The general aims and the guiding principles of Heidelberg Sustainable Development Abroad e.V. (HeiSDA) can be summarised as follows:

Sustainability through community ownership
To make sure that all projects we fund and help to implement are sustainable – that is, sensitive to the social context, actually needed and with a positive immediate and long-term impact on the communities. We therefore only support community-initiated and community-owned projects: The local community is mainly responsible for both the initial idea and the implementation of the project. We see our role as facilitators enabling local communities to realise their own ideas and development programmes by providing financial and non-material support;
Exchange of values through responsible volunteering
To establish an exchange of cultural values between volunteers and host communities, fostering transcultural personal relations that have a positive impact on either side. Responsible volunteering involves everyone thinking about and taking responsibility for their actions. We believe that the kind of Responsible Volunteering we promote, where volunteers work and live alongside the local communities on the construction site, fosters an understanding of each other, of the chances and difficulties of development partnerships more than anything else;
Strengthening interest in development issues through taking action
To offer students from Heidelberg a chance to take action regarding development issues through engagement with specific small-scale development projects. We hope to build and strengthen a long-term interest in the developing world and the challenges it faces in our volunteers and members – through theory and action.
These are the underlying principles that govern the direction of our work. However, they are only a rough guide to what we believe in and wish to achieve. We hope to act beyond these general aims.