Our understanding of "Mission" is rooted in the belief that all people are created to be different, but with the same value and dignity. This means that all human beings – regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion or geographical origins – should be able to partake equally of what the Bible calls "abundant life for all" (John 10:10). For us, this has two meanings:
1. We invite people to take part in our global community of partner churches and religion-based partner organisations with the aims of intercultural exchange, commitment based on solidarity, and mutual learning (see below, Action Area 1: International Community of Learning).
2. Together with our partner churches and partner organisations, we advocate a world where all people and the whole of creation live together in peace and justice (see below, Action Area 2: International Development Cooperation).
Here at Mission 21's office in Basel, we understand the endeavour to enable participation in "abundant life for all human beings" ► Mission Statement of Mission 21 in two ways: first, we aim to provide opportunities for participating in our global community of churches and religion-based organisations (the International Community of Learning). Mission 21's activities in this area are organically linked to a second Field of Activity: because the church is not an end in itself, we join with our partner churches and partner organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the endeavour to improve living conditions and promote peace through international development cooperation. We believe that the churches can – and should – play a very important role in the ongoing development of our respective societies, our life and our coexistence: here and throughout the world, based on their innate Christian duty or their "mission", their far-reaching and sustainable roots in their societies, and their international networking. With this in mind, we engage in respectful dialogue and collaboration with people who adhere to different religions and ideologies to advocate a world where all people and the whole of creation can live together in peace and justice.
Three central themes cut across both these Fields of Activities – themes that have already been the keynotes of our operational work for over 200 years. These are: the relationship between religion and development; the promotion of gender equity; and the encouragement of peaceful interaction between people from different ethnic and/or religious backgrounds.
Thanks to a long history of trust-based relations with our partners, Mission 21 has accumulated a large stock of experience and expert knowledge of cooperation work in these countries. In contrast to the situation in Europe, religion plays a major part in the everyday lives of people on other continents, and it forms an integral element of their understanding of values. Mission 21 takes this seriously, and we promote the peaceful potential of religions. Mission 21 collaborates with religious actors in a joint effort to initiate social change that will bring about more justice, sustainability and peace. In this endeavour, we are guided by a holistic, value-oriented and sustainable understanding of development that is based on the realities of people's lives, rather than being dictated by the global North. In this context, the social, cultural and spiritual aspects go hand in hand with material needs as inseparable dimensions of a life of dignity.
In 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, we are involved in long-term, sustainable development cooperation as well as emergency relief and reconstruction. The areas we focus on are promoting peace, education, healthcare and food sovereignty. Good governance and gender equity to strengthen our partners and civil society are key elements in all our programmes.
Through its programme of development cooperation work with its partners, Mission 21 makes a contribution towards achieving Agenda 2030, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Our contribution is recognised by the Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Swiss Confederation (SDC). In particular, we make a contribution towards Sustainability Goal 16+: to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Mission 21 offers opportunities for assignments lasting one or more years in international development cooperation. As an international co-worker, you will work in a project on the ground – a project where you will be able to contribute your specialist knowledge. These assignments have two goals: on the one hand, to provide technical and specialist support for our partner churches and partner organisations so they can continue to perform and develop their missions themselves with the help of indigenous experts; and on the other, to enable mutual learning on equal terms through personnel exchange.
In PEP! – the Professionals Exposure Program, our continuing education programme for young adults – you will participate in work on a project in your specialist area.
We organise regular trips that offer opportunities for encounters with our partner churches and partner organisations, as well as insights into our projects.
Our courses address current issues in the field of development cooperation, and we identify the consequences that arise from these issues as they relate to our context.
We offer a range of suitable opportunities for interested individuals, groups from church congregations (young people and adults), and also for other groups who want to continue their education for personal or professional reasons:
- Let us know your requirements, and we will work with you to draw up a proposal that meets your needs.
- Our international youth network offers a shared platform where young adults can exchange ideas and experiences.
- Young@Mission21 offers diverse activities for young adults aged up to 30. ► More about Young@Mission21
- On our encounter trips, you will experience our partner churches and partner organisations directly on the ground, and you will gain insights into our projects.
- We will enable you to gain spiritual inspiration and impetus from our partner churches that you can use in your own context.
- Project partnerships will enable you to benefit from mutual learning processes.
- Events focusing on current issues in a global context will open up new horizons for you.
- Courses will give you new perspectives on your own situation, and equip you with behavioural skills for living with others in a plural society.
Mission 21 combines three mission organisations: the Basel Mission (founded in 1815), the Moravian Mission (founded in 1732) and the Evangelical Mission in the Kwango (founded in 1956). Many mission societies have been exposed to accusations of collaborating with the colonial powers of the 19th century. It is a fact that mission work only became possible in many places because of the colonial powers. However, mission history also shows that the missionaries intervened very critically in colonial policy when it sought to restrict the rights of indigenous peoples.
Mission 21's predecessor organisations opposed the transatlantic slave trade, and they saw their work as reparation for the suffering that Europeans inflicted on people of colour.
Mission 21 re-examines the history of the Missions with a transparent approach based on academic and scientific criteria. The historical research archive is accessible to the public: www.bmarchives.org
Mission 21 stopped sending out missionaries in the middle of the last century. The requirements and needs for our international co-workers are defined by the partner churches and partner organisations themselves. The majority of individuals on assignments now come from the global South, and no longer from the global North.
About 45 employees fill a total of approximately 33 full-time positions at our Basel site. Employees (including those with management functions) can choose to work on a part-time basis. We believe it is very important to achieve a balance between family life and working life. About 15 international co-workers are on assignments for Mission 21 in our programme countries.
Mission 21 is certified by ZEWO (the Swiss Certification Service for Organisations of Public Utility which Receive Donations), so it meets strict requirements for handling donations. This is continuously verified on the basis of the accounting regulations (Swiss GAAP FER 21), the annual external audit and also the Internal Control System (ICS). For every project, Mission 21 concludes a project financing agreement with the partners concerned. The agreements with project partners state that funds will only be transferred when complete and correct accounting statements are available. The implementation and impact of the projects is verified by close project follow-through at local level, detailed narrative and financial reports from our partners, regular visits by our Responsible Programme Officers and Country Coordinators on the ground, and also by evaluations.
In 2014, Mission 21 introduced an Anti-Corruption Code (including a complaints mechanism) which is binding on all employees and volunteers (► Code of Conduct). All our partner churches and partner organisations receive training every year on anti-corruption practices and other measures related to financial and personnel management. Implementation of an anti-corruption code is a requirement for collaboration and implementation of projects.
The partner churches and organisations, and their beneficiaries, receive support with developing local capacities and establishing good organisational management. This gives the beneficiaries better access to decision-making processes and in overall terms, it helps to strengthen civil society and achieve UN Sustainability Goal 16 – to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Protection against sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation, and concern for the safety of children and minors under protection or guardianship, are matters that Mission 21 takes very seriously: this is why these issues are integral components of Mission 21's Code of Conduct. ► Code of Conduct
Mission 21's total expenditure breaks down approximately as follows:
- 76.1% Programme and project work
- 11.4% Fundraising
- 12.5% Administration (including Continental Assemblies and Mission Synods)
We state the exact costs every year in our Annual Report. ► Annual Reports and Financial Reports
No. The Hotel Odelya and the Restaurant Ayledo are a stock corporation belonging to the Basel Mission, one of Mission 21's three supporting associations. Mission 21 is a tax-exempt association, and it is legally independent of this stock corporation and also of the Basel Mission. No funds from Mission 21 are channelled into these operations.