Code of Conduct

1. Introduction

DAHW’s vision is a world in which no one has to suffer from leprosy, tuberculosis and other diseases which in association with poverty and its consequences could lead to disability and exclusion. We put people at the heart of our work and are committed to helping them live a healthy life with dignity.

Since its inception in the year 1957, DAHW is entrusted with funds from individual donors, sponsors and by grant-giving agencies to support its work in hundreds of projects in many countries worldwide. It is therefore particularly important for DAHW to demonstrate its accountability to all stakeholders and at the same time, maintain its reputation for professional work, integrity and respectful attitude towards beneficiaries, partners and donors.

All DAHW staff and official office bearers (e.g. members of the executive board and supervisory board) are aware that their actions and behavior may impact DAHW’s reputation. As a consequence, DAHW has formulated a Code of Conduct as a central guideline and reference to all staff and officials to support them in their work and in their day-to-day decision making process.

It is expected that the officials and employees of DAHW commit themselves to the code publicly by signing it at the time of recruitment/election. This Code of Conduct for the staff of DAHW is based on the approved vision, values, constitution and guiding principles of DAHW which have been approved by the Board in March 2016.

The Code of Conduct forms part of all DAHW’s policies, and must be included with all country-specific staff rules and regulations that are issued.

2. Scope of the document

The Code of Conduct applies to all staff who work on behalf of DAHW, regardless of location and type of contract. In this context, ‘staff’ includes employees both in Germany and abroad, members of executive board and supervisory board, project partners, consultants executing short- or long-term assignments, trainees and volunteers.

The Code applies to all officials and staff, during their official working hours and for the whole duration of their official assignment irrespective of the location.

3. Guiding principles of DAHW[1]

As the officials and staff of DAHW:

  1. We feel obliged to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. We support and cooperate with people regardless of their ethnic, national and social origin, their religious and political beliefs, their sexual identity and orientation, age, gender and disabilities as well as status.
  3. We undertake to be politically non-partisan and non-sectarian in our work.
  4. We work closely with the target groups and their organizations, and align our projects to their needs, potentials and priorities. Our specific focus lies on a privileged approach for disadvantaged and marginalized population groups.
  5. Commit to mutual respect and transparency, which forms the basis for “accountability and shared responsibility”.
  6. We align our interventions to (inter-) national policies and priorities.
  7. Our main references of work are ILEP and the WHO strategies; our specific focus is on support to affected people/communities and complementary contributions to national NTD, leprosy, TB or inclusion programs.
  8. We endeavor to avoid duplications and actively search (strategic) partnerships and synergies.
  9. We adhere to the subsidiarity principle and perform only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.
  10. We focus on empowerment at individual, community and national level.
  11. Our orientation is towards impact and effectiveness at beneficiary level.
  12. We pursue cost-effectiveness and efficiency through flexibility in approaching set objectives and outputs.
  13. Sustainability for us encompasses economic and environmental sustainability, political support, socio-cultural adequacy, technological appropriateness & institutional capacity.

4. Beneficiaries

  1. We recognise our beneficiaries as dignified human beings and as partners in development. Our activities and interaction will uphold and adhere to basic human rights protection and not contribute to violating them.
  2. Special attention will be given to protection of child rights and protection of the rights of vulnerable groups such as: women, indigenous people and people with disabilities.

5. Staff

5.1. Equal opportunity and affirmative policy

  1. In the selection and advancement of all applicants and employees within the organisation, we treat everyone with equal fairness and provide opportunity without bias due to ethnic, national and social origin, their religious and political beliefs, their sexual identity and orientation, age, gender and disabilities as well as status.
  2. We never engage in economical exploitation of persons whom we employ in our office or domestic settings while on DAHW’s assignment. The salaries and benefits paid (also refer National regulations e.g. minimum wages) should be such that the employee is able to make a decent and dignified living out of it.
  3. Where necessary, we take affirmative action and make reasonable accommodation against barriers of equal opportunities and unlawful discrimination.

5.2. Work conduct

  1. We treat each other with respect and consideration, mindful of individual differences, cultural and ethnic diversity.
  2. We communicate and consult with each other openly and collegially and in a manner that assists each of us to fulfil our duties and responsibilities faithfully and efficiently.
  3. We respect the privacy and private lives of our colleagues when dealing with personal information.
  4. When the professional relationship between colleagues is considerably affected, we initiate mediatory and/or supervisory processes.
  5. While adhering to internationally recognised rules and guidelines, staff should also bear in mind that each country has its own laws and standards of acceptable conduct (incl. dress, manners, morals, behaviour and politics).
  6. Unauthorized use, possession, sale and distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs on DAHW premises are prohibited. Likewise, being under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs while working is prohibited.
  7. Under no circumstances are we in unauthorized possession of or handle weapons, explosives or ammunition.
  8. In times of conflict, war and emergency situation, we show an utmost prudence to safeguard our safety and security.
  9. We are aware that projects are supported through public and private funding and therefore ensure correct use, spending and sound accountability and transparency.
  10. In consistence with the privacy act, we commit ourselves to handling the personal data of donors with utmost care and responsibility.

