Ecosolidar – About us
Ecosolidar – About us

About us

An exchange at eye level, mutual respect for each other and an honest interest in the realities on the ground are the strong fundaments of our collaboration with partner organisations that empower people to help themselves.

How does EcoSolidar work?

EcoSolidar has been supporting local small-scale projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America since 1986. We support projects initiated personally by the people concerned. Our work focuses on the following areas:

  • Organic agriculture for food security
  • Education and training of children and young people in need
  • Strengthening and education of women affected by poverty and violence
  • Promotion of peace and awareness enhancing projects

Helping people to help themselves is at the heart of our engagement: We object to the imposition of foreign ideas and approaches. We are convinced that projects are well anchored when they are based on the knowledge of the local people and are implemented by themselves. Our partners define the aim of the project themselves and decide how to implement their ideas. This makes their projects sustainable.

Our goal is to build strong partnerships with the people involved in the project. This means long-term cooperation based on equality and enduring in good as well as hard times and includes addressing difficulties and looking for solutions together. The foundation of this kind of cooperation is trust. Constant dialogue and openness are the prerequisites for working together across borders and cultures. We believe in the potential of small-scale local projects rooted in civil society and our experience shows that it is worthwhile promoting them. Therefore we always invest in a gradual build-up of the projects and in strengthening the organisations.

By supporting social and political initiatives in Switzerland, we take a stand for a  caring and just society here and worldwide.

Annual Report 2023

Annual Report PDF

Development concept

Position paper (German)

Membership

As a member you strengthen our association and have voting rights at the General Assembly. 

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Team

Andre Affentranger – Geschäftsleiter EcoSolidar
“I consider it a privilege to work in partnership with so many different people in so many different places around the world. The fact that I can witness how they transform their own lives and those of others into something better even under the most difficult conditions is a great gift and motivates me anew every day.”

ANDRÉ
AFFENTRANGER

Director

aa@ecosolidar.ch
Christine Gerber – Information, Finanzen und Administration
“The relationships with the people in the projects, with business partners in Switzerland and in the team at EcoSolidar are characterised by mutual respect, trust and a positive attitude to differences. I consider these criteria to be decisive for the success of our work. I can learn a lot from all these relationships, get fully involved and make friends in the most diverse places in the world. It is a privilege that I am very happy about and which motivates me for my work.”

CHRISTINE
GERBER

Information, Finances und Administration

cg@ecosolidar.ch
Portrait Caroline Imesch
"Focus on humanity (EcoSolidar’s slogan) is truly lived. I sense this genuine interest in others not only in our exchange with our project partners, but also on a daily basis within the team. Listening, taking time, responding to the needs of the counterpart and working together on solutions are key elements that ultimately lead to the success of our work. Being part of a team that represents this attitude is extremely inspiring and motivating!"

Caroline
Imesch

Projects and Communication

ci@ecosolidar.ch
“EcoSolidar stands for values that are of great importance to me on both a professional and personal level. They are central to all areas of our work and enable great encounters with different people in different places around the world. Through the close and direct cooperation with our partners, I learn something new every day and I appreciate that very much.”

Zilan
Gencer

Projects and Communication

zg@ecosolidar.ch
«After only a short time at EcoSolidar, I am fascinated by the interpersonal connections that EcoSolidar maintains with its project partners. The respectful interactions on an equal footing enable inspiring projects and valuable encounters. During my internship, I am responsible for planning and implementing the Swiss part of the European tour of Circo Fantazztico. It is a great enrichment for me to get to know and accompany both EcoSolidar and Circo Fantazztico from Costa Rica.»

Linda
Schnetzler

Intern

eco@ecosolidar.ch

Project Partners

GEORGE CHIMPIKO – Projektpartner Malawi
“I was born with a clubfoot and can understand the difficulties of people with a walking disability very well. That is why I, as managing director of KODO, concentrate on this target group. I am very happy that we can contribute to their food security. This fulfils my dream of supporting people with a walking disability.”

GEORGE
CHIMPIKO

Director KODO, Malawi

Project
“Pukllasunchis is a term from the Quechua language. It means "let's play" and expresses what has guided our institution from the very beginning: The importance of play in learning processes, socialisation and personal development. It encourages us to be present and to engage physically, mentally and emotionally with the people we work with and for. We associate play with joy, connection and happiness. We strive for a conscious and engaged coexistence with diversity that emphasises human dignity and our relationship with nature, both personally and in the community.”

