In over 250 projects, in 29 countries, Helvetas advocates for a world in which people can live in dignity, safety and autonomy.

The needs and interests of the grassroots local population are central to Helvetas’ work. Local actors must be in the driver’s seat when determining the kind of support most urgently needed.

Successful development collaboration requires strong local partners, who can build a bridge between foreign aid and domestic needs. Working with local partners such as non-governmental organizations, government bodies or actors from the private sector is imperative for Helvetas. Collaboration is based on mutual respect and respect for each other's autonomy.

Through development cooperation, we support women and men in taking charge of improving their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. We avoid any actions that degrade people to the status of simple “beneficiaries.” We attempt, whenever possible, to link up with ongoing processes and to support existing organizations – or else to influence the general conditions so that autonomous movements and organizations can emerge and become active. We strengthen the independence of our partners – whether they be local people, local partner organizations or the authorities.

To this end, we focus our energies on  the following issues:

  • water and infrastructure
  • skills development and education
  • sustainable and inclusive economies
  • governance and peace
  • environment and climate change


In addition to rural areas, Helvetas is increasingly involved in urban development and is focusing its work on young women and men.

In Switzerland, Helvetas promotes solidarity and participates in the dialogue on development policy.

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