Annette Boutellier
Our working principles

Together towards a future of self-determination

Working principles

Based on the dignity of every human being, HEKS/EPER works in accordance with the principle of help for self-help and gears its support towards the needs and resources of underprivileged people. HEKS/EPER is locally rooted both abroad and in Switzerland and maintains continuous dialogue with beneficiaries, partner organizations and donors.

Help for self-help

HEKS/EPER provides the underprivileged with help for self-help – irrespective of their religious or ethnic background. HEKS/EPER tailors its projects to suit the resources and needs of beneficiaries, with whom it implements them jointly. The goal is to empower beneficiaries to lead a life of dignity, on the basis of self-determination and autonomy.

Closeness to people

HEKS/EPER maintains its own Coordination Offices in the 16 priority countries and employs local staff. HEKS/EPER is locally anchored in Switzerland through its five Regional Offices and the Siège romande. HEKS/EPER is familiar with the life circumstances of disadvantaged people and is able to champion their causes in a direct and targeted manner. HEKS/EPER staff maintain constant dialogue with beneficiaries, partner organizations, institutional financial backers, donors and cantonal Reformed Churches.

Partner organizations and networks

HEKS/EPER collaborates with local church and civil society organizations and also holds government institutions to their word. In addition, HEKS/EPER is a member of selected domestic and international umbrella organizations, working groups and thematic associations. HEKS/EPER always accords central importance to the interests of beneficiaries. HEKS/EPER works in a solution-oriented manner and acts independently of positions held by public authorities or grassroots organizations.


The HEKS/EPER commitment is inspired by its church roots. Mindful of the dignity of every human being, we embrace the core values of justice, self-determination, solidarity, help without ethnic, social, religious or other barriers, responsibility, participation, closeness to people, and impact-oriented action. These values must be discernible in all spheres of activity – in programmes and projects, in fundraising and communication as well as in dealings with staff and partners.

Rights-based approach

HEKS/EPER is guided by internationally applicable human rights standards, in particular as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and in the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as that on Civil and Political Rights. HEKS/EPER strives to ensure that all people enjoy the same opportunities for equal access to economic, social, cultural and political life.


Transparency is a key requirement for responsible and effective action. In this regard, HEKS/EPER has laid out its principles in a Transparency Code and reviews its compliance of them each year. HEKS/EPER is accountable to a range of stakeholders, namely donors, partner organizations and beneficiaries, as well as to contracting entities under whose mandates HEKS/EPER implements projects.

Impact orientation

Through its projects HEKS/EPER strives to achieve the greatest possible impact for the good of beneficiaries, and systematically assesses the outcomes of its work. An impact-oriented approach not only ensures accountability to stakeholders but also helps HEKS/EPER optimize its work. As a learning organization, HEKS/EPER utilizes and fosters the knowhow of its staff, it is open to criticism and change, and faces up to challenges.

HEKS Rechtsberatungen
HEKS/EPER International Division
Institutional Governance

To ensure the projects’ quality, effectiveness and progress, HEKS/EPER International Division established clear strategies, polices, guidelines and management procedures. Being accountable to donors as to project participants, HEKS/EPER publishes its results, learnings and how steering decisions are taken.


In its activities HEKS/EPER adheres to the specifications of the Zewo quality label and thereby fulfils its responsibility towards donors, churches, staff and beneficiaries. The Zewo seal of approval distinguishes non-profit organizations that utilize donations economically, effectively and for their designated purpose.