5.3. Post-Employment

We will not act in such a manner as to take improper advantage of our official functions and positions, including privileged information obtained from such functions and positions, when seeking employment or appointment after leaving our service with DAHW.

6. Sexual Behavior

We will never:

  1. abuse our position to either withhold assistance or give preferential treatment in order to solicit sexual favours.
  2. engage in sexual exploitation or abuse of any persons. This includes for example, sexual relationships when the relationship is based on unequal power dynamics inherently.
  3. engage in any sexual relationship with children (persons under the age of 18) regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of the child is not a defense. For all matters concerning children, kindly refer to DAHW’s child protection policy.

7. Media Relations

  1. In our information, communication, publicity and advertising activities, we follow the guidelines provided in ILEP’s policy for the use of language, photographs and imagery[2] and the VENRO code for Development related Public Relations work[3].
  2. Publication of stories and images are done only after seeking the consent of the concerned individual.
  3. When using social media, we follow the digital media policy of DAHW[4].

8. Accountability and prevention of fraud and corruption

Corruption exists in different forms in all cultural contexts. It can take the form of misappropriation of funds, gaining of financial profits, nepotism to bribery and exchange of gifts and favors for private gains. DAHW is committed to ensure the correct and transparent use of funds entrusted to it by taking a stance against corruption and all its forms as articulated in its anti-corruption guideline and in the internal revision[6].

DAHW’s internal complaints management[7] enables its staff, consultants, volunteers and contractors to raise legitimate complaints about corruption, violation of DAHW’s Code of Conduct or any malicious acts or fraud, without fear of recrimination.

As a humanitarian and development NGO, DAHW and its officials and staff are committed to principled, accountable and quality service delivery in accordance with national and international standards (VENRO, DZI, CHS and Sphere standards, The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement).

DAHW has issued a set of guidelines[8] for finance, administration, proper accounting, logistics, travels, stock management, procurement, personnel and partner projects to assure the proper management of accounts, funds and assets in a transparent way and to prevent fraud and corruption.

9. Environmental sustainability

  1. We commit ourselves to conducting programs and development activities in an environmentally sustainable way.
  2. All our program interventions and their results cause no damage to the environment in any way and strive for environmental protection and restoration.

10. Implementation

  1. Copies of the Code of Conduct are provided to each staff member, members of the executive board and supervisory board and will be published on our website.
  2. The Code is annexed to all contracts of employment and assignments.
  3. The Code of Conduct is explained to all staff and each staff member is required to sign an acknowledgement of their intent to comply with the Code.
  4. At national and regional level, the head of program or regional representative is responsible for ensuring the application of the provision of the Code.
  5. There is an annual review of compliance with the Code and evaluation of its impact. The review is integrated in the annual action plan.

The Code is designed to act as a guideline, but does not cover every possible situation staff may face. Any situation in which staff members may be in doubt about issues covered under the Code is to be discussed with the head of program or regional representative and needs to be brought to the notice of the CEO at the HQ.

The procedure for raising a concern about any perceived or actual breach of the Code of Conduct by DAHW staff is dealt with as outlined in DAHW’s Internal Complaints Management Mechanism[9].


Periodic (every 5 years) review of the Code of Conduct is convened by the CEO to proof the relevance of the Code. Amendments to the Code will be discussed and must be approved by DAHW CEO and the official Boards of DAHW.

Functional Area:Human Resources and Organizational Development
Approved By:CEO/Board of Directors/Supervisory Board, 2017
Date of next Review:five years from approval date
Language:English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese
Applicable to:All staff (Germany and Abroad), Members of the Executive board and Supervisory board, Project partners, Consultants, Trainees and Volunteers
Related Policies:DAHW Internal complaints Management Mechanism; Guidelines for the fight against and prevention of corruption, conflicts of interest, and fraud in the context of the DAHW work; Guideline for Corporate Collaboration; Social Media Guideline; Bye-laws of Internal Procedures for Internal Revision of DAHW; DAHW Project Management Handbook; Child Protection Policy

[1]Guiding principles of DAHW are based on the “Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness” and the quality criteria set forth by the Donor Assistance Committee (DAC)
[2] Siehe
[3] Siehe
[4] Siehe Digital Media Policy der DAHW
[5] Siehe Leitlinien zur Bekämpfung von Korruption, Interessenskonflikten und Betrug in der Arbeit der DAHW
[6] Siehe Geschäftsordnung Interne Revision der DAHW
[7] Siehe Internes Beschwerde-Management der DAHW
[8] DAHW Project Management Handbook (Working Title)
[9] Siehe Internes Beschwerde-Management der DAHW