Hivos was founded in 1968, inspired by humanist values. Our founders held the conviction that development work should not be linked to missionary work, and true cooperation presumes respect for differing beliefs. These convictions are still reflected in our work.
We believe that human life in its many forms is valuable, and that people are filled with potential. Living a life in freedom and dignity, with respect for each other and the planet, leads to greater individual wellbeing and fair, vibrant societies.
Our core values
Freedom & Dignity:
Every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity. People should have the freedom to believe what they want, voice their opinions and challenge and influence the established order.
Self-determination & Diversity
People should be able to make choices and decisions based on their own preferences and interests, regardless of their sexual orientation, their ethnicity or their religion. Each individual is unique, and individual differences lead to diversity.
Equality & Social Justice
We are not the same, but we are equal. We should be treated as such. And this should be reflected in the way our social and legal systems work.
Citizens have rights as well as duties. Taking care of the ones around us and living life without damaging others or our planet, should be a given.
Sustainable use of our planet's resources
We only have one planet which offers vast riches, but they are not limitless and already seriously degraded. For current and future generations to be able to prosper, sustainable use of the earth's resources is paramount. This involves moving beyond just reducing our negative environmental impact, but even more by actively restoring what has been degraded and favouring biodiversity.
What is our mission?
Based on a track record of almost 50 years of partnering with frontrunners in daring, innovative and impactful development programmes, Hivos seeks new and creative solutions to persistent global problems. Solutions created by people taking their lives into their own hands.
We offer a positive counterbalancing force against discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Our mission is to innovate for social change, with smart projects in the right places. We strive for a free, fair and sustainable society,
At the heart of our strategy are frontrunners: pioneers be it activists, social entrepreneurs, civil society or artists that operate at the frontline of developments, due to their great ideas, new solutions, high-impact collaborations and bold approaches. We scout for and help to develop smart ideas and new approaches. We support their most promising solutions and bring them to scale. We link all parties that can – and want to – be part of these solutions. And we help create an enabling environment, including the political environment, in which these solutions really stand a chance and can flourish.
What is our vision?
We believe that every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity, and that we are all free to be who we are, with respect for our individual gender and sexual identity. Living such a life, also means feeling free to believe and say what you want, to challenge governments and stir up the established order. As we exercise that freedom, we carry the responsibility not to impinge on somebody else’s freedom. And we respect the natural limitations of the earth.
We believe in open societies, in which freedom and diversity are valued individually and collectively. Such a society welcomes diversity and offers equal opportunities to all. We also believe in green societies, in which the environment and the planet’s natural resources are used sustainably to the benefit of all. Open and green societies are interwoven: together they create a free, fair and sustainable world.
We work in 6 areas to facilitate the emergence of open and green societies:
Transparency and Accountability are essential for an open society, in which democratic institutions and the private sector support and empower citizens to shape society and take control of their own lives.
Freedom of Expression is the main measure of openness in a society, ensuring that individuals can speak up and speak out, that they can make informed decisions, and that they can participate fully in society.
Women’s Empowerment ensures that women and girls have control over their lives and are able to participate actively in social, political and economic domains. It is about realising true equality for men and women.
Sexual Rights and Diversity ensures that people have control over their own bodies, their sexual identity and their relationships. Respecting these rights is vital to achieving true equality. People should never be discriminated or excluded.
Sustainable Food allows people to have access to sufficient, affordable and healthy food that is produced sustainably, now and in the future. With an ever growing world population, sustainable food production is critical to maintaining our planet's resources and to counter the negative effects of climate change.
Renewable Energy creates access - particularly for marginalized people living in remote areas - to clean energy without destroying the environment, in a sustainable way in order to alleviate poverty, improve living conditions and propel economic development.