Many different helping services are guided by a code of ethics, which grounds the way they work and serves as a guide for practitioners when things get messy. I believe that anyone going to help others, to do international development or community development work, should have a code of ethics to guide them because changing the world isn´t simple. I have made a start on what I think should be in it.

I want to improve this list and deepen the details so that it can be useful to serve you. Do you have a comment or suggestion? Email Pip –

Here are 9 principles that I believe are important in guiding doing good work in the world. The kind of work that matters and can be transformative for the those you work with and yourself.

  1. Do no harm – our key aim is to leave things better than before and being awake and present is essential to know if we are doing that
  2. Client centred – those who we work for should be at the centre of everything we do
  3. Self-care – looking after ourselves is an essential component of how we do our work, we need to hold ourselves accountable to how we treat ourselves and set a good example in the sector for others to follow suit
  4. Cultural competence – recognise the cultural, historical, economic, social and political contexts that we work in, affirm diversity and confront discrimination, acknowledge the importance of spirituality and the natural world
  5. Reflexivity – being aware of who we are, where we are from as well as our beliefs, values and biases
  6. Participation and empowerment – be guided by the voices of the communities we work with
  7. Work collaboratively – more heads are better than one, adding more flavour and depth to our beliefs and our work
  8. Safe and good practice – aiming for praxis, where research and action inform each other, follow processes and procedures and work ethically
  9. Professional development – personal and professional development are critical to good work