Code of conduct for co-workers and employees of medico international e.V.

Purpose of the code of conduct

The purpose of the code of conduct is to promote the transparency, responsibility and action principles of the activities of medico international through voluntary and self-activating regulation, and to improve the quality of its work.

Purpose and functions of medico international

medico international works for the human right to the best possible access to health. In doing so, we support partners (primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America) in their endeavours to create the economic, social and cultural living conditions which allow each person to attain the highest health standard possible for them. In particular medico stands in solidarity with people in situations of emergency and poverty, including refugees and the victims of war.

Principles of the code of conduct

1. The work of medico international is partner-oriented

1.1. The focus of medico’s work is on the people we support: Our loyalty and responsibility are first and foremost to the people we are working with. We take their needs and rights as the basis of our support programmes.

1.2. Autonomy and ownership: The goal of our work is to enable our partners to solve their problems by themselves. We accordingly promote the development of autonomy and embrace people’s right to full participation in all decisions affecting one's own life.

1.3. Human rights: We are committed to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in accordance with international law.

1.4. Trust: We seek the trust of the partners we work with.

1.5. Participation and non-discrimination:  We strive to include our partners’ members in the conception, implementation and evaluation of projects and programmes to the fullest extent possible, regardless of their age and gender.

1.6. Respecting local culture and traditional knowledge:  We respect the dignity of the people we work with, and respect their culture, values and traditional knowledge. However, the commitment to respecting foreign culture does not mean that we tolerate and support actions which undermine the human rights of individuals or groups.

2. medico international works towards sustainable results

2.1. Effectiveness: The goal of our work is to permanently overcome destitution and disempowerment. We seek maximum effectiveness for our work, avoiding any form of waste in using resources.

2.2. Sustainability:  We seek sustainable results, with solutions that our partners can maintain independently and which match their long-term development goals.

2.3. Environmental protection:  We deal responsibly with the natural environment. We endeavour to maintain and care for existing ecosystems.

2.4. Monitoring and evaluation:  We try to monitor all our programmes as to the results they achieve. Generally, evaluations are available to private and institutional donors as well as any interested party. In particular, we are committed to making them available to partners.

3. medico international is committed to transparency and responsibility

3.1. Transparency:  We strive for maximum transparency in our internal procedures.

3.2. Responsibility:  We are committed to sound financial conduct in accordance with existing legislation and regulations. We are truthful and honest in all actions involving acquiring funds, applying for funds and using and accounting for funds. We ensure verifiable financial accounting and procurement procedures, as well as organisational procedures which ensure appropriate use of resources.

3.3. Accountability: We report on our goals and activities. We publish a financial and operational report, available to all on request, whose key statements can be read by anyone on our home page. We make use of every opportunity to inform the public of our work and the sources and uses of our resources.

4. medico international is committed to responsible internal organisation
4.1. Documentation: medico international’s goals, tasks and principles are clearly defined and documented in writing, as is its organisational structure.

4.2. Equal opportunity: Decisions on employment and promotion of co-workers are guided by the principle of equal opportunity for all.

4.3. Employment:  In our human resources policy we comply with current labour law and the principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). We offer jobs at appropriate salaries and match tasks with individual capabilities. Where terminations are unavoidable, we offer periods of notice which are adequate for both the co-worker and the organisation, and which are in compliance with prevailing labour law.

4.4. No conflicts of interest:  medico’s commercial dealings are free of personal and professional conflicts of interest. Board members are honorary positions, with no remuneration. Reimbursement of expenses is possible.

5.1. Veracity:  We are truthful and honest in all our professional activities.

5.2. Integrity:  We refrain from practices in both internal and external dealings which threaten the ethical integrity of our organisation. We are committed to banning and rejecting theft, corrupt methods, nepotism, bribery or dealing in illegal substances. We only accept donations and funding from sources whose goals correspond with our own goals and tasks, and which do not undermine our identity and independence.

5.3. Cost effectiveness:  We utilise the funds made available to us with the greatest possible cost effectiveness. We are committed to minimising waste and unnecessary costs, in order to pass on the resources entrusted to us to the greatest possible extent to those people who need them.

