Switzerland also helps to strengthen trust between the population and the Afghan government by improving access to legal services for women and men and supporting institutional reforms of the justice system. For example, Switzerland has contributed to the establishment of courts in 16 provinces that specialise in case law relating to violence against women.  Switzerland also contributes to life-saving aid through the country's most important humanitarian organisations. At the political level, Switzerland is committed to the protection and long-term reintegration of internally displaced persons and returnees, as well as to improved access to humanitarian aid for people in need of assistance.

Agriculture and management of natural resources

Switzerland assists smallholder farmers and their families in remote and mountainous areas to increase their productivity and manage their natural resources sustainably. Women are included in the activities to the extent that circumstances allow in what is sometimes a very conservative environment.  Possible impacts of natural hazards and climate change are also taken into account and mitigated through appropriate measures. Switzerland intervenes mainly indirectly, by strengthening the public services provided by the Afghan state for smallholders. Switzerland also supports the World Food Programme, which provides food assistance and promotes asset creation.

Agriculture and food security

Basic education 

Basic education plays a key role in the economic development and social cohesion of the community. Switzerland is committed to increasing access to high-quality basic education for all. To this end, communities are closely involved in the running of their schools. In dialogue with parents, teachers and village communities, the local government implements measures for safe and conducive learning environments. Switzerland is also strengthening the academic supervision system, providing advice and support to schools and teaching staff in order to improve the quality of basic education. Thanks to targeted humanitarian measures, vulnerable and conflict-affected children have access to education in a safe environment.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Approach and partners

Switzerland's development cooperation and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan complement each other. In development cooperation, the focus is on structural challenges, while humanitarian aid is provided in crisis situations. Implementing partners include UN institutions as well as Afghan, Swiss and international NGOs.

Current projects

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Colloque régional de l’Union Africaine « Radicalisation et extrémisme religieux violent au Sahel »

15.05.2016 - 31.12.2019

Le Sahel connaît depuis plusieurs années une recrudescence de l’extrémisme violent, avec des groupes terroristes et criminels capables d’élargir leur zone d’opération et de recrutement à des populations jusqu’ici épargnées par les phénomènes de radicalisation. La Suisse souhaite renforcer ses liens avec l’Union Africaine et lui apporter son soutien pour l’organisation de deux colloques au Mali et au Tchad, visant à renforcer la position des leaders religieux et traditionnels comme acteurs de paix et à sensibiliser contre les dangers de l’instrumentalisation des religions. 

Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2024

Millions of Afghan women, men and children gained access to services and improved their income since the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s initiation (ARTF) in 2002. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity and legitimacy. ARTF constitutes a coordinated financing mechanism for the state's budget (Recurrent Cost Window) and for its priority national investment projects (Investment Window) in the areas of agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance.

Contribution to the Pan African Bean Research Alliance PABRA

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

The greatest global challenge today is how to ensure food and nutrition security of a rapidly growing human population, considering climate change and without adversely affecting the natural base upon which the production is dependent. Beans, as the most important consumed grain legume, are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and plant derived micronutrients. Significant yield increase of more than 60% are possible, following access to and use of improved varieties coupled with integrated crop management practices.

AfDB - SDC Partnership on enhancing the Bank’s fragility and conflict sensitivity

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

Based on its Ten-year Strategy, the Bank will strengthen its engagement in fragile and conflict affected coun­tries/situations which is also a priority in Switzerland’s development bill 2013-16. This partnership will assist the Bank in building the necessary capacities and instruments to translate fragility concepts and approaches into more effective operations on the ground.  Other outcomes will be a new diagnostic tool “Country Resil­ience and Fragility Assessment (CRFA)” and strengthened capacities in the Bank and in 30 African countries.

Core Contribution to and Going Green of ICIPE

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2019

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is working on arthropods in agriculture, health and environmental issues. Arthropods are at the core of many development problems, but at the same time they offer a huge potential and opportunities for their utilisation (partial action A). With the greening concept ICIPE is minimising its carbon footprint and saves a large amount of money (partial action B); with the implementation of these measures ICIPE will become a flagship institution.

Ecological Organic Agriculture in Africa

01.08.2012 - 31.12.2019

Under the leadership of the African Union the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative will mainstream EOA into national agricultural policies and production systems. National multi-stakeholder platforms will be instrumental to facilitate and promote this process. SDC’s contribution allows the EOA-Initiative to expand from its actual pilot focus on East Africa to a total of eight countries in East and West Africa. In addition the EOA will be strengthened with scientific evidence from Kenya and Ghana provided by the Swiss-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).

Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP)

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2019

This project aims at supporting the Urban Mobility and Accessibility Thematic Cluster of the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) hosted within the World Bank, a program with a strong African ownership facilitating policy development and related capacity-building in the transport sector of Africa.

Object 37 – 45 of 45