Review of the project work of Green Cross Switzerland

Since the foundation of Green Cross Switzerland in 1994, project work has had an important position in the self-image of the foundation. The project work was built on and merged with the principles and values of Green Cross Switzerland: Fast and directly effective help for self-help on the ground, which is pragmatically designed, scientifically based and based on mediation with concrete solutions. The foundation has always attached importance to establishing contacts with other partner organizations and companies on the ground, so that the aid and project work could be more firmly anchored regionally. Close cooperation with local companies and organizations became a central feature of the project work and the self-image of Green Cross Switzerland. The focus of the project work quickly began to crystallize after the foundation: Regions affected by man-made disasters.


Help for those affected by the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl

As early as 1995, Green Cross Switzerland launched its first projects in the areas affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. For this purpose, the foundation introduced the so-called SOCMED program (Social and Medical Care and Education), which had the goal of improving the health of the affected population in the longer term and, at the same time, providing further training and information for care professionals but also for those affected. SOCMED was in charge of all upcoming projects in countries such as Vietnam, Ukraine and Belarus.

Within the framework of this program, therapy camps were carried out in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In these camps, mainly children and young people with disabilities were cared for and taught by doctors, therapists, teachers and pedagogues. Social activities were also organized to promote creativity, ecological awareness and a sense of community. Family clubs were also established to initiate self-help among mothers. In order for women in particular to lead a more self-determined life, courses or further education were offered that were in line with the family clubs.


Outreach to victims of Agent Orange

In Vietnam, too, projects were organized in the 20th century to support victims of the herbicide Agent Orange, which was sprayed during the Vietnam War. Green Cross Switzerland set up an information and prevention program for those affected, but also for the Vietnamese public. In addition, it began to support Vietcot, a training institution for orthopedic technicians founded in 1997, so that children with orthopedic aids could attend schools and training courses on their own.


A variety of projects in different countries

The projects and support services described are a fraction of Green Cross Switzerland’s work over the past 20 years. Other projects have been carried out in nation states that were not among the Foundation’s core countries. In Burkina Faso, Green Cross Switzerland worked with the Department of Development and Cooperation (SDC) to help build structures and transfer knowledge about water management to prevent conflicts arising from water scarcity. In Iraq, the Foundation worked with the Society for Threatened Peoples to support mobile teams that provided medical care and counseling to victims of the poison gas attack on the city of Halabja during the first Gulf War by Saddam Hussein’s forces. In Fukushima, Japan, Green Cross Switzerland organized summer camps for children and young people and family clubs where people were informed about radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and everyday activities were carried out for the children. The Foundation was able to gain valuable experience in these countries, which it can use for the future.

The objective of “helping people to help themselves” was always an important premise in all projects. It turned out that sustainable structures could be established on site, which still exist today and are further strengthened by the current project work.

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