HEKS champions the cause of a more humane and just world and a life in dignity. Internationally, HEKS/EPER focuses on rural community development, humanitarian aid and church cooperation. In Switzerland, HEKS/EPER champions the rights and the integration of refugees and socially disadvantaged people.
Swiss Church Aid
HEKS was founded in 1946 by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC). As the aid organization of the Swiss Protestant Churches, the dignity of every human being is central to the commitment of HEKS/EPER, in accordance with gospel of Christian love. This respect for human dignity also finds expression in the universal human rights. All human beings should be able to lead a life in dignity and in social, economic and political security.
Internationally, HEKS/EPER focuses on rural community development, humanitarian aid and inter-church cooperation: HEKS/EPER combats the causes of hunger, poverty and injustice through its focus on access to land, it provides emergency aid following natural disasters and armed conflicts and supports the welfare and social work of the Reformed Churches in Eastern Europe. HEKS/EPER is active in more than 30 countries with more than 200 projects around the world. HEKS/EPER runs its own Coordination Offices in 17 primary-focus regions.
Never before have there been so many people worldwide fleeing violent conflicts, natural disasters and the lack of a livelihood. Most of them are internally displaced people or people seeking protection in a neighbouring country. Only a small portion of them make it to Europe or even to Switzerland, often via dangerous routes. Many refugees who have arrived in Switzerland will not be able to return to their country of origin over the medium-to-long term. HEKS/EPER assists these people in becoming socially included and champions their causes at the socio-political level.
HEKS/EPER works in accordance with the principle of help for self-help: It gears its support towards the resources and needs of the people concerned and implements projects jointly with them. HEKS/EPER staff are in constant dialogue with beneficiaries, partner organizations, sponsoring institutions, donors and cantonal reformed churches. HEKS/EPER works with local partner organizations abroad. HEKS/EPER employs local staff in its Coordination Offices.
Based on the dignity every human being, the HEKS/EPER core values are: justice, self-determination, solidarity, help without ethnic, social, religious or other barriers, responsibility, participation, closeness to people and effective action. These values should be perceptible in all spheres: in programmes and projects, in fundraising and communication as well as in dealings with employees and partners.
The trust of our donors, our clients, partner organisations and all those who engage with and for us is critically important to us. Ethical and moral values are therefore the bedrock of our work. The ZEWO Quality Label attests that HEKS/EPER utilises the funds entrusted to it economically, effectively and for the intended purposes. Besides, HEKS/EPER provides an external whistleblowing platform through which its staff or third parties (e.g. clients or subcontractors) can report wrongdoing or breaches of the Code of Conduct or the Field Financial Guidelines. In this way, HEKS/EPER remains accountable to donors, churches, staffers and beneficiaries.
Transparency is indispensable to responsible and effective action. HEKS has laid out its principles in this regard in its own Transparency Code. On the one hand, the Code constitutes action guidelines for HEKS/EPER personnel and, on the other, it informs the public about how HEKS/EPER understands transparency. HEKS/EPER reviews compliance with the guidelines in an annual Transparency Report.