Switzerland's activities in Haiti are focused on local governance, agriculture and food security, as well as employment and economic development. The aim is to contribute to a more just society and improve the living conditions of impoverished communities.

Map of Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America, with around 60% of the population living below the national poverty line (USD 2.41 per day, 2012). Almost a quarter of the population is affected by food shortages or suffers from hunger. The country is frequently struck by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and droughts. A major earthquake claimed 230,000 lives in 2010 and in 2016 Hurricane Matthew left a trail of devastation in the south of the country. Haiti has therefore depended again and again on emergency aid and humanitarian assistance for reconstruction efforts. In addition, longer-term development aid plays a central role in poverty reduction and in the promotion of sustainable economic and social development.

Local governance and good governance

Switzerland is assisting Haiti's government and local communes in improving basic services in rural areas, through infrastructure and  training. It is thereby supporting the Haitian government's decentralisation policy. For example, Switzerland is further extending drinking water and sanitation services in cooperation with local communities. This improves women's and children's health in particular and prevents the spread of epidemics such as cholera.  Switzerland is also working to ensure that women and disadvantaged groups are involved in decision-making and local planning processes.

Between 2014 and 2017, over 25,000 people gained access to clean drinking water. Thirty commune committees, made up of 45% of women on average, have been operating and maintaining these systems since then.

Switzerland is also assisting communes in carrying out risk assessments and implementing protective measures against natural hazards. This includes, for example, the reconstruction of disaster-proof housing and community emergency shelters. Switzerland also trains professionals to improve their practical skills and raise public awareness of basic earthquake- and hurricane-proof construction techniques. Twelve schools were built and over 1,000 bricklayers trained between 2014 and 2017.

Advocacy and good governance

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection

Agriculture and food security

Switzerland provides support for smallholder farmers to enable them to plant new varieties, increase their crop yields and better store and market their produce. This not only improves food security among rural families, but also benefits all Haitians, who are able to buy affordable, locally grown food.

In cooperation with Canada, Switzerland supported the establishment of an agricultural credit system in all ten of the country's departments, which benefited over 14,500 farmers (28% of whom were women) between 2014 and 2017. Thanks to promoting microfinance institutions, the volume of agricultural loans rose by 30% nationwide.

To ensure that the progress achieved to date is sustained, Switzerland also provides farmers with support that is specifically targeted at increasing their resilience to natural hazards. Switzerland is also helping to reinforce the capacity of the state to cope with natural disasters and provides targeted emergency and food aid where needed.

Agriculture and food security

Private sector development and financial services

Employment and economic development

Switzerland supports vocational education and training in Haiti, in particular in the construction sector, which is growing rapidly and plays an important role in poverty reduction. Switzerland works to ensure that people working in small businesses have access to high-quality vocational schools and can take advantage of opportunities for further training. In this context, Switzerland builds on the strengths of the Swiss vocational education and training system and its experience in the earthquake-proof reconstruction of homes and schools.

Basic education and vocational skills development

History of cooperation

While numerous Swiss aid agencies and charitable organisations have been active in Haiti since the 1950s, the Swiss Confederation began to provide assistance to the country in the late 1990s. Following the devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Switzerland stepped up its humanitarian efforts. Since then it has supported reconstruction efforts and the strengthening of disaster risk reduction. Since 2013, Switzerland has also been involved in longer-term development programmes in Haiti to help bring about a lasting improvement in living conditions, poverty reduction and the strengthening of local governments. In accordance with Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the 2018–21 period, particular emphasis is placed on the links between humanitarian aid and development cooperation.

Current projects

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REGLEAU - Renforcement de la gouvernance locale de l’eau et de l’assainissement

01.04.2023 - 31.07.2025

Ce projet vise à renforcer les capacités de six communes d’Haïti afin qu'elles puissent fournir des services d'eau potable et d'assainissement résilients aus risques et catastrophes à la population. En vue de la fin de la coopération bilatérale de la Suisse en Haïti, la phase II consolide et met à l'échelle les acquis de la première phase et intègre des approches du projet direct humanitaire « Réduction des Risques de Catastrophes Naturelles ».

Projet d’appui à la reconstruction de l’habitat avec formation dans le Sud (PARHAFS)

01.04.2022 - 30.06.2025

Le projet vise à renforcer la résilience des habitants du sud d'Haïti, région régulièrement frappée par de violents phénomènes naturels - le dernier en date étant le puissant séisme d'août 21. Le projet travaillera en étroite collaboration avec les institutions nationales, les collectivités locales et les associations de femmes afin de renforcer la résilience des communautés, en premier lieu en construisant des maisons avec la participation des propriétaires. En collaboration avec les populations exposées et la protection civile locale, des abris collectifs anticycloniques seront aussi construits, offrant aux personnes une possibilité de protection en cas de conditions météorologiques adverses. L'objectif est de reproduire ce modèle au niveau national.

Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti (PAPAH), Phase II

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2024

La phase 2 du Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti vise à renforcer le système national de financement et d’assurance agricoles en Haïti, porté par les institutions publiques et privées et régulé par la Banque de la République d’Haïti. La contribution suisse servira de levier pour mieux structurer et orienter des investissements d’environ USD 340 millions au profit des exploitations dans les chaines de valeur agricoles; dans le Sud et la Grand-Anse, en synergie avec les programmes du portefeuille Suisse, le développement de produits financiers spécifiques servira environ 20 000 exploitations agricoles.

Haïti : Programme de préservation et de valorisation de la biodiversité (PVB)

01.04.2013 - 30.12.2024

Dans le Massif de la Selle – situé au sud-est d’Haïti – se trouve une des dernières forêts natives du pays. Malgré son statut d’Air protégée, la préservation de la Forêt des pins est menacée par l’instalation autour et dans celle-ci de population à la recherche de revenus. Ainsi, le projet vise à renforcer l’Agence Nationale des Aires protégée du Ministère de l’Environnment dans ses efforts de prise en charge de la gestion participative de l’Aire protégée en incluant les acteurs locaux et en soutenant la population locale dans la création de revenus alternatifs.

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