Thanks to generous donors, last year Swiss Solidarity was able to help around six million people in 37 countries, providing emergency aid and social assistance and supporting projects in a range of fields, from child welfare to reconstruction and economic regeneration. Over CHF 29 million in donations went towards these projects. More than 17 per cent of the donations received, about CHF 5 million, was spent in Switzerland, the largest amount spent in any one country in 2019.
In 2019, Swiss Solidarity supported 234 projects run by its partner NGOs in 37 different countries to the tune of CHF 29.2 million. Over 17 per cent of all donations received went towards projects in Switzerland. These projects focus on supporting a range of different people: children who are victims of domestic violence, young people seeking to reintegrate into society and the world of work, the victims of the Bondo landslide and others who have suffered as the result of severe weather events in Switzerland.
Abroad, the largest amounts spent in 2019 went towards projects supporting the Rohingya in Bangladesh (CHF 4 million), victims of the 2018 tsunami in Indonesia, victims of the war in Yemen and those affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
Children were the focus of Swiss Solidarity’s activities in 2019. The foundation’s children’s relief fund supported 20 projects in 15 countries abroad, where its partner NGOs provided protection, health and education to more than 475,000 children.
In the year under review, the foundation raised money for the victims of the war in Yemen and of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, and for women in forgotten crises. The money raised in the Coeur à Coeur and Ogni centesimo conta fundraising events went towards helping children in Switzerland who are victims of domestic violence. In all, Swiss Solidarity has raised over CHF 20 million Swiss francs in donations in 2019. In addition, the Foundation received non-earmarked legates in the amount of 14.69 million Swiss francs.
During the 250th fundraising appeal, which was in aid of women in forgotten crises, Swiss Solidarity highlighted the possibility of donating online. New digital donation methods were tested, and the foundation looked at how it could reach its donors even more successfully, in particular the younger generation, raising awareness for humanitarian issues by means of interactive reports. Over 25 per cent of donations were made online, meaning Swiss Solidarity is now a leader in the field of online donating.
Besides evaluations conducted by independent experts in Burkina Faso, Nepal and Bangladesh, last year one of Swiss Solidarity’s key evaluation activities was an impact analysis carried out ten years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The analysis included a survey of over 500 households, the aim being to determine the extent to which the projects funded by Swiss Solidarity had impacted the lives of the people affected by the earthquake long term. The results of the study were published on 6 January 2020.
In 2019 Roland Thomann was appointed the new director of Swiss Solidarity, replacing Tony Burgener at the head of the foundation. The 44-year-old, who is originally from Bern but later made his home in Zurich, took up the reins on 1 January 2020 at the Swiss Solidarity headquarters in Geneva. Roland Thomann has over twenty years’ management experience in renowned communications agencies, and has supported Swiss companies such as Migros and Coop, and associations such as Swissmilk in introducing digital change. During his time as vice director for communication and fundraising at Doctors without Borders (MSF) at its headquarters in Geneva, he gained experience in the field of humanitarian emergency aid and worked in a number of African countries, including Swaziland, Niger, Chad and Congo (DRC).
The detailed 2019 annual report including financial statement will be published in the coming months.