© K. M. Asad / Helvetas

Helvetas Supported Over 5.8 Million People Across 35 Countries in 2023

26. June 2024
© K. M. Asad / Helvetas

Earthquakes, wars, fragile contexts, droughts, and hurricanes were among the many causes of people's hardships in 2023. Thanks to generous donations, Helvetas, the Swiss organization for development cooperation and humanitarian response, supported over 5.8 million people worldwide. This is highlighted in the 2023 Annual Report.

In 2023, Helvetas, the Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian response organization, received $44.2 million in donations and legacies. Helvetas USA raised almost $13 million last year — 30% more than in 2022. Thanks to the generosity of donors and foundations, more than 5.83 million people were given a fair chance to lift themselves out of poverty in 2023.

Thanks to these donations, as well as mandates from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and other government clients, including from the US, and with the support of Swiss Solidarity, Helvetas implemented development and emergency response projects worth almost $150 million in 2023. Helvetas committed $6.6 million to education and awareness-raising projects in Switzerland. Helvetas also provided technical and specialist advisory services for organizations, public bodies and private companies to the tune of $7.2 million.

Administrative expenses remained at a low level of 3.6%, while fund-raising expenses amounted to 5.9% of funds used, as indicated in the recently published 2023 annual report. 

The last few months have been marked by a debate on financing Ukraine's reconstruction at the expense of Switzerland's international development projects. Helvetas is committed to both strong development cooperation and resolute support for Ukraine. But aid for reconstruction must not be at the expense of the fight against poverty. It must be provided in addition, as reconstruction has a different logic to humanitarian response and long-term development work.

Helvetas creates viable local alternatives

In 2023, Helvetas continued its commitment in the three priority areas: 

  • Ensuring basic needs: Last year, 605,338 people gained access to drinking water, with more than half of them in Africa.
  • Creating new opportunities: In 2023, 458,548 people benefited from support for local micro and small enterprises and sustainable economic development.
  • Strengthening participation: 6,643 local governments and councils have better integrated citizens into their decision-making processes since 2023.

Among the projects to which Helvetas has made a major contribution, the construction of suspension bridges in Nepal was a great success last November: the country celebrated the inauguration of its 10,000th suspension bridge. These bridges have brought lasting improvements to the living conditions of 19 million people, giving them access to schools, health centers and markets.

Humanitarian response: Helvetas supports people in crisis 

In 2023, Helvetas supported 384,536 families affected by the war in Ukraine, cyclones in Bangladesh and Myanmar, earthquakes in Syria, Morocco and Nepal and other acute crises. Helvetas combines emergency humanitarian response with long-term development cooperation, so that disaster victims can quickly reorganize their daily lives and not become dependent on aid.

In Pakistan, for example, which suffered destructive floods in 2022, Helvetas was able to commission the restoration of 40 schools, 445,000 people gained access to drinking water thanks to filters installed in community locations, and 90,000 were supplied with water by tanker trucks. 

Helvetas' collaboration with Alliance2015, a network of seven European NGOs, once again enabled us to take effective action in crisis-stricken areas in 2023, including those where we have no local representation. For example, during the earthquakes in Morocco, Turkey and Syria, Helvetas was able to provide rapid emergency response by supporting its partners. 

Additional information

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Annual Report 2023