Over the past year, HEKS/EPER worked on a new Strategy for the years 2023 to 2027, setting key priorities in the process. The resulting document does not lay out a detailed plan of future activities, but rather describes the environment that will enable HEKS/EPER to deal with future developments and challenges. The Strategy lays the groundwork for the systematic implementation of our vision of a just world in which the dignity of everyone is respected, peace prevails and the natural environment is preserved.
Transformation as the guiding principle
If life circumstances are to be sustainably improved in Switzerland and around the world, there will have to be systemic change at the social, economic and political levels. HEKS/EPER is expediting this change by helping people to claim their rights and, to that end, raising awareness and mobilizing society, lawmakers, business and churches. We harness the synergies that flow from associating programme and policy work in Switzerland and abroad.
If the organization is to drive changes in the world, it must also itself undergo change. We are engaged in a constant process of transformation, both in terms of our thinking and culture, and at the level of processes and structures — invariably with the aim of enhancing the impact and efficacy of our work.
The strategic aims of HEKS/EPER
The HEKS/EPER-Strategy 2023-2027 does not purport to be a detailed plan of our future activities. Instead, it is more about creating framework conditions for the organization, which enable it to cope with a broad range of possible developments and challenges.
Activities in the years ahead will revolve around the four thematic priorities of the "Right to land and food", "Climate justice", "Flight and migration", and "Inclusion". In this way, the experiences from projects and programmes in around 30 countries and in Switzerland will feed into our social policy work.
We will thus make major contributions from small beginnings so as to benefit the people concerned, thereby gradually realizing our vision in the various local, regional, national or international settings. True to our motto: big changes start small.
The consequences of the climate crisis are being felt ever more distinctly around the world: heavy rainfall, flooding, extreme drought, melting glaciers and low-lying coasts disappearing into the sea. While the industrialised nations are the ones mainly responsible for global warming, it is mainly the people in poor countries south of the equator who suffer the consequences. This is what motivates HEKS/EPER and its partner organizations to militate for greater climate justice.
Enough food is produced overall to feed the entire world population. Yet more than 960 million people are experiencing hunger around the world. Through its programme work, HEKS/EPER therefore strives to ensure that peasant farmers, pastoralist families and traditional communities such as indigenous peoples have control over land, water and seeds.
Since its founding in 1946, the work of HEKS/EPER has been shaped by advocacy on behalf of refugees and displaced persons. In Switzerland today, HEKS/EPER provides legal representation and advice to refugees and asylum seekers and, through various integration projects, promotes migrant participation in social life on an equal basis.
Social inequality is growing worse around the world and in Switzerland. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend. Not only must underprivileged people grapple with financial woes, they are often also stigmatised and socially marginalised.