Hivos International

Themes

Women’s Empowerment

Almost everywhere in the world, girls and women are worse off than boys and men. Slowly but surely, this is changing. More girls go to school, more women have political power and more rights are enshrined in law. Yet gender equality still seems a pipe dream. Conservative forces resist it, economic growth is mainly beneficial to men and deeply-entrenched social relations are difficult to change. It is still ‘a man’s world’. Read more.

Sexual Rights and Diversity

Almost everywhere in the world, people who do not conform to the heterosexual norm or have been born in the wrong body have a hard time. In many countries the chance that they are discriminated against or even persecuted for who they are is very high. These people are excluded and have to fight for their rights. They do not enjoy the same access to employment or medical care as others, for example. In these countries the position of women is, in a sense, comparable. Far too often, decisions about their bodies, pregnancy and sexuality are made by men. Read more.

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech is the main measure of openness in a society. Where there is room for dissent and new voices, there is space for people with all their differences. Yet this space is all too often limited by those in power, mass media and large corporations that silence and marginalise voices through aggressive censorship, mass espionage and growing media monopolies. Resistance to this is led by human rights defenders, artists, journalists, bloggers and hackers. Read more.

Transparency & Accountability

Almost everywhere in the world, citizens have more rights on paper than in practice. In many countries, free elections and progressive laws exist alongside poverty and widespread corruption, and when the economy grows poor people barely benefit. Governments do not provide sufficient accountability for their policies, are not transparent about their practices and often fall short in providing the most basic services. As a result, the relationship between citizens and rulers deteriorates, people stop trusting the government and officials do not tolerate criticism. Read more.

Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels are being depleted at an ever-increasing rate. The extraction and consumption of oil, gas and coal contribute considerably to climate change and lead to instability and pollution across the world. Notwithstanding, governments and large corporations tenaciously cling to the fuels of the past. At the same time, millions of people have no access to modern forms of energy, and this stands in the way of their economic development. Read more.

Sustainable Food
Our planet has the potential to provide the growing world population with enough nutritious food for many years to come. It is clear that this is not happening, as one billion people are undernourished and two billion are struggling with obesity. Economies of scale, monoculture and liberalisation, market forces - none of these have been able to change that. On the contrary, by contributing substantially to climate change, by depleting natural resources and by letting countless plant and animal species become extinct, our current food system is leading to its own demise. Read more.