Helvetas contributes to the protection and empowerment of migrants and their families. We minimize the risks and costs of migration and maximize its positive impact on local social and economic development.

Why migration and development matter

The positive contribution of migration to development is increasingly recognized and features prominently in SDGs 8 and 10 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Migrant women and men are “actors” of development and contribute to the socioeconomic growth in their destination countries. They also play a crucial role in the financial, cultural and knowledge transfers to their countries of origin.

But migrants and their families tend to be vulnerable and face various risks during the migration cycle. Key framework conditions need to be in place to help safeguard and strengthen their resources and rights, while empowering migrants to seize safe and beneficial opportunities. Helvetas and our local partners support all stakeholders in building effective frameworks in collaboration with governments, civil society, the private sector and, above all, the migrants themselves.

What we do

Safe labor migration

Helvetas neither encourages nor discourages people from migrating. We recognize migration as a viable livelihood strategy. Our work focuses on “South-South” migration and is based on a migrant-centered approach built on an evidence and rights-based perspective. We support migrant women, men and their families in gaining access to information, rights and capacities throughout the entire migration cycle.

Migration and local development

We strengthen local governments and communities to streamline migration dynamics and integrate social mobility into governance processes. Helvetas promotes interactions among authorities, migrants and their families, and migrant representatives or associations. Together with our local partners and civil society actors, we engage in advocacy and promote a constructive national policy dialogue on migration.

Mobility as a cross-cutting issue

Migration has implications on many development and humanitarian sectors. A multi-disciplinary approach is key to successfully addressing migration-related challenges. Helvetas is committed to integrating and monitoring migration aspects in all areas of our work.

Social cohesion

The arrival of migrants and displaced persons is often challenging for host communities. An influx of new residents affects social relations and dynamics, influencing the socio-economic, political and cultural aspects of the existing environment. However, migrants also offer potential for social transformation and inclusive development.

Helvetas aims to ensure that all people in a country, including migrants, have access to fundamental social and economic rights without discrimination and on an equal footing so that they can experience belonging and willingly contribute to the community and society.

PDMO: Pre Decision Making Orientation | © Helvetas
We work with youth who are interested in labor migration. We provide them with resources that help them make informed decisions. © Helvetas
PDMO: Pre Decision Making Orientation | © Helvetas
The first session is about the migration dream. We ask them: What do you hope migration will make possible? © Helvetas
© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
An information poster on the topic of safe migration. © Helvetas / Patrick Rohr

What we offer

  • Expertise in four key intervention areas: human rights and protection, economic development and remittances management, skills development, and psycho-social support throughout all stages of the migration cycle.
  • Advice on strengthening good governance in all migration matters; highlight the positive aspects of migration; strengthen the political, social and economic inclusion of migrants; conflict prevention.
  • Strengthening institutions. Capacity development of state and non-state actors. Support government actors in improving public services. Strengthen civil society, including migrant representatives and associations, to engage in advocacy and policy dialogue at local, national and international levels. Civil society has a crucial role in promoting gender-sensitive, rights-based and non-discriminatory policies that enabling safe and regular migration.
  • Implementation of a migrant-centered approach to increase the benefits and reduce the risks and costs of migration.
  • Include different migration dimensions and dynamics in designing and planning development and humanitarian interventions such as the integration of diasporas in rural economic development or migrants in skills development.
  • Geographical coverage: Our advisors, based in the global South and in Switzerland, provide technical support to projects in Europe, Africa, Asia, MENA and Latin America.

Contact our team

Our multilingual advisory team offers wide-ranging thematic expertise and has in-depth experience in navigating complex processes. Helvetas’ work builds on over 60 years of experience in more than 30 countries.

Contact our migration and development experts
Senior Advisor Migration & Development
Pascal Fendrich

Selected projects

Helvetas develops and guides projects to be rights-based, oriented towards systemic change, and adaptive to disruptions such as authoritarian trends, pandemics, fragility and populist rhetoric. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

Gender & Social Equity

Helvetas makes sure that our work actively and meaningfully includes and supports the most disadvantaged groups.

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.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.