Mali | © Tanja Demarmels

Our Vision and Mission

We are committed to bringing about real change for disadvantaged people in about thirty countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
© Tanja Demarmels

About us

Helvetas is committed to a just world in which all men and women determine the course of their lives in dignity and security, using environmental resources in a sustainable manner. Helvetas is an independent organization for development based in Switzerland with affiliated organizations in Germany and the United States. Helvetas supports poor and disadvantaged women, men and communities in about thirty developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Together with our partners Helvetas tackles the global challenges at various levels: with projects on the ground, with expert advice and by advocating for conducive framework conditions benefiting the poor. This triple commitment is empowering people and transforming lives. Helvetas follows a multi-stakeholder approach by linking civil society actors, governments and private sector.

Helvetas is active in five working areas: water and infrastructure, skills development and education, sustainable and inclusive economies, governance and peace and environment and climate change. Helvetas engages in emergency relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. In addition to rural areas, Helvetas is increasingly involved in urban development and is focusing its work on young women and men.

In Switzerland, Helvetas promotes solidarity and participates in the dialogue on development policy. With its own Fairshop, the organization is also committed to fair trade.

Our vision

Our vision is of a just world in which all men and women determine the course of their lives in dignity and security, using environmental resources in a sustainable manner.

Our mission

  • We support poor and disadvantaged women, men and communities in developing and transition countries in their efforts to improve their living conditions.
  • Through development cooperation, we support women and men in improving their livelihoods themselves in a sustainable manner.
  • We promote equitable access to the resources and services necessary for life and thus contribute to overcoming the root causes of poverty.
  • We uphold the protection and promotion of social, economic, political, environmental and cultural rights and responsibilities, and seek to ensure their practical implementation.
  • We support our partners in engaging in development policy issues.
  • We advocate for a coherent Swiss foreign and economic policy, responsive to the needs of men and women in developing and transition countries.
  • We accompany and support our partners on a long-term basis.

Our fundamental values

  • Our engagement is based on solidarity and partnership.
  • We work towards achieving human rights and upholding the principle of self-determined development.
  • We are committed to social equity and strive for equal opportunities for men and women regardless of age, origin, language, religion, culture or political convictions.
  • Our collaboration with our partners is based on mutual respect for cultural values and principles.
  • We stand for development that balances economic viability, environmental appropriateness and social benefits.
«For the first time in human history, overcoming poverty as a destiny is within reach. Faced with growing inequalities, we must unite forces to create pathways into a self-determinded life for today’s global youth.»

Melchior Lengsfeld, Executive Director of Helvetas

Our working principles

  • We work in partnership, on the basis of shared values, and strengthen the autonomy of our partners.
  • We strive for innovation and sustainability in our programmes.
  • We actively engage in development policy dialogue seeking to influence international regulatory frameworks towards being more just and responsive to the demands of developing countries.
  • We work with civil society organisations, private sector and government actors and promote exchange among them at local, national and international levels.
  • We take into account the local context. In fragile situations, we engage in conflict prevention and management.
  • We foster intercultural dialogue, the exchange of experiences and knowledge and thus learn for our future work.
  • We uphold good governance and democratic accountability, including the fight against corruption.
  • We work in an outcome-oriented and efficient manner. As a learning organisation, we systematically monitor the results and impacts of our programmes and projects.
  • We are committed to transparency and accountability towards our partners and stakeholders. We foster open internal and external communication.
  • We support the professional and personal development of our personnel.

Our Working Principles and Impact

We strive for a fairer world in which everyone can fulfill their basic needs. We support people in taking charge of improving their livelihoods sustainably.
© S. Opladen / Helvetas
Helvetas - a partner for true change
Family Chakma experiences true change
Thanks to their tree nursery, a family in Bangladesh has left poverty and deprivation behind. Surjaa Rani Chakma, the eldest daughter, is going to college – something her grandmother and parents would never have dreamed of for themselves.
© S. Opladen / Helvetas