AFC participates at the Swiss Development Cooperation presentation of its 2014 regional programme

22.01.2014

On Tuesday 14th February, AFC Consultants International attended the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) presentation of its 2014 programme. During this daylong event in Bern, SDC presented its strategic approaches and priorities for 2014. SDC has been one of our core clients since 2010. We have been working together particularly in Chad where we have supported the institutional and operational development of 9 NGOs working in the rural development and agriculture sectors. It’s thus a priority for AFC to stay up to date with the key areas of concern and core interest for SDC. We were pleased to note the following synergies between SDC’s 2014 strategy and our own developments.

With regards to its regional focus, SDC has identified Myanmar as a new partner country for development actions and as of 2013 is building a country programme in Myanmar. This is expected to be consolidated throughout 2014. AFC has also identified the potential for expertise in both agriculture and financial sectors in Myanmar and thus we appointed our own country representative in Myanmar in 2013, Ms Lisa Stiens. We have been working hard to develop a strong network of local experts and partners in order to be able to respond to the needs and challenges of this rapidly transitioning country.

SDC reconfirmed its commitment to working in countries in fragile and conflict-prone contexts, highlighting the importance of “staying engaged”. As such they will continue to work in countries with challenging contexts such as Chad and Mali as this is where the need is the greatest. AFC is equally aware of the high value added potential of working in such countries, and thus our portfolio includes projects in Chad, Mali and North Korea. In order to do this we have developed conflict sensitive management approaches and are aware of the importance of continually reassessing our context analysis.

Finally, gender equality is a central topic for SDC as both a standalone goal and transversal approach. We include gender mainstreaming in all our projects and it is particularly relevant for the agriculture sector. When designing services for agricultural value chains it is important to find out about the differentiated roles and rights of men and women with regards to access to or control over land and productive assets and their role in decision making processes. As such we can identify differentiated potential opportunities, highlighting where we can have the greatest impact for women. We also have various standalone projects focussing solely on gender. For example we have undertaken a comparative study of gender in SIDA’s projects. We are currently undertaking a study in Mali which focusses on the nutrition of female farmers using irrigation techniques. Gender will continue to remain a priority for AFC and an area within which we aim to deepen our expertise. For further questions, please contact Ms Holly Hufnagel: