Eirene Suisse strengthens and promotes locally developed actions in support of the promotion of peace and human rights, through exchange and mutual learning. By putting the exchange of personnel in development cooperation at the heart of its partnerships, Eirene Suisse supports its partners’ local actions in developing their own strategies based on their field expertise. Eirene Suisse concentrates its efforts on the reinforcement of civil societies working in fragile or unstable circumstances (“Fragile States”2).
Areas of Action
Eirene Suisse is active in areas subjected to chronic instability and/or to risks to peace and human rights (in the context of instability or being “fragile”):
- Central America: Nicaragua, El Salvador: For decades, Nicaragua and El Salvador have suffered tremendously from armed conflicts. Today, economic disparities, urban and rural violence, and forced migrations have left a mark on this region which struggles to take ethnic minorities, who subsist on the Atlantic coast in particular, into consideration. Eirene Suisse’s efforts to develop activities in Central America are concentrated on Nicaragua and El Salvador. Eirene Suisse has had a presence in Central America for thirty years.
- Great Lakes: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (North and South Kivu), and Uganda: This region has been subjected to mass violence for several decades. The deep wounds of recent history make living together difficult, especially as the reasons for the crisis (problems of governance, identity, and sharing of land and mineral resources) are unresolved. Eirene Suisse has had a presence in the Great Lakes for twenty years.
- Haiti: Haiti is a country of great material poverty that has suffered from a State that is both broken down and heavily centralized, and that doesn’t favor citizen engagement. Repeated natural disasters (particularly the earthquake in 2010) make it even more vulnerable. There is an elevated level of social violence and extreme poverty. Eirene Suisse has had a presence in Haiti for fifty years.
Our Methods of Action
Eirene Suisse specializes in the exchange of personnel in development cooperation (see chapter 4.6). This is a form of complementary cooperation in support of conventional financial support, which opts for human interaction and mutual learning as the primary driving force of change and development. Since its creation, Eirene Suisse has sent more than 300 qualified long-term volunteers from Switzerland to support the development of local structures by providing their skills. Other modalities of cooperation are implemented by Eirene Suisse: South-North exchanges (awareness in Switzerland), South-South exchanges (networking), short-term assignments, civil service, internships for young Swiss professionals, exchange and training workgroups, as well as support to local personnel.
This array of tools offers more flexibility in supporting local partners according to their needs.
Areas of Action
For Eirene Suisse, the promotion of peace and human rights rooted in these operational contexts invites others to act at different levels. In order to implement our commitments to the promotion of peace and human rights, Eirene Suisse has identified five areas of action. One common area of action across three sites for the 2017-2020 plan is citizenship. In fact, this area of action, which is particularly relevant to the promotion of peace and human rights is found at each of Eirene Suisse’s sites and is characteristic of the organization’s specificities. The area of action “Fight against poverty” is found in Central America and Haiti, “migration” in Haiti, and “conflict prevention and management” in the Great Lakes region. Each of these themes have been developed according to Eirene Suisse’s specificities, its network, and local contexts.
Eirene Suisse’s thematic targeting focuses on the promotion of peace and human rights as essential conditions of sustainable development. In this sense, the areas of action identified by Eirene Suisse are part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and share their ideals. The areas of action identified by Eirene Suisse primarily contribute to the realization of the following SDGs:
SDG 1:No Poverty: end poverty in all its forms by 2030. This involves targeting those who live in vulnerable situations, increasing access to basic services and resources, in addition to bringing support to communities hit by conflict and climatic disasters.
SDG10: Reduced Inequalities: Income inequality is a global problem requiring international solutions. This includes improving regulation and monitoring of institutions and financial markets, encouraging development assistance, and direct investments in regions with the greatest need. Facilitating safe migration and mobility of people is crucial to the reduction of this growing divide.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: The Sustainable Development Goals seek to greatly reduce all forms of violence and to work towards governments and communities finding sustainable solutions to conflict and insecurity. At the heart of this process is strengthening rule of law and promotion of human rights, in addition to reducing illegal arms flows and strengthening the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance3.
This English translation has been possible thanks to the PerMondo project: Free translation of website and documents for non-profit organisations. A project managed by Mondo Agit. Translator: Kristin Leigh Proofreading: Sahoy Cameron-