SDC Director Martin Dahinden in Ethiopia and Kenya

Article, 23.11.2012

From 17 to 20 November, and SDC delegation led by SDC Director Martin Dahinden visited two countries in East Africa. In Ethiopia, together with representatives of the World Food Programme (WFP), it assessed projects for improving food security. In Kenya the agenda included discussions with representatives of the government and partner organizations concerning Somalia and Kenya, as well as visits to projects financed by the SDC.

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The WFP is one of the SDC’s most important partners. The visit to Ethiopia from 17 to 20 November will provide an opportunity to see first-hand how the situation in the region has progressed in the year following the dramatic hunger crisis and to assess the measures put in place to improve the situation of the local population. Among the representatives of the WFP in Ethiopia will be Swiss music artist DJ Bobo (René Baumann), in his capacity as WFP Special Ambassador. In Addis Ababa, SDC Director Martin Dahinden will hold discussions with representatives of the Ethiopian government, the WFP Country Director, and representatives of partner organizations.

A visit is planned to the WFP projects in the Awassa region, in the southwest of the country. The main focus here is on innovative approaches in the area of food security, which are being implemented with the support, among others, of Switzerland. The WFP has in recent years widened its spectrum from “Food Aid", to what is termed “Food Assistance”. This means that, wherever possible, rather than continuing in the tradition of providing aid in the form of short-term food distributions, preference is given to more comprehensive and sustainable means of ensuring food security.

Switzerland’s strategy in the Horn of Africa
On 21 November, the SDC delegation continued on to Kenya. In Nairobi, Martin Dahinden met for talks with representatives of partner countries, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Priority was given to clarifying Switzerland’s new strategy in the Horn of Africa and to coordinating cooperation between the various forces to benefit the region in general, and Somalia in particular. In Kenya, the SDC Director also inspected projects supported by Switzerland, including a visit to a region where, in response to climate change, herd animals better able to resist drought, such as camels, are being raised for milk production.

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