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, with whom it works. HEKS/EPER is locally rooted both abroad and in Switzerland and maintains continuous dialogue with the people for and with whom it implements projects, with partner organizations and with 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 people, with whom it implements them jointly. The goal is to empower the people with and on whose behalf HEKS/EPER works to lead a life in dignity, autonomy and without dependence on outside help.

Closeness to people

HEKS/EPER maintains its own Coordination Offices in 16 priority countries and employs predominantly local staff. HEKS/EPER is locally anchored in Switzerland through its six Business Offices in German-speaking and Western Switzerland. HEKS/EPER is familiar with the life situation of disadvantaged people and is able to champion their causes in a direct and targeted manner. HEKS/EPER staff are in constant dialogue with project participants, partner organizations, institutional sponsors, donors and cantonal Reformed Churches.

Partner organizations and networks

HEKS/EPER collaborates closely with church and civil society organizations and also holds government institutions to their word. Partner organizations abroad are versed in the particular subject concerned and are deeply embedded in the economic, social and political fabric of the respective country. In pursuing the respective project goals, partners thus bring with them the requisite expertise as well as potential solutions that are adapted to the real situation.  Besides, HEKS/EPER is a member of selected domestic and international umbrella associations, working groups and thematic associations. The interests of the people for and with whom HEKS/EPER implements projects are invariably of pivotal importance to it. HEKS/EPER works in a solution-oriented manner and acts independently of the positions held by authorities or grassroots organizations.


The HEKS/EPER commitment is inspired by its church roots. Based on the dignity of every human being, the following values are of central importance: justice, self-determination, solidarity, help without ethnic, social, religious or other barriers, responsibility, participation, closeness to people and impact-oriented action. These values should be discernible in all spheres: in programmes and projects, in fundraising and communication and 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 two UN Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and 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 project participants as well as 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 underprivileged people, 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 new challenges.

HEKS Rechtsberatungen
HEKS/EPER Global Cooperation Division
Institutional Governance

To ensure the projects’ quality, effectiveness and progress, HEKS/EPER Global Cooperation 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.


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