About us

Vision and Mission

Inspired by our founder Karlheinz Böhm, our vision is a world in which the divide between rich and poor no longer exists. With Ethiopia as a model, we want to set an example by supporting the local population to create favourable conditions for their country in the future.

Menschen für Menschen Switzerland stands as a partner to the people of Ethiopia. Many Ethiopians still live in unfavourable conditions. Environmental degradation, population growth, increasing urbanisation, globalisation and climate change are impacting living conditions in shorter spaces of time. Moreover, as a result of dynamic economic development in Ethiopia, urban areas – particularly rural centres and towns – are becoming increasingly important. While this development can be associated with huge problems, it also offers opportunities for the Ethiopian people. We take account of the different livelihoods and economic interdependencies in our work. Our approach is not just selective; it takes place within a holistic context. Projects factor in and bolster the entire value-chain – starting from the food-producing farmers and agricultural cooperatives via the carriers, traders and craftsmen right to the person selling the product in the cities. By integrating the different focal points and economic activities we ensure that the development has a positive and sustainable impact.

We cater for basic human needs such as access to water, sanitation facilities and good basic health care. We improve the quality of education and training for children and young people. In the towns, destitute people gain the opportunity of vocational training, increasing their chances on the job market. We enable people to secure an independent livelihood in both rural and in urban areas. Menschen für Menschen Switzerland thus remains true to its guiding principle: helping people help themselves.

Our values

  • Humanity: Our projects are aimed at those in need, irrespective of religion, gender and ethnicity. We promote the development of a humane and just society.
  • Monitoring: We have an accurate overview of all the plans, progress and expenditures of our projects at all times. We are therefore capable of constantly controlling budgets and schedules and adjusting them as necessary.
  • Transparency: We provide information on the use of donations to our donors and the public. We use the donations entrusted to us prudently and have expenditure reviewed by an external auditor. We ensure that donations are used efficiently in the implementation of projects.
  • Measuring effects: We regularly evaluate projects with quantitative and qualitative methods. We immediately integrate the findings into ongoing projects and refer to them in future planning.
  • Further development: We consider ourselves to be a learning organisation. Our work is influenced both by our own experiences and constantly changing circumstances in the country. These changes are taken into account in our planning and implementation on an ongoing basis.
  • Partnership: We maintain close relations with our local partner organisations. Our work is characterised by mutual trust, transparency and common goals.

Our founder

“There is no first, second or third world.

We all live on the same planet for which we bear collective responsibility.”


Karlheinz Böhm (1928 – 2014)

Karlheinz Böhms lifeMilestones


Kelsang Kone

Managing Director

Claudio Capaul

Finance & Controlling

Michael Kesselring

Communication / Spokesperson

Noah Koller

Online Communication

Séverine Pellanda

Donor support

Getachew Zewdu

Country Representative Ethiopia

Dr. Martin Grunder

Project Coordinator

Bernd Hauser

Communication & Editorial staff


Your Donation

The guarantee to our donors
Our donors get absolute transparency at all times about how their funds are used. We guarantee this in all stages of our activities: From the use of specialised staff through the selection and control of partners to the evaluation of our work through independent bodies such as the Swiss certification body for charitable organisations ZEWO or the international auditing firm PricewhaterhouseCoopers.

Project Controlling
At the heart of our transparency, we guarantee an established strict system of controls, which begins with the selection of projects. Menschen für Menschen Switzerland generally only supports projects for which the planning, progress and costs can be checked at any time on the basis of defined indicators. Budgets and schedules are also constantly controlled and adapted as required. In order to guarantee the efficiency of the projects and the donations used for them, we remain in constant contact with local partners. A common goal, mutual trust and transparency are the hallmarks of Menschen für Menschen Switzerland’s collaboration with its partners. Our projects are normally planned over a reasonably short timeframe, to prevent dependency and enable the population to make the transition to self-sufficiency rapidly and smoothly.

To be able to monitor our activities, we have a country representative and project coordinator based in Ethiopia. They have decades of experience in development cooperation and maintain good relations with international and local organisations as well as with the Ethiopian authorities.

Cooperation with Partners
The Foundation Menschen für Menschen Switzerland is implementing its projects in Ethiopia primarily through strategic alliances with suitable partner organisations. The cooperation is based on detailed project proposals according to international standards and the principles of the foundation; our employees in Ethiopia are in constant contact with the partners. At least every three years the cooperation is evaluated by external experts.

External Control

  • External Auditing: The Foundation Menschen für Menschen Switzerland has its annual accounts audited by the independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in St. Gallen.
  • Federal Supervision of Foundations: The Swiss Federal Inspectorate in Berne, which is administered by the General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, controls every year that the foundation is used for its purposes.
  • ZEWO: The foundation Menschen für Menschen Switzerland is regularly checked by ZEWO, an independent specialist centre for charitable donations. Menschen für Menschen Switzerland has been ZEWO certified since 1999. The ZEWO seal of approval certifies that your donation arrives at the right place and is efficiently used for a good deed. It stands for:

Foundation ZEWO

  • effective, economic and purposeful use of resources
  • transparent information and meaningful financial reporting
  • independent and purposeful control structures
  • transparent communication and fair fundraising




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Menschen für Menschen Switzerland – flexible and efficient
Helping people help themselves in one of the poorest countries on earth – this simple but effective principle has been used by Menschen für Menschen Switzerland for the people of Ethiopia for over 30 years. In that time there has been a lot of progress, but a large number of the population still lives in poverty today.

In the last decades, Ethiopia has undergone some drastic changes. In a time of globalisation, the country faces new challenges. These new challenges also require a rethinking in development cooperation. Up until 2014, Menschen für Menschen Switzerland limited itself to integrated rural development. However, due to the rise in urbanisation, which has led to settlements of slums, the foundation changed its focus. Menschen für Menschen Switzerland is implementing new projects that interlink urban and rural spaces. In all the projects the goal is to overcome the most urgent problems sustainably while making the people independent from further help. Menschen für Menschen Switzerland sees itself as a partner of the Ethiopian people with an equal footing, helping to promote their own initiatives.

We plan, control and evaluate our projects ourselves. Only then can we ensure that our high requirements in transparency and efficiency are met, as we set out into a new future with the Ethiopian people.

The Foundation Menschen für Menschen Switzerland
Menschen für Menschen Switzerland was founded in 1989 by the Honorary President Rolf Knie together with Karlheinz Böhm. The foundation is headquartered in Zurich. The projects in Ethiopia are planned, implemented and controlled by the country representative and the programme coordinator in Ethiopia, in close collaboration with the head office in Zurich.

The Menschen für Menschen Switzerland Foundation has had the ZEWO seal of approval since 1999, which guarantees that donations are used responsibly. As a non-profit organisation, the Menschen für Menschen Switzerland Foundation is exempt from all taxes, including inheritance tax.

Karlheinz Böhm in Ethiopia in 2016

Managing Director
Kelsang Kone

Honorary President
Rolf Knie

Members of the Board
Boris Blaser – President
Erwin Birchler – Member of the Board
Otto Nussbaumer – Member of the Board
Sandra Lang – Member of the Board
Nora Teuwsen – Member of the Board

Auditing bodies
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, St. Gallen – auditing office
ZEWO, Zurich – seal of approval