Become a member or donate

Support Group of Swiss TPH

In 1989 staff of Swiss TPH founded the “Support Group of Swiss TPH”, an association of employees and friends of Swiss TPH with a constitution, a managing board and an annual general assembly. Anyone can become a member.

The association’s aim is to offer assistance to people and associations in resource-poor countries - particularly in the sense of helping people to help themselves. The raised funds are used entirely for the benefit of the projects.

Latest News

Mangrove Project in the Philippines


In November 2013, the typhoon Haiyan caused catastrophic destruction in the Philippines and claimed the lives of more than 6,300 people. The Visayas in provinces like Samar, Leyte or Northern Iloilo were particularly hard hit, as those on the coast were exposed to the full force of the storm.

The municipality of Lavezares in Northern Samar is surrounded by 1,000 hectares of mangroves. Mangrove forests are amongst the most productive ecosystems on earth and essential for sustainable fishing. Their roots offer a quiet marine region and safe breeding area for many fish, sea shells and crabs. At the same time they form a natural breakwater, protecting the coastline from erosion. Although they are under protection they have been seriously depleted in recent years by illegal deforestation and the construction of residential areas. The effects of severe hurricanes and rising sea levels make their continued protection absolutely essential.

Together with the local government and with endorsement from the Swiss Embassy the local youth group Youth Earthsavers Movement (YES-Move) launched a project to reforest and rehabilitate the mangrove areas in seven villages (barangays) around Lavezares. Within three months 120,000 mangroves were expected to be planted in 4 hectares per barangay. Local fishermen were actively involved through information campaigns and training courses, so that they themselves can protect and manage the mangrove forest in the long term.

The Support Group funded the project and our contact person in the Philippines, the retired Swiss Consulate Jürg Casserini, agreed to monitor the project progress on site as he already successfully carried out two projects with YES-Move on behalf of the Swiss Embassy in the past.

In February 2015, after the end of the rainy season, the project got underway. The areas to be planted were selected in collaboration with village communities and then the volunteers began their work. Meanwhile, they planted 94,500 mangrove seedlings, conducted training sessions and installed 14 information boards. Having taken root, the mangroves can now start to grow into strong trees!



School Garden Project in Ecuador

In 2010 the NGO Cielo Azul initiated the "school garden" pilot project in the community of Cambugán in the highlands of Ecuador. The self-managed fruit orchards and vegetable gardens have been laid out according to ancestral knowledge, using old, Andean technics like terraces to strengthen the cultural identity and preserve the quality of the soil by organic agriculture. The students have helped to plant local crops of the Andean region like amaranth, passion fruit, blackberries, medical plants (mint, oregano) and tuber and root vegetables (potatoes, jícama) – all of which should help ensure a balanced diet for the students as well. The various topics related to gardening are discussed in class and then practically applied on the field.

The project enables the children to learn about the uses of the different plants. They share this knowledge with their parents who also help out on a volunteer basis y in the so-called mingas of the gardening project. The parents are particularly interested in further education on issues of crop cultivation, organic fertilizer etc.

The harvest of the school garden in Cambugán is now sufficient to provide for the student’s lunches three days a week. This is extremely important because our food aid allocation from the government has been cancelled. Any excess crops are distributed amongst the most financially disadvantaged families.

The project also includes the use of the composting toilets built ​​by Cielo Azul, as well as group learning about proper composting.

The Support Group financed seeds, seedlings and gardening tools for the plantation of three new school gardens in San Agustín de Cajas, Desaguadero and Eugenio Espejo. The first two communities could already reap the fruits of their work. The harvest in Eugenio Espejo was imminent at the time of writing and eagerly awaited by the students.

New School and Maternity Hospital in Timbou, Togo

The savanna region in the north of Togo is characterized by a dry, semi-arid climate similar to the Sahel. With water shortage and poor soil, the north is the poorest part of the country. In 2012, volunteer members of the Peace Corps who are based for 2 years in this region, submitted a project proposal to the Support Group for the construction of a new school building with 3 rooms in Timbou. Within a few months the construction works were completed and the new school building was ready to move in. In light of this good and very fruitful cooperation the Support Group decided to finance a second project in this area, the renovation of a maternity hospital.

A Peace Corps member had told us about the bad state of the maternity hospital in Timbou district that consisted basically of just one room, allowing not much privacy to the pregnant women giving birth (up to 4000 each year) and the HIV-positive and AIDS patients that are treated there as well. During its renovation parts of the old building were demolished to make rooms for windows and doors, new walls and a ceiling were installed and due to very efficient use of resources, the building is now also supplied with electricity and connected to a newly built water tower.

In March this year, our contact person Aaron wrote to us: "The past few weeks have been very productive for the project in Timbou. We have installed electricity and plumbing in the building. We have also begun painting the building.  This week, we will finish the final coat of paint and lay the tile for the delivery room. The women are already taking bets on who will be the first to deliver a baby in the new building."

The official opening of the maternity in May 2013 was celebrated with a big party: "The event included presentations from the Regional Director of Health, local beer, and inspections of the building by the community. I really wish I could communicate to you the appreciation the community feels for all your help.  As you can see, the community, especially the women, are so grateful for everything your committee has done. The maternity project caught national attention. Because of our renovation, the government is adding another building for the hospital that will add several more beds and they have selected Timbou as one of just two hospitals in the region to receive a sonogram machine!  The Director has also pledged to send more qualified personnel to our village. The point I want to make is that your committee not only provided a building but also the opportunity for my community to significantly increase their access to healthcare.  For this, we are forever grateful."