Raúl
Chiappe Pio

Director PUKLLASUNCHIS, Peru

Project
“BSDA has been successful at developing strong and positive relationships with the communities where we work. Our mission is to work together to empower vulnerable people, promote compassionate engagement and enhance the quality of life, especially for women, children and youth, through education, health and livelihood development initiatives.”

Bee Chhon
Srors

Director BSDA, Kambodscha

Project
«Circo Fantazztico is a dynamic social project. It promotes learning and self-knowledge among the participants and gives them the opportunity to experiment with their own abilities and develop in different areas of life. The circus is also a safe and free space. A refuge from life's adversities and a place of joy, resilience and nourishment for the soul. Every circus experience is a treasure for every person, whether as a participant, trainer or spectator. For me, the circus is a social education and a means of socio-cultural intervention, innovative and revolutionary.»

Carolina
Gil

Director CIRCO FANTAZZTICO, Costa Rica

Project
“One of the basic principles underlying the community work is the belief that a woman has the right and ability to make decisions about her life; our role is to facilitate this decision-making process.”

SIEDS
Collective

India

Project
“FENAMAD advocates for equal rights and opportunities and always respects the autonomy of the indigenous communities it represents. We empower indigenous women in leadership positions and work towards better education and training opportunities for indigenous youth. It is important to give our territories and communities legal security. We have the administrative capacity to do this. The isolated indigenous communities are in danger because their territories are being affected by mining. As representatives of these communities, we want to campaign for a state that respects our rights.”

Alfredo
Vargas Pio

Director FENAMAD, Peru

Project
«IDA was founded by Bunong who are worried about the future. We train the indigenous community in organic farming. This enables people to earn an income and gives young indigenous people a perspective for the future here. It is important for the indigenous community to join together to find new ways and to take responsibility for their own future.»

Maeing
Chouy

Director CIFA, Cambodia

Project
Thomas Ngwira – Projektpartner Malawi
“I personally love working with rural communities, particularly with women and children, in solving problems related to food security, nutrition and environment. I have learnt that investing in women benefits everyone in a household as they are directly responsible for the family welfare and that children keep what they learn and the knowledge benefit is long term.”

Thomas
Ngwira

Director ASUD, Malawi

Project
Carmen V
“Our aim is for women, children and young people to be able to strengthen and develop their human and entrepreneurial skills under dignified conditions. To this end, we create and promote space for self-help. We want to contribute to the construction of a just, solidarity-based, non-violent and healthy society in coexistence with its environment.”

Carmen Susana Velásquez López

Project Coordinator IDEMNNA, Peru

Project
„What excites me about our centre is the opportunity of meeting people on a very personal level in different ways, of linking them with each other, of perceiving their resources and accompanying them on part of their journey. The women and children who find a place in the centre have very different, often terrible stories of flight. I want to hear them, share them, inspire confidence and hope in these people and seek and find perspectives together with them! These moments will accompany my memories in the future. This means happiness and confidence for me in my very personal task.“

Renata
Herger

Project Manager networkANTHROPIA, Greece

Project
«I founded the project Iniciativa Colibrí in January 2012 to give the children and young people of my neighborhood, Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the opportunity to exercise their rights to participation, self-expression, recreation and exploration of their creative ideas. The main method of achieving this is the theatre, through which they get to know their own emotions. Over time, we also offered courses in sewing and motorbike repair for adult women. In the process, the personal development sessions have become our trademark. Later, we came up with the idea of establishing a community library for children who love to come here and learn things through play. This is Colibrí, a refuge where we can recharge our batteries when the days outside are grey and hopeless.»

María Jesús
Centeno Tercero

Project Coordinator INICIATIVA COLIBRÍ, Nicaragua

Project

ECOSOLIDAR ASSOCIATION

EcoSolidar is a non-profit association with around 2’000 members and 16’500 other donors. The board of directors consists of individuals with particular expertise in the areas of projects and evaluation, human resources, finance, advertising and communication, law, politics and psychology. The association’s board of directors controls and decides on current projects. An external auditor checks the accounts and ZEWO (Zentralstelle für Wohlfahrtsunternehmen) has issued a certificate of approval to EcoSolidar.

BOARD MEMBERS

PRESIDENT
Guido Ehrler
VICE PRESIDENT
Emilio Modena
CASHIER
Marie-Therese Fasser (Compliance Officer)
ACTUARY & COMMUNICATION
Ariane Lang
FURTHER BOARD MEMBERS
Diether Grünenfelder (founder and former managing director of EcoSolidar.)
Christa Sulser
Isabella Augustin-Hitz
Michèle Abouchar (Professional activity: responsible for project partnerships at the NGO Helvetas)