ISLAMABAD, 16 December 2022 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Friday welcomed a US $5.6 million contribution from the Government of Switzerland. This contribution will directly address the education and livelihood needs of refugees and host communities in Pakistan over a four-year period.
In a unique undertaking, the Swiss Development Cooperation with the South and Swiss Humanitarian Aid joined forces in coordination with the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration to pilot the multi-year funding and combine development and humanitarian funding sources – with UNHCR Pakistan being the first recipient of such mixed financing.
The Swiss contribution concentrates on refugee and Pakistani children and youth to ensure their right to quality education, participation, and protection to enhance their life and work prospects. It includes improving school infrastructure, removing financial barriers to school-attendance, and supporting children at risk of school drop-out, including girls and children with special needs to access quality education.
Through this partnership, UNHCR seeks to build capacity and create opportunities for Afghan refugees and host communities to achieve self-reliance through vocational and skills training and support to start-up businesses in Baluchistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces as well as Islamabad.
“The signing of the funding agreement between UNHCR and Switzerland’s Swiss Development Cooperation comes at a time of unprecedented needs for refugees and host communities alike in Pakistan, requiring innovative, comprehensive and collaborative international action,” noted UNHCR’s Representative to Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida. “This four-year initiative provides effective, efficient, and predictable support to programs that have the power to change lives.”
Livelihoods and education programmes also assist host community members as part of an international effort falling under a Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to increase contributions towards communities who have generously shared their resources with refugees for decades.
While appreciating Pakistan’s hospitality and solidarity for Afghan refugees spanning around 40 years, Ambassador Georg Steiner said, “Switzerland’s assistance is in line with its long-term commitment to SSAR (Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees). Our contribution is an investment for Afghan refugees in Pakistan to build a better future for themselves, and their families.”
Qaiser Khan Afridi, UNHCR Spokesperson, +92-300-5018696