6. medico international is committed to preventing fraud within the organisation

6.1. Legislation and conduct:  All medico international co-workers are committed to complying with local rules and legislation. They are instructed to conduct themselves in such a way that no doubt arises concerning the illegality of corruption. Corruption may not be tolerated or supported. If a co-worker in contact with an outside party sees any risk of possible corruption, they are instructed to bring another colleague as a witness to all subsequent meetings.

6.2. Bribery:  Bribery and accepting bribes of any kind are prohibited. Bribery is defined as proffering an item or action designed to influence the decision of the person involved. Even the mere promise of such a gift counts as bribery, whether or not the item or service was given or performed directly or indirectly. This includes gifts to family members or friends of the decision maker, unless there is a legitimate reason for such a gift.

6.3. Documentation and duty to report: medico co-workers are obliged to avoid any kind of corruption and to document this. The organisation’s management must be notified immediately of any instances and concrete indications of corruption. For this purpose, it is not necessary to follow communication channels which were otherwise agreed upon. Co-workers discovering corruption are explicitly protected from adverse consequences from the organisation or other co-workers. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

6.4. Partner: It must be pointed out to partners in projects and agreements that medico does not accept any kind of corruption.

6.5. Dealing with partiality in decision making: All co-workers are required to consider when making decisions if there is any conflict between personal interests (or the interests of family or friends) and those of medico. If there is such a conflict of interest, the next level up in the hierarchy must be approached for advice. This level must then determine whether decision making authority should be transferred to another co-worker.

6.6. Shared responsibility:  All co-workers share responsibility for preventing corruption. All co-workers are accordingly called upon to notify management structures of procedures which could encourage corruption or make it possible and to submit suggestions for improvement.

7. medico international is committed to cultural diversity, justice, promotion of minorities and non-discrimination for social groups

7.1. Freedom:  In line with universal human rights, medico endeavours to maintain and promote free political and cultural development.

7.2. Equal opportunity:  We strive to maintain the principle of equality also in internal relationships. We specifically endeavour to integrate underprivileged and handicapped people and those of other marginal groups in our initiatives.

7.3. Gender:  We recognise and value the different attitudes, aspirations and needs of men and women. Both genders are equal in their rights and opportunities, in the context of achievements and duties.

7.4. Non-discrimination:  Neither human resources policy nor co-worker training may be guided by discriminatory purposes. It is intended to maintain a balanced ratio of genders in the organisation.

7.5. Promoting minorities:  We strive to protect and particularly promote minorities.

7.6. Child labour:  medico international is concerned to see that children who are known to be performing child labour get high quality training and education. Children and young persons below 18 should not be employed at night and in hazardous conditions.

International Labour Organisation:  medico international recognises the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

8. medico international is committed to capacity building and empowerment of local people and partners

8.1. Capacity building:  We take every opportunity to strengthen the skills and capacity of the local partners and people in the project countries. This begins with enabling partners to carry out their own needs analysis, define their priorities and plan effective action.

8.2. Advisory services:  We provide advisory services to our partners and also to local authorities, with the goal of sustainable development.

8.3. Sustainability: We help develop and coordinate projects with the goal of achieving sustainability, which requires that all activities can be taken over by the partners as quickly as possible.

8.4. Physical and technical resources:  Wherever possible, we give preference to local procurement of materials and technical resources over imports.

8.5. Appropriate technologies:  We encourage the use of locally adjusted technologies which the partners themselves own, and which they can also maintain.

This regulation came into force as a result of the decision of the Executive Board on 20 March 2006.

Thomas Gebauer, Executive Director

March 2006

Corruption Prevention

Guidelines for the work of medico international


Through its work, medico international fights for the human right to the best possible access to health. The working principles of mi include a partner-oriented approach, reliability, cause-driven work, a development orientation and the pursuit of maximum transparency.   
Accountability and transparency are the key prerequisites for the prevention of corruption. Since 1992 the German Central Institute for Social Issues (Deutsches Zentralinstitut für soziale Fragen or DZI) has acknowledged mi's compliance with applicable standards of accountability and transparency and its purposeful and effective use of resources.

These guidelines should serve a preventive function and identify risks in equal measure, while providing a course of action through clear instructions. Our credibility among partners, the target group and donors will thus be further strengthened.

1. Scope

The provisions of these guidelines apply, where not otherwise agreed individually, to:

  • staff in Germany, at overseas facilities and on overseas projects;   
  • German staff on partner projects as part of cooperation efforts with mi;  
  • members of the board;  
  • consultants and other professional persons who work for mi on a contractual or freelance basis.

