Regional Arts and Culture Programme (RACP)

Project completed

The regional arts and culture programme contributes to strengthening the capacity of art organisations to exchange and share expertise, resources, and artistic contents across the countries of the region. It further supports artists to reach out to new audiences with their art products. It explores through established organisations how artistic expressions that are rooted in the creative work can bring fresh perspectives and contribute to development endeavours.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Culture / development awareness
Climate change and environment
Culture & recreation
Environmental policy
Reproductive health & rights
01.01.2015 - 31.12.2017
CHF  1’545’000

In most countries of the southern African region, arts and culture takes place within a context of limited financial support, lack of infrastructure and insufficient opportunities for exposure to audiences. At the same time there has been a growth of active civil society organisations that are developing capacities on a range of issues including improvement of art technical skills, art management advocacy on art policies and harnessing the potential of artistic expression. The lack of support makes it difficult for them to network, travel across the region and increase their outreach. Income-generation is extremely vulnerable. The professional arts remain a relatively small sector, however one that plays an important role in wider processes of societal development.


Innovative arts and culture activities increase interactions between artists and wider audiences to a meaningful cultural offer that contributes to social, economic and cultural goals in the southern African region.

Target groups
  • Regional art organisaitons and instituions
  • Individual artists
  • Communities where projects will be staged
  • Audiences across the SADC region:

special attention will be given to have activities in under resourced urban and rural areas


Medium-term outcomes
  • Artistic expression and cultural activities that are transformative in nature, and can be effectively used as catalysts for positive social change, are generated and disseminated.
  • Cultural organisations and individual artists supported to collaborate in order to increase exposure enhance knowhow, knowledge and skills transfer.
  • Increased circulation of work to new audiences across the region, deploying innovative methods, and producing greater visibility for the cultural sector.



Expected results:  

  • Exhibit and perform new artistic works on waste recycling
  • At least 80 individuals and organisations generate new artistic works (performances, exhibitions, public art)
  • At least 40 collaborative projects and residencies 
  • At least 75 participants in structured art skills exchange/knowledge transfer projects
  • At least 60% of principal artists engaged in collaborations are below the age of 35, and at least 50% are women


Results from previous phases:  

After six phases, the Pro Helvetia Arts and Culture programme is concluded with the following results:

  • More than 300 artists supported in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to expose their work in platforms across borders leading to a richer cultural offer and an improvement of artists incomes.
  • 24 arts managers, 5 theatre directors and 80 performing artists were upskilled in different art management in Zimbabwe. Efforts are underway to institutionalize this training through the accreditation by the University of Zimbabwe.
  • A series of master classes on the creative, professional and curatorial dimensions of photographic practice with approximately 15 young South African and Zimbabwean photographers.
  • Support of seven organisations involved in the development of network-based projects for skills and knowledge transfer, policy dialogue and the circulation of creative work across the SADC region.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Pro Helvetia

Other partners
  • Pro Helvetia
  • Drama for Life
  • Capital Cities Institutional Research Theme


Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Private sector entities
  • Research Institutions and Drama Schools in Universities
  • SDC partners of HIV and AIDS programmes
  • Pro Helvetia –Swiss mandate
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’545’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’318’294
Project phases Phase 2 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2017   (Completed)