Gender equality, diversity and inclusion (GEDI) are at the heart of Hivos’ vision and mission; they are prerequisites for the more just, fair, dignified and prosperous societies we aim for.
GEDI refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of all people, regardless of gender or sex, SOGIESC, ethnicity, age, ability, religion, and culture. It is one of our missions that people and institutions at all levels acknowledge and respect all people’s rights, including those of marginalized, discriminated and excluded groups. In particular, (young) women and LGBTIQ+ people are at the center of, and inspire, Hivos’ programming and partnerships.
Hivos acknowledges the power of people. We support individuals in strengthening their personal and collective powers, claiming their rights and holding duty bearers to account. Local communities are at the basis of what we do and how we do this. We also pay specific attention to intersectionality, e.g. young refugee women with a disability or with HIV, and we ensure that resources reach those left furthest behind. Finding allies and changing public perceptions are crucial elements in our strategies to end discrimination and scale solutions.
Hivos focuses its standalone GEDI programs on three values:
- Human rights. We support (young) women and LGBTIQ+ people in lobbying for legal and policy changes that protect their rights, end impunity and criminalization, and promote inclusion and diversity. This specifically includes helping them lead inclusive movements that successfully advocate for their SRH-R among duty bearers and the public.
- Gender equality. We support (young) women in claiming their right to make decisions in all spheres of life (including their own body) and to change power relations based on gender.
- Economic justice. We empower women and LGBTIQ+ communities to demand equal access to and control over productive resources. We are convinced that increased socio-economic inclusion and visibility, combined with increased public support for diversity, will lead to greater well-being and freedom, and less poverty and violence.
Hivos has a longstanding track record on supporting rights holders, activists and organizations that advance LGBTIQ+ rights and inclusion, SHR-R, and women’s empowerment. This has earned us global recognition as a pioneer in the field of LGBTIQ+ advocacy. Inspiring examples amongst our programs are:
- Voice connects and amplifies the voices of the most marginalized and discriminated people in 10 countries through innovative grant making and inclusive linking and learning. Voice uses very context-specific influencing tools, methods and approaches, leading to impressive results: almost all rights holder groups have increased their ability to influence social actors.
- ICW Latina helped stigmatized, vulnerable groups of women living with HIV build alliances with the experienced feminist movement in eleven Latin American countries. Together, they empowered many other women living with HIV, monitored SRH-R services, and successfully advocated for improved SRH-R.
We now look forward to implementing three new programs: We Lead, Free to be Me, and Syrian Women Empowered for Peace & Security. Here, Hivos will build on its track record of strengthening rights holders’ advocacy capacities, connecting them in strong movements, and increasing public and political support for their rights. We Lead focuses on young women living with a disability, with HIV, affected by displacement, or identifying as LBTI. Free to be Me will support LGBTIQ+ communities. Syrian Women Empowered for Peace & Security aims to ensure Syrian women’s organizations and women leaders have an equal position in the Syrian peace process.
How GEDI affects Hivos
Hivos applies a GEDI lens to all its programs. Some examples are ENERGIA’s work with women entrepreneurs in the renewable energy sector, and the support to LGBTIQ+ defenders by our Digital Defenders Partnership. We set minimum GEDI objectives, targets and strategies for all programs, and include at least one GEDI outcome focused on observable changes in behavior, practice and performance. When doing lobby and advocacy work, we ask other stakeholders and those in power to also apply that lens.
Likewise, Hivos’ staff, management, policies and procedures represent the societies we serve and reflect the principles we stand for. From the highest governance body to project level, from our Supervisory Council to our partners, we are committed to anchoring gender equality, diversity and inclusion in our own organization and in the way we involve communities and other stakeholders. Our GEDI Strategy leads this process, and we hold ourselves accountable and report on our progress.