Like the Code of Conduct, these guidelines are an integral part of full-time, contractual and freelance work agreements as well as partnership agreements and thus serve as a reference for corruption prevention. Violation of the guidelines can lead to immediate termination of contracts and cessation of cooperation.

2. Definition of corruption

For the purposes of these guidelines corruption is defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. This includes the offering, giving, requesting or accepting of gifts, loans, rewards, commissions or any other benefit to or from a third party as an incentive to do something within the scope of normal working relations that is dishonest, illegal or a breach of trust.  
Furthermore the misappropriation of project funds for purposes not agreed, nepotism (cronyism), patronage, the falsification of documents and so-called facilitation payments count as corruption according to the guidelines.  
The following crimes are, among others, instances of corruption: bribery, granting and accepting undue advantage, fraud and embezzlement, competition-restrictive agreements and money laundering.

3. Rules of conduct

The groups named in section one pledge to uphold the following rules:

  • Corruption in any form, whether direct or indirect, is prohibited. This includes the return of parts of a contractual payment (kickback), the use of other means or channels for illegal payments to contractors, suppliers, partners, their employees or public officials and the acceptance of bribes or kickbacks by or for the benefit of relatives.  
  • The payment of bribes or other incentives with the objective of ensuring or accelerating a regulatory process, for which a claim is pending, is not allowed.  
  • The offering or accepting of gifts, entertainment or reimbursement of expenses is prohibited insofar as they adversely affect competition and exceed the framework of sensible and reasonable expenses. The same applies to influencing decisions on project cooperation.

4. Requirements of mi

MI is committed to using the guidelines to combat corruption and is committed to avoiding perceivable conflicts of interest:

  • The Board makes the guidelines a matter of its policies, provides the necessary resources and actively supports management in the guidelines' implementation.  
  • Management ensures that staff in Germany, at overseas facilities and on overseas projects are familiar with and observe the business principles. Awareness of problems must be actively promoted.  
  • It should be clear that no employee will suffer a disadvantage from refusing to pay bribes or render bribery services.  
  • Staff are encouraged to report offences and concerns as early as possible. To this end, secure, accessible and confidential information channels are being put in place. The first stop for external incidents is the executive director and for internal incidents the chairperson of the board or his/her deputy (whistle-blowing).  
  • Particularly at the beginning of the first joint project, partner organisations are to be adequately informed concerning compliance with the principles. Medico reserves the right to repayment. Attention shall be paid to control structures at partner organizations. Solutions for foreseeable project financing gaps at partner organizations must be discussed before the start of projects. In the event of unforeseen financial shortfalls, it should be conveyed to partners that dialogue should be sought to search for appropriate solutions together.  
  • Violations of the rules by mi employees or partner organisations will be dealt with through disciplinary or contractual sanctions (warning, termination, cessation of cooperation, etc.).  
  • MI organizes its procurement practices fairly and transparently and complies with the guidelines when using public funds.  
  • Any indication of corruption will be investigated. Following an assessment of the validity of the allegation further investigatory procedures will be established. The decision-making will lie with an authority outside the investigation process which, when the office itself is affected, is to be selected by the board chairperson. The Board shall be promptly and fully informed in every case.

5. Queries

Queries can be directed to the executive director.

Frankfurt, 29 July 2008

Thomas Gebauer  
Executive Director

The ombudsperson

The ombudsperson – an independent contact person for association members, project partners and staff

medico international e.V. has appointed an independent ombudsperson whose job is to support medico international e.V. in preventing corruption, by addressing issues  and handling grievances.

Association members, project partners and staff who feel obliged to file a complaint regarding (the risk of) corruption or grievances in relation to medico international e.V., its partners/project implementers, or with projects funded by medico international e.V., can contact the ombudsperson to have the issue investigated. The ombudsperson should specifically be used as a contact person when other existing complaints procedures and contacts within the organisation have proved to be inadequate in the view of the person filing the complaint.

The ombudsperson is an impartial and independent post and is not bound by any directives issued by the organisation. This is a voluntary position and the post holder does not receive any remuneration apart from the reimbursement of expenses required to carry out his or her duties.

Contact details for the ombudsperson:

Marie-Luise Rössel-Cunovic   
Certified pedagogue, family therapist, supervisor 
Email: ombudsperson@