In the field of peace and good governance consolidation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) runs three bilateral programmes of development assistance and a series of regional initiatives.
SDC funds two Decentralisation Programmes in <>Rwanda and Burundi, and a Land Tenure (Sécurisation foncière) Programme in Burundi. In addition, it offers a Great Lakes Media Programme to support the production of quality information and practical training of local journalists and has various activities planned or underway to support organizations or regional mechanisms dealing with border issues.
All projects are coordinated by the Regional Cooperation Office of SDC located in Kigali with the support of two programme offices in Bujumbura (Burundi) and Bukavu (South Kivu).
By choosing to implement concurrent programmes in several countries, SDC aims to benefit from regional experiences. It encourages thematic information sharing, exchange workshops and working visits, and the establishment of specific, joint projects between its partners in Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.
The comparative approach and synergy that the SDC is promoting among the programmes on the ground will allow them to refine the activities in each country according to the successes and constraints identified in others. They can also inspire national authorities in preparing their respective public policies. Finally, it appears that the consolidation of peace in the region is improved through exchanging information as frequently as possible among countries beyond the national borders. In this way, residents of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC acquire mutual knowledge of each other that helps to combat the prejudices existing among the populations of the Great Lakes.
In 2008, SDC spent nearly 6 million Swiss francs (5.9 million USD) for its programmes to support decentralization in Rwanda and in Burundi. Compared with funds provided by other donors, the amount may seem modest. But it is through its aid’s effectiveness and by its result-based methods that SDC distinguishes itself. The quality of its cooperation programmes is often mentioned by authorities, beneficiaries and other cooperation agencies. Finally, from its own institutional structure based on federalism, Switzerland can bring expertise on issues of decentralization of powers and services to the countries of the region.