Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is a strategic hub hosting a large number of international organizations and companies. Thanks to its situation, it is an ideal place to reach millions of people traveling to South-East Asia and around the world.

OUR WORK

Friends-International Switzerland (FIS) opened in Geneva in 2014 and established itself as leader of the ChildSafe Movement in Switzerland and Europe. Friends-International Switzerland promotes ChildSafe advocacy campaigns to spread the word about the issues faced by children in developing countries and the solutions that tourists can take part in while traveling or volunteering.

FIS raises awareness about the negative impact of the behaviors of citizens, travelers and donors on children and provides tools to actively protect them.

 

CHANGE ORGANIZATIONS’S PRACTICES

  • In the tourism industry, FIS encourages travel agencies and volunteer placement agencies to remove activities that could potentially harm children – such as orphanage or school visits – and to replace them with responsible initiatives.
  • FIS works with universities and schools to help them promote responsible volunteering programs and to stop encouraging their students to volunteer in orphanages.
  • FIS informs institutional and private donors and invites them to shift their support from institutional care to family support.

CHANGE PEOPLE’S BEHAVIORS

  • FIS encourages tourists and voluntourists to think about the impact of their behavior while traveling by giving them the tools to really have a positive impact on children.
  • FIS trains high school and university students about these issues to allow them to become active change makers and to get involved through responsible volunteering.
  • FIS raises awareness of private donors about the importance of supporting projects that keep families together rather than orphanages that tear families apart.
  • FIS informs citizens about the issues faced by children in Switzerland and Europe to allow them to play an active role in protecting children.

SUPPORT FRIENDS-INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES ON THE FIELD

  • FIS brings its technical support and expertise to the teams based in South-East Asia
  • FIS raises funds to support activities directly helping children, youth, their families and communities.

QUICK FACTS

In 2015:

  • 4,000 people learned about the ChildSafe 7 Tips for Travelers
  • 431,446 people were reached by ChildSafe campaigns through media coverage
  • 100 professionals from the tourism industry were made aware of child protection issues
  • 50 major donors were made aware of issues linked to the orphanage industry and encouraged to support families

Contact details:

3 rue Gourgas

1205 Genève

info@friends-international.ch

Resources:

  • Friends-International Switzerland Annual Report 2014
  • Friends-International Switzerland Annual Report 2015

OUR TEAM

 

The core team

Director : Emmanuelle Werner

Emmanuelle worked in the child protection field in Guatemala, she was part of the team that founded Human Rights Watch in Geneva and led a program aiming at preventing child abandonment and at developing advocacy campaigns raising awareness towards tourists about orphanage tourism for Friends-International in Cambodia. Emmanuelle published her first book, Au-delà des Cerfs-Volants, a reflection on her 3 years spent in Beijing.

Project manager: Amanda Senger

Amanda studied human sciences and international development and has a strong interest for responsible tourism through her research. She is happy to be able to contribute to the protection of children from Geneva by promoting the ChildSafe Movement in Europe. Always seeking new experiences, Amanda spent 3 months in Namibia and is delighted to discover the wonders of Asia.

 

The committee

Michel Regueiro (President)

Fabien Gillioz (Secretary)

Christophe Barman (Treasurer)

Huda Bakhet Dawance

Sébastien Marot