It gives me great pleasure to present to you our 2018 annual report. This report is a representation
of our work in East Africa, particularly in advancing a just and fair society.
For almost five decades in East Africa, we have partnered with visionaries, individuals and frontrunners to inspire social change. Together, our efforts have given impetus to the birth of a human rights movement that is grounded on establishing better societies for the cause of humanity.While our accomplishments are numerous, each decade often presents new challenges that are opportunities to aspire us to do even better.
The state of 2018 was filled with ground shaking events that unfortunately saw incidences such as attacks on civil society organisations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Voices of polarization and authoritarianism continued to exclude women, the youth and LGBTI from participating in full as
equal citizens in society. Good governance was also under threat especially in the transparent use of resources to improve the quality of lives of citizens.
There was also some good news. In West Africa a new alliance led by the government of Burkina Faso signified hope in the decentralization of clean energy for the communities in dire need of technologies that can build their resilience in adapting to climate change. The cut flower industry in Kenya continued to show its commitment towards enabling decent work for low income workers in flower farms.
Building on our track record in spearheading change through social innovation, we deepened our work by partnering with front-runners to not only bolster social change but demand for basic fairness especially in ensuring the most vulnerable do not have to bear the burden of social problems alone.
Through our Open Source Seeds Program, we championed innovations such as Disrupt! Food to coach seed entrepreneurs on marketing their seed enterprises- an action that went a long way in enabling a fairer level playing field for medium and small enterprises in the seed sector. In
collaboration with organisations such as the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, the seed entrepreneurs were incubated in a mentorship program that sharpened their skills in marketing and pitching ideas to potential investors.
Our contribution to good governance through the Open Contracting Program renewed a forge in demanding for transparency and accountability in the use of tax payers funds when it comes to government contracting. Front-runners such as Makueni County in Kenya committed to delivering quality services to citizens by adopting the open contracting approach in their procurement system.
As an organisation, we are constantly learning and reshaping our strategy to not only be relevant but tailor solutions that stimulate social innovation. Meeting these societal challenges through social innovation requires taking certain risks such as investing in spaces that have rich grass root voices which are not heard. The Voice Program, echoed this principle through its robust learning agenda where grantees shaped discourses around giving the most marginalised a platform to amplify their issues.
In this report, you will find the most diverse and inspiring stories of our partners whom we refer to as social innovators.
It is my hope that our story is a re-affirmation of a dedicated front to establish open and green societies that reflect: responsible citizenship, environmental justice, dignity for excluded groups such as LGBTI persons and sustainable food production practices.
Mendi Njonjo is Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director
A copy of our 2018 annual report can be downloaded from this link