Hivos International

About Sexual Rights and Diversity

Hivos believes that all people should be able to have control over their own bodies and sexuality; that people should be able to express their sexual orientation and gender identity freely, without having to suffer threats, violence or exclusion. We have a long track record of supporting both small LGBT initiatives and helping to build strong LGBT movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are among the most daring organisations when it comes to sexual rights and diversity: even in our most conservative partner countries, we fight for the right to safe abortion, contraceptives, and sex education. 

We support a myriad of local organisations that work to tackle legal barriers, lobby and advocate with state institutions to improve access to sexual health services, inform and train journalists to report in a non-stigmatising way on LGBTI-people and on sexual rights, organise gay pride celebrations, campaigns and much more. Hivos supports them with funding, but also with capacity strengthening, for example on lobby and advocacy, and by bringing different actors together to share experiences and ideas, and to develop joint strategies of action. 

Through our partners we connect hundreds of community-based organisations to local and national governments, health providers, human rights advocates and other stakeholders. We are also more than willing to work with less usual allies, such as businesses and religious groups.

Because of the investments of the past decades, much progress has been made. LGBTI organisations have gained strength, are more visible and more diverse. These organisations are now also better able to articulate, defend and promote their rights. Progress has also been made with regard to the access to information on sexuality, pleasure, and sexual health and rights.

At the same time, there is still much work to do. Recently, in several countries we also see a backlash, particularly when it comes to social inclusion of LGBTI people and the recognition of their rights. Conservative and vocal forces influence and polarise the debate on LGBTI rights, threatening the progress realised so far. To be able to counter those forces effectively, we will need to strengthen alliances, both between LGBTI organisations and groups, as well as with other civil society organisations and beyond. It also shows that it is still essential to maintain and even increase our efforts to ensure the safety and security of the activists and frontrunners we support.

Our Strategic Objectives

In the next 5 years Hivos will:

  • scout and support the most exciting, bold and innovative ideas of people that challenge the heterosexual norm and discrimination
  • fight the double discrimination of vulnerable groups living with HIV/AIDS, and defend their right to services and care
  • continue to advocate energetically to improve sexual and reproductive health rights

Sample programmes

HIV and Human Rights
Our human rights approach to HIV/AIDS has recently been accepted by a key player, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the main worldwide public private partnership on health. Hivos' status as Principal Recipient greatly helps us to scale solutions. Hivos specifically promotes innovative, inclusive and sustainable policies and projects designed by and for Key Populations to be truly sensible to their specific needs and the contexts that surround them. The Key Populations most affected by the epidemic that Hivos works with and supports include: People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) - particularly women and girls, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Transgender people (TG), Sex Workers (SW), Young People, and People who use Drugs (PWUD).

In 2016, the Hivos HIV and AIDS portfolio consisted of more than 150 partner organisations located in 30 countries, reaching over around 500 community-based organisations. More:

Inequality is a global problem that equally affects the prospects of children and adults, men and women, gay and straight, healthy and disabled. To help tackle this problem, the Dutch government has created a fund supports “Voice - nothing about us, without us”, a new innovative grant facility for the most marginalised and discriminated people in ten low and lower-middle income countries: Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos and Cambodia. It aims to amplify and connect thus far unheard voices in efforts to leave no one behind. Voice is managed and executed jointly by Oxfam Novib and Hivos. More.

Right Here, Right Now
The voice of youth should be heard loud and clear in policies that affect their sexual and reproductive health rights. To facilitate this, we have teamed up with seven parties in the influencing programme 'Right Here, Right Now'.

This five-year programme is funded within a strategic partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It focuses on protecting, respecting and fulfilling young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights, with an emphasis on freedom from stigma, discrimination and violence; access to comprehensive youth-friendly services; access to comprehensive information and space for young people's voices. The programme aims to achieve this through the development, implementation and proper budgeting of/for progressive and inclusive legislation and policies that enhance youth access to SRHR services and information (including, but not limited to sex education). More soon.

Sex Rights Africa Network

For many years, Hivos has been working on SRHR issues, with a strong focus on people’s rights to (bodily) self-determination, freedom of choice and health. Now there is a space for people who care about sexual and reproductive health and rights to connect online.

The SexRightsAfrica Network is a regional networking hub to share information and coordinate campaigns/action to realise sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) for all in Southern Africa (and globally). It brings together organisations and individuals working on SRHR across Eastern and Southern Africa, and beyond. It complements, promotes and strengthens existing networks and knowledge management platforms and provides a meeting point at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, health and well-being, and economic, social and cultural rights.

There are many ways to participate in the open (moderated) platform of the network. For example, the Regional Learning Community is a space where network members can share ideas and resources, reflect on lessons from their own practice, debate critical issues in SRHR and collaborate with others on research, development of training materials and promoting effective practices.

The platform is hosted by the AIDS Foundation of South Africa in association with the Regional SRHR Fund, supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka, Zambia, Hivos Southern Africa and the Ford Foundation. More.

Key Focal Areas

  • Inequality is a global problem that equally affects the prospects of children and adults, men and women, gay and straight, healthy and disabled.