Combating poverty goes hand in hand with fighting unequal and unjust power relationships. Marginalised groups must be given a greater say in political, economic and cultural processes. This requires organisations to bring about effective and permanent change. This is why we support over 700 partner organisations in 32 countries – support in the form of money, but also by providing access to knowledge and networks or by setting up programmes and campaigns with them. Together with national and international civil society organisations we follow a threefold strategy in which direct poverty alleviation, civil society building and advocacy mutually reinforce one another.
Direct poverty alleviation gives people the means to escape poverty: money to set up a small business (microfinance), knowledge to gain access to markets, and education and technical resources to generate income.
Civil society building, by strengthening local organisations and advancing civil society as a whole is central to Hivos. Poverty, injustice and inequality will continue to exist as long as people are not able to assert their common interests.
Advocacy – influencing the behaviour of local, national and international governments, institutions, businesses and citizens – is essential to make laws, regulations and markets work in favour of socially excluded groups.
Since knowledge is essential for development, Hivos has set up an extensive programme that integrates different types of knowledge and makes this available to partners and other development actors. Improving the position of women is an integral aspect of Hivos’ work.
Choice of countries and local presence
Hivos works in 32 countries, mainly from our regional offices in Bolivia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. We have also set up local (country) offices, enabling the implementation of large programmes in cooperation with international funding institutions. It is envisaged that some local offices will continue their activities as financially independent entities.
Hivos supports local organisations with financial resources as well as knowledge, contacts and advocacy. Hivos partners draw up their own plans, which are then assessed as to their viability in terms of capacity and strategy. We intentionally aim at giving a chance to budding initiatives that do not yet meet all the requirements. Hivos provides core funding rather than only funding partners’ activities. This gives them the opportunity to invest in strengthening their own organisation and to learn from their experiences.
For the period up to and including 2015, our business plan Citizens in Action (download from right sidebar) will guide Hivos’ policy. We will continue to set up programmes in which Hivos develops ideas and brings actors together, including multi-actor initiatives. The head office will focus on advocacy to support activities in the South as well as on knowledge and learning in order to contribute to better strategy and results. Additionally, the head office will provide support services and quality monitoring. Financially, Hivos aims to substantially expand income from sources other than the Dutch government’s subsidy system.