More than 40 years of Swiss Cooperation in Central America

Swiss Cooperation in Central America has shown an uninterrupted commitment for over 40 years leading to major achievements in the fight against poverty. In the 1980s, Switzerland started major projects focusing on two themes: integrated rural development and water and sanitation. What began as support for agricultural production changed into a value chain approach, including the microfinance industry. Other key themes in recent years have been the reduction of national disaster risk in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, the construction of social infrastructure for the poor and the management of public finances. Through Swiss Cooperation’s work, 460,000 Central Americans have access to water and sanitation and over 569,000 people have benefited from repaired roads or bridges, and thousands now live in conditions that are more resilient to the constant risk of disasters. Since the 1980s, collaboration with NGOs, institutions and civil society groups has been an integral part of Swiss Cooperation’s work. In all these years, Swiss development cooperation has consistently focused on people, their empowerment and their participation in decision-making processes. It has been versatile in addressing the multiple forms of fragility that perpetuate poverty in the region, which required strong new themes, such as good governance, the fight against corruption, the strengthening of the rule of law and the promotion of human rights.