Swiss and Swiss Red Cross Pledge: Taking Humanitarian Principles to action – innovations in humanitarian education

Caroline Hancock-Ebner
Programme Officer
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
Domain Humanitarian Aid and SHA / Multilateral Humanitarian Affairs Division


Objective: to foster awareness of and support to the Humanitarian Principles among youth. SDC and SRC believe, that promoting a more global understanding around the Humanitarian Principles among young people worldwide helps to foster greater acceptance and support to principled humanitarian action. This joint pledge contributes to the implementation of the IFRC OP320022 on Humanitarian Education as well as the ICRC Pledge SP320149 on the Fundamental Principles & the Auxiliary Role.

SRC School platform
•SRC has developed the school platform “The Red Cross Adventure – an idea changes the world” http://ecoles.redcross.ch/dans-le-monde (French, German and Italian). The platform was launched in 2016 and includes different services like online modules, school visits by representatives of the SRC and didactical support. The following themes are included in this platform :
– International Humanitarian Law
– International cooperation
– Conflict prevention and non-violence
– First aid, Blood donation and blood cell donation, water-prevention.
– 150 years of History of the Swiss Red Cross.

•The school platform will be further developed and promoted at least until 2020. Currently, SRC is in the process of adding the issue of migration to the platform.

•An overview of additional SRC services for schools can be found here SRC services for schools e.g. chili and raid cross.
•The SRC school platform was also announced and shared on IFRC Humanitarian Education Platform.

SDC School Project
•Humanity can be learned. That’s why Switzerland in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross and the University of Zug, supported by the IFRC as well as the ICRC runs a school project, which aims at bringing humanitarian principles closer to young people Project Humanity. The project, which was launched in 2015, is based on exploring the humanitarian principles from different perspectives, going beyond cultural and religious diversities that often co-exist in classrooms. The goal is to create a common understanding. The school project’s online platform is an innovative teaching tool for value-based education using visual and functional features of the new media. For example, it allows students to present their ideas, share their posts or keep a diary about their thoughts and insights. Students from all over the world can benefit from deeper examining the humanitarian principles and their global values. This school project allows them to discover the significance and role of the humanitarian principles; assess the importance of the humanitarian principles for people in need; learn how humanitarian aid works; reflect on what they have learned and give thought to their own values; shape a personal opinion and be able to present and defend it.

•The teaching method of Project Humanity and to raise awareness about humanitarian principles is in line with the SDG 4.7 of the UN Global Education Agenda 2030. In this way, Switzerland wants to make sure that all students wanting to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for sustainable development will do so through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Global Citizenship Education and Cultural Diversity Appreciation. It may be noteworthy that this teaching method and the school project enhance the schools’ curriculums, especially in the field of the social dimension of the ESD.
•Promoting and implementing value-based education by Project Humanity is since May 2017 part of the SDC’s Education Strategy in Swiss humanitarian and development aid (Goal 3.5 Sustainability, cohesion and resilience: Make use of the transformative role of education for sustainable development, civic participation, social cohesion and resilience / Goal 3.3. Quality and relevance: Enable relevant quality learning that provides competencies for life and work and has a transformative impact on human development).
In the Federal Council’s Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017–2020, education is a priority theme and comprises both basic education and vocational skills development. During this period, SDC increase our commitment to education by 50% compared to the 2013–2016 dispatch period. The SDC Education Strategy sets out how they will reach this objective through our bilateral and multilateral engagement.

Inclusion in Swiss school curriculum
•SRC and SDC actively promoted the inclusion of humanitarian principles and themes within the Swiss school curriculum. The following issues are already part of the school curriculum for the German-speaking cantons: Henry Dunant, Red Cross, and International Humanitarian Law.

•Both projects, “Project Humanity” and “Adventure Red Cross” are placed on the “mySchool” platform of the Swiss television SRF myschool and registered on the Swiss web platform for teachers “Education 21 – éducation en vue d’un Développement Durable” education21

•The accreditation of Project Humanity as official teaching material of the Swiss public schools is ongoing; some of the cantons have already included it (the Swiss public schools are part of the autonomy federal system).