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Course on NGOs


I received my higher education at the University of Geneva, in history and pedagogics. I worked at that time in Geneva, Switzerland for seven years as a teacher in secondary schools and received a live long tenure appointment.

From 1980 to 1990 I lived in Managua where I coordinated the SAH programme (a Swiss trade unions based NGO) and worked in several adult education programmes in rural areas and women promotion. I specialized in the preparation of printed teaching materials for recently alphabetized adults and I published on that subject in Spanish a handbook taken from my experience in Nicaragua and Honduras as well as numerous pamphlets. Sharing with so many people in the Nicaragua of the 1980 the hope for a better world as been for me an irreplaceable experience.

From 1991 to 1995 I lived in La Paz, Bolivia where I coordinated a SDC programme (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) aimed to support Bolivian national NGOs in the fields of rural development, urban micro credit and education reform among others.

I was called in 1995 to Berne, Switzerland to head the SDC departement in charge of relations with Swiss NGOs. 

During my stay in Switzerland, I followed through distance online education an extensive programme of training on online teaching at the UCLA (University of California). I also conducted a seminar on the role of NGOs in international cooperation at the IUED (Graduate Institute for Development Studies) in Geneva, and coordinated two online courses on the same issue, which are presented on this website.

From 2000 to 2005 I lived in Havana, Cuba where I started a SDC cooperation programme, centered on local development, knowledge sharing, culture and sustainable economical projects.

From 2006 to 2009, I have been working with SDC in Berne and Geneva on partners training, information and communication technologies, knowledge sharing and culture issues.

From 2009 to 2013 I was secretary general of the Fédération genevoise de coopération in Geneva. I retired by end 2013.

From the early 1990ies on, I have been interested in the possible use and impact of the new information and communication technologies on adults training, on sustainable development and on citizen movements, and in an users friendly approach to the new digital media. I am an sympathiser of the open source approach, because I believe in collaborative work for creating common goods.

■ In two of my three major assignements in international cooperation, I am quite proud to have left in charge of the task very suited local staff without any other expat comming in from abroad to pursue the job.

Olivier Berthoud

You can find some of my writings at:


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