© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen

Our Expertise and Services: Gender and Social Equity

© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen

At Helvetas, we not only strive to promote broadly beneficial development but we also seek to work specifically with the most disadvantaged individuals and groups living in our partner countries. It is for this reason that gender equality and social equity is a cross-cutting theme in our organization.

Why gender and social equity matter

It is a fact that a person is more likely to be economically poor if she is a woman or an indigenous member of a minority ethnic group, practices a minority religion, comes from an isolated geographical area, was born into a low social status (caste, bonded labor), is young or very old, or lives with impaired health. Poverty tends to be strongly correlated with being socially disadvantaged – that is, experiencing social discrimination and powerlessness. Hence gender rights, inclusion and conflict sensitivity are integral to how we work.

The 2030 Development Agenda recognizes gender as integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this reason, gender is mainstreamed across all goals and a stand-alone goal. SDG 5 Gender Equality prioritizes nine key targets tackling gender rights, disparity, discrimination, violence, access to services and resources among others. As a development organization and partner, we are committed to contributing to the achievement of these key targets.

What we do

Helvetas strives towards a gender balanced, strongly socially aware and capable workforce. We are committed to integrating and monitoring gender in our policies, procedures, strategies, tools and our projects. In promoting gender equality and social equity in our local programs, we are also attentive to the example set by our partner organizations and by ourselves. Helvetas seeks to partner with organizations that share its broad organizational values. We strengthen the gender and social equity capacities of our partners.

Our Helvetas Gender and Social Equity Policy was elaborated through a careful and wide consultation process within the organization and with key partners. Download it in English, Spanish or French.

© Helvetas / Nicolas Morand
Mozambique: Improving people's living and health conditions through the participation of men and women in local governance processes © Helvetas / Nicolas Morand
© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Guatemala: Women participate in local democratic governance © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
Ethiopia: Empower youth who thereby will escape the “low/no skill – no job – no income” poverty trap. © Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
© Helvetas / Jonathan Widmer
Vietnam: Improving the livelihood of ethnic minorities through community-based tourism. © Helvetas / Jonathan Widmer
© Helvetas
Laos: Fostering a new generation of legal professionals to become advocates of women’s rights. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Tanzania: KUWAKI - Women as small-scale entrepreneurs. Women empowerment through irrigated vegetable production and marketing. © Helvetas

What we offer

  • Expertise in mainstreaming gender and social equity in strategy, programme and project planning
  • Design and planning of feasibility studies and assessments
  • Gender and social equity capacity development and backstopping: project and program backstopping; development of training manuals and material; creation of innovative tools; facilitation of thematic workshops; coaching; trainings; capitalization of experiences; knowledge management tools and platforms
  • Support in integrating gender and social equity in monitoring systems, mid-term reviews, end evaluations and impact assessments
  • Geographical coverage: Our advisors in the Global South and in Switzerland support projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Our gender focal persons

As part of our commitment to integrating gender in our programs, local Helvetas gender focal persons are key. These women and men are committed to developing their own capacities and that of our partner countries’ teams and partners. They mitigate conflicts and identify gaps and required resources needed to address gender and equity disparities in our work. Gender focal persons are supported by our organizational gender and social equity focal person. Lessons learned are systematically shared within the organization.

Contact our coordinator

Selected projects

Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
Laos Private Sector Development

Good Tea Fetches Good Prices

© Helvetas
Nepal WASH & Water Governance

A Fair Share of the Water

© Helvetas / Christian Bobst
Kosovo Education and Vocational Skills

Jobs for Young People

© Helvetas
Bangladesh Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Sound Local Policy for Real Change

© Helvetas
Tajikistan Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Justice for All

Albania Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Building Confidence in Local Government

© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
Bosnia-Herzegovina Private Sector Development

Making Markets and Jobs

Mali Climate & Disaster Resilience

New Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change

Tanzania Private Sector Development

Climate-Smart Organic Cotton

© Helvetas
Guatemala Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Entrepreneurship in the Guatemalan Highlands

Rasht Valley Tajikistan | © Helvetas
Tajikistan Gender & Social Equity

Improved Nutrition and Health for Rural Families

 Mother with daughter preparing food | © Patrick Rohr
Laos Climate & Disaster Resilience

Connecting for Improved Nutrition

© Helvetas / Arben Llapashtica
Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, Montenegro Education and Vocational Skills

Building Economies Where All Can Prosper

Further information

Download and read our publications on different gender and social equity related topics.

Partnerships, alliances and networks

Other topics that might interest you

Partnership and Capacity Development

Sustainable change must be owned by national actors. Working in partnerships is a fundamental principle of Helvetas’ work.

Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.


Real change requires open dialog between policymakers and society. So Helvetas promotes exchange between decision-makers and those affected by their decisions.