Overview of actors

Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit

The Humanitarian Aid Department and its Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) are part of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)

The SHA contributes to the preservation of endangered human life and the alleviation of suffering through preventive and emergency measures; it is intended in particular for the vulnerable populations affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts, often encountered in contexts of fragility and protracted crisis.

Focusing on the following sustainable development goals (SDGs)

No Poverty
Zero Hunger
Good Health and Well-being
Quality Education
Gender Equality
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Climate Action
Partnerships to achieve the Goals

How we work

The SHA is a corps of around 550 people who are on call in time of need. Most of the specialists are requested to carry out Switzerland’s humanitarian aid projects abroad; others are seconded to UN agencies and other partner organisations, which benefit from their experience and expertise. The specialists are divided into expert groups and sent to the field, where they run preventive actions or provide support to people affected by conflict or natural disaster. Swiss Humanitarian Aid places the victims at the centre of its engagement in a spirit of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. It advocates specifically for unlimited access to population groups in need, and for their protection.

... and why

Switzerland’s humanitarian intervention is based on the Federal Act of 1976 on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and on the Swiss International Cooperation Strategy 2021-2024. According to the United Nations, there are more than 360 million people relying on humanitarian assistance worldwide (Global Humanitarian Overview 2023, Snapshot as of 31 October 2023). SHA aims to ensure the sustainability of its commitment on the ground through linking emergency aid with mid- and long-term programmes.

Career opportunities

Seeking candidates mainly in

Agriculture and Forestry
Education and Training
Environment and Disaster Risk Management
Health and Nutrition
Human Rights, Law and Governance
Monitoring and Evaluation
Political Affairs and Peacekeeping
Security and Safety
Supply Chain Management

SHA members are active in numerous countries around the globe. The length and type of mission varies according to the context. In some cases, SHA members work with local staff to carry out projects lasting from six months up to three years. In others, they are mobilised quickly and deployed for a few weeks following a major natural disaster or a conflict situation. If you want to put your skills at the use of Switzerland’s humanitarian aid, the SHA can offer you a rewarding work experience under attractive conditions and hands-on training to be ready for mission.

Opportunities offered

Internships for students no
Traineeships/Talent programs for graduates no
Positions/programs for young professionals no
Staff positions for professionals yes
Senior or management positions yes
Consultancy opportunities no


The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit offers interesting options for humanitarian newcomers. Experienced professionals with little or no experience abroad who meet the general requirements for admission can undertake a first so called “twinning-mission” with an experienced coach. More information can be found on the website.

See current vacancies on cinfoPoste

Type of organisation


Field(s) of activity

Humanitarian Aid


Bern, Switzerland

Region(s) of operation

Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Middle East and Northern Africa
South/East Asia and Pacific
Sub-Saharan Africa
Western and Central Europe

Number of employees

In Switzerland:

Outside Switzerland:
Between 200 and 1000

Learn more

Visit our website