In April 2013, Hivos announced a new strategic direction for after 2015 that would involve thoroughly re-examining Hivos’ strategy and equipping the organisation for a more uncertain environment.
Time for change
Over the past decades, Hivos and local civil society partner organisations have been working together to expand human freedom and dignity and to ensure that economic progress comes with inclusivity and the preservation of the earth’s natural resources. Together we have made great strides towards smart solutions and new approaches. However, imminent changes in Hivos’ operating context, such as the changing landscape of development cooperation, but also the diminishing of ‘institutional’ funding from the Dutch government after 2015, have led to major changes for Hivos and its partnerships. To equip the organisation for the future, Hivos has adapted its primary processes and redefined its strategy and themes.
More space for social innovation
To put authentic change in motion and generate new solutions, we need approaches and initiatives that aim to resolve longstanding social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges for the benefit of people and planet. Creating more space for social innovations is therefore one of the changes adopted in Hivos’ new strategy. It has always been Hivos’ strength to spot new niches, facilitate innovative approaches and support frontrunners. Whereas Hivos still needs traditional allies in civil society in this regard, such as activists, NGOs and social movements, partners such as companies, social entrepreneurs, and progressive donors will also be of utmost importance in our ambition to contribute to a world where economies are sustainable and societies are inclusive for everyone. Hivos will move from traditional re-granting partnerships with local civil society organisations to equal participation with civil partners in targeted programmes.
Two domains, six themes
Adapting Hivos strategy also entails a shift from three thematic programmes towards two domains: the Open society and the Green society.
The ‘Open’ society guarantees freedom, diversity and equal opportunities for all. Women have the same rights as men, and homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. There is room for everyone and every opinion. Such a society is possible if both journalists and artists can practise their profession freely and if governments are transparent. Power should be checked and challenged, and Hivos enables people to do that with smart and bold projects. An open society needs active citizens, for if you do not stand up for your rights, they can never be asserted. Four priority themes are defined that are relevant to this mission: Freedom of Expression, Transparency & Accountability, Women’s Empowerment and Sexual Rights and Diversity.
The ‘Green’ society is about people. If our energy and food supply were truly sustainable, not only would we be taking care of our planet but we would also be sharing everything it has to offer more equitably. Hivos therefore pursues a green economy where energy is mostly produced locally by individuals and communities, where small farmers have access to large markets, where the poorest do not bear the brunt of climate change and where plant and animal species whose economic value is not immediately apparent are protected. A green economy is a fair economy that has no expiry date. Thematic choices within the green society are Renewable Energy, powered by people and Sustainable Food, powered by productive landscapes.