Syria conflict – Long-term solutions required

  • 10.03.2017
  • Syria

© HEKS/Pascal Mora

The war in Syria has been raging since 2011, driving over 11 million people from their homes, five million of whom have fled abroad. Over 13 million people have been affected by the conflict and are dependent on humanitarian aid. Emergency aid is still required, but at the same time more long-term solutions are also necessary.

For the past five years we have been supporting our partner organizations in their work helping the victims of the Syria conflict. But what is the best way to help these people?

Our policy is to continue to provide emergency aid where this is possible and effective, at the same time looking for more long-term ways of bringing stability and autonomy to the refugees’ lives.

Emergency aid, where necessary
We continue to provide emergency aid in the war zones. For example, in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus we support projects run by our partner relief organizations Caritas Switzerland, Medair and Terre des hommes – helping children worldwide. These organizations distribute meals, improve water supply and healthcare, and protect children from abuse and violence.

We also help war victims in Iraq. Our partner relief organizations Medair, Terre des hommes – helping children worldwide and Save the Children distribute cash and ensure there is access to clean water in the refugee camps.

Long-term support, where possible
We commissioned a study to look at innovative and sustainable ways of helping the people who have fled to Syria’s neighbouring countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. The study showed how and under what circumstances refugees can best be helped to become more autonomous and less dependent on external aid.

An example of this type of sustainable approach is the money-for-work project run by our partner relief organization HEKS and supported by Swiss Solidarity. Refugees in a Palestinian refugee camp can earn a bit of money when they do something to help the community. In Lebanon, our partner relief organization Solidar Suisse trains young refugees in construction skills, which they can then apply to build accommodation for other refugees. And they are paid for doing this work.

These projects build on the refugees’ potential and give them tools to deal with the crisis. However, such projects are only feasible if the local conditions are right. For example, many refugees are not permitted to work in the countries they are living in. Fortunately, we are observing some improvement in the situation. The changes are slow, but they are opening up new ways in which refugees can be helped.

Long-term commitment
Swiss Solidarity and its partner relief organizations are committed to helping the victims of the Syria conflict over the long term. But in order to be able to continue our support over the coming months, we need your donation:



Our support for victims of the Syria crisis since 2012

  • Number of projects: 14 in Syria, 21 in Lebanon, 20 in Jordan, 3 in Turkey, 16 in Iraq

  • Project funding totalling CHF 44.3 million

  • Our partner organizations: ADRA, Caritas Switzerland, Handicap International, HEKS, Medair, Doctors without Borders, Swiss Red Cross, Solidar Suisse, Terre des hommes – helping children worldwide, Save the Children

    Swiss Solidarity is a foundation, started as an initiative of the Swiss public media SRG SSR | Partnership & collaboration

    • Keystone
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    One picture often says more than a thousand words. Thanks to the partnership with the internationally operating Swiss picture agency Keystone, Swiss Solidarity has free and rapid access to recent pictures at any time. 

    The Keystone picture agency takes a Swiss view of our country and the world. A team of 20 full-time photographers throughout Switzerland as well as international partner agencies ensure that no current event is missed. As the largest picture agency in Switzerland, Keystone has an almost unending store of material on Swiss social history (around 11 million archive images).




    A national fundraising day is unthinkable without the means of Swisscom: In six regional fundraising centers, provided by Swisscom as well, between 120 and 150 phone lines are in use. This meant that, at the Tsunami’s fundraising day, over 70’000 calls were managed. On fundraising days, this service is free of charge.

    The internet as a means of communication is vital for Swiss Solidarity, too. Therefore, Swisscom supports Swiss Solidarity’s web presence year after year with a considerable contribution. Swisscom (formerly PTT) has been an abiding partner for Swiss Solidarity for over sixty years.


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    Swiss Solidarity originated in 1946 from a radio show in western Switzerland – the first fundraising campaign was for the benefit of the orphans of World War II. The idea became more and more successful, and in 1983, Swiss Solidarity was granted the status of a foundation initiated by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG. Today, Swiss Solidarity is a foundation that raises funds for humanitarian relief projects and works with the SRG SSR.

    On national solidarity and fundraising days, Swiss Solidarity demonstrates just what is meant by «idée suisse»: The solidarity and support of Switzerland’s entire population. This is only possible because the SRG SSR idée suisse supports Swiss Solidarity with its free broadcastings. Swiss Solidarity itself is – with a few exceptions – not a relief organization, but rather a solidarity network, cooperating with 25 relief organizations.

    Additionally, the company’s entities SRF, RTS, RTR, RSI are all represented in the foundation board.