Sudan and Eritrea

Sudan has been the theatre of a series of humanitarian operations for several decades. The SDC's main goal in Sudan is to save lives and protect the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters. It is involved in the fields of food security and agriculture, emergency aid and the protection of civilians.

Map of Sudan

The power struggles and violence that have beset Sudan in recent decades have exacerbated the poverty and vulnerability of Sudan's civilian populations.

Switzerland's activities on the ground are primarily focused on humanitarian aid. The SDC's projects are part of an integrated cooperation strategy that encompasses the activities of the FDFA's Directorate of Political Affairs and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Food security and agriculture

Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable populations

In the regions of Darfur, South Kordofan/Abyei, Blue Nile and in the east of the country, civilians regularly face the risk of food insecurity owing to the ongoing conflicts and the forced population movements caused by them. The droughts triggered by erratic rainfall and overgrazing increase the vulnerability of communities.

The SDC supports the food and seed distribution activities of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies. It also supports livestock vaccination projects, especially those of the ICRC, as livestock farming is an important means of livelihood for a large number of Sudanese families.

Agriculture and food security

Emergency aid  

Access to basic services

The inter-communal violence in Darfur which has been ongoing since 2003 and the conflicts that have broken out in the south of the country since 2011 have led to the displacement of thousands of people. They have very limited access to drinking water, well-functioning infrastructure and health care. The situation of people in the rest of the country is hardly better. The SDC is working to ensure a better provision of basic services backed by all levels of government in Sudan, starting with local authorities and communities.

The SDC also seconds experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to its UN partners.  

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief and reconstruction

Humanitarian access and protection

Protecting internally displaced persons and refugees

Protecting civilians in the context of armed conflict is one of Switzerland's priorities in Sudan. The violence in Darfur and in the provinces of South Kordofan/Abyei and Blue Nile has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. The tensions have had a direct impact on individuals' well-being. War has traumatic after effects, particularly on children. Switzerland is working to ensure that all parties comply with international humanitarian law. In partnership with the ICRC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) it calls on government authorities and armed groups to protect victims and allow humanitarian aid organisations access to them.

Lastly, Switzerland provides support to refugees and migrants in the Horn of Africa region. A joint effort by the SEM and the SDC covers their basic needs, and also provides support to the communities that host them.

Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

History of cooperation

Two decades of humanitarian aid

Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been active in Sudan since 1994. Before and after the peace accords were signed in 2005 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, efforts focused on the Nuba Mountains region in the centre and south of the country. From 2003, the consequences of the war in Darfur were added to the SDC's priorities. Half the aid has gone to emergency aid and half to rehabilitation projects. In 2004 and again in 2006, offices were opened in Khartoum and Juba to coordinate the activities of Swiss Humanitarian Aid and other Swiss actors. When Sudan was divided into two independent states in 2011, the SDC doubled the budget it had previously allocated to the former Sudan.

Switzerland's engagement in Eritrea

Having withdrawn from the country in 2006, the SDC resumed cooperation with Eritrea on the basis of a Federal Council mandate in 2016. Following a feasibility study, it initially co-financed two projects in October 2017 and then a third in January 2018. This pilot phase will be the subject of an evaluation in 2019. The SDC's budget for these projects is over CHF 4 million. Eritrea is not one of Switzerland's priority countries.

Switzerland's engagement in Eritrea seeks to make a lasting improvement to the living standards and economic prospects of young people in the country. It has therefore opted to contribute to existing projects in vocational education and training.

For example, Switzerland is supporting vocational schools in several regions of the country, helping to give young Eritreans an opportunity to learn a trade. At a vocational school in the port city of Massawa, instructors are training workers and delivering continuing education courses.

Moreover, Switzerland contributes to the 'Skills and Migration' project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which also seeks to assist the Eritrean government in managing its migration policies and to draw on the engagement of the Eritrean diaspora for the country's development.

Vocational skills training and skills and migration UNDP project in Eritrea

Switzerland supports cooperation projects in Eritrea, Press release 12.10.2017

Current projects

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Mercy Corps - Building Resilience in Conflict-Affected Communities (BRAC)

01.02.2020 - 28.02.2023

South Kordofan is one of the areas in Sudan were the armed conflict is temporarily halted, but not yet solved, and many communities are still suffering from its consequences. These communities are hosting significant numbers of IDPs and refugees from war torn South Sudan, who share the very limited available resources. The project aims at increasing the resilience of female and male members of vulnerable households to economic, social and climate related shocks through improved access to gender responsive basic services and increased agricultural production.

Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2020

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2020

SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.

WFP Additional Contribution 2017 to Scale Up Operations in South Sudan in Response to the Hunger Emergency

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

On 24 February 2017, SDC/HA pledged an additional allocation of CHF 15 million to support emergency relief operations to help populations facing starvation in parts of Africa (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad Region) and Yemen. This decision followed a call issued by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 22 February 2017 urging for USD 4.4 billion aid to avert famine for 20 million people who risk starvation in these countries. Out of the CHF 15.0 million, CHF 7 million will be allocated to support WFP’s emergency operations in South Sudan, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad region, and Yemen.

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