Hivos website

About Hivos

Annie Mpalume

Hivos is an international development organization guided by humanist values. Together with citizens and their organizations, we aim to contribute towards just, inclusive and life sustaining societies where people have equal access to opportunities, rights and resources. We work in partnership with others in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America on three impact areas: Civic Rights in a Digital Age; Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and Climate Justice. Our approach is solution driven, and we build wider movements for change by amplifying and connecting voices.

We help build social movements that strive for just, inclusive and sustainable societies.

Hivos was founded in 1968. Our founders held the conviction that development work should be secular, as true cooperation presumes respect for differing beliefs. In our first ever brochure, our founders wrote that “necessary changes should spring from communities themselves – from people at the base of society.” These convictions are still reflected in our work.


Hivos works for a world where people can realize their full potential, unleashing their ingenuity and creativity to build fair, just and life-sustaining societies for themselves and generations to come. Our mission is to amplify and connect voices that promote social and environmental justice and challenge power imbalances. We particularly empower marginalized rightsholders to raise their voice and demand freedom of choice.

Hivos supports the development of alternative solutions to deep-seated problems so that individuals and communities can make responsible and equitable choices within political and economic systems that serve their needs and preserve the planet. We connect people and organizations offering alternatives to those looking for solutions in their fight for social and environmental justice.


Hivos firmly believes in every person’s right to live in freedom and dignity, to enjoy equal opportunities, and to influence decisions made regarding the changes they want to see in their lives, communities and country.

We envision a world in which individual differences and backgrounds are respected and used to strengthen communities. A world in which people join forces to challenge the power imbalances that allow environmental degradation and propel climate change; that condone exploitation, oppression and exclusion; and that perpetuate gender inequalities.


Hivos has guts and dares to tackle sensitive issues. The way we question existing power structures and their effects on society is different and innovative. We are not afraid to confront the powers that be in the quest for new solutions. And we critically review how we achieve the mission and goals we have set.

Hivos' vision is that every person has the right to live in freedom and dignity

Core values

We believe that human life in its many forms is valuable. All people deserve to achieve their full potential, but are also responsible for sustaining the environment. Living in freedom and dignity with respect for others and the planet leads to individual well-being and fair, vibrant societies.

  • Every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or socio-economic position. People should have the freedom to believe what they want and be who they are, voice their opinions, and challenge and influence the established order.

  • People have rights as well as duties and responsibilities. We must respect and take care of other people, nearby and far away, and live life without damaging the common good, including nature.

  • People and communities should be able to make choices and decisions based on their own preferences and interests. Each individual is unique, and these individual differences are something to cherish and protect.

  • People are not the same, but we are equal. We should be treated and treat others as such. Equality should be reflected in the way our social, economic and legal systems work.

  • We only have one planet, with a rich but fragile biodiversity, and vast but finite resources. If we want current and future generations to prosper, sustainable use of the earth and living in balance with nature are paramount. We must move beyond reducing negative impacts and work actively to restore and preserve the environment, its biodiversity, and the planet’s natural resources. The future of every living creature depends on this.


Where we aim for impact

Hivos focuses on the following three areas because they are where major social and political transitions take place and where we, with our track record, can achieve real impact.

Our impact areas

  • Alexandra Narvaez

    Climate Justice

  • Civic Rights in a Digital Age

    Civic Rights in a Digital Age

  • Hivos

    Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Always setting the pace

Hivos has always aspired to be a frontrunner and a pioneer. We are proud to be among the first supporters of the few courageous LGBTIQ+ activists in the 1990s. And we helped to build many – by now influential – LGBTIQ+ movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We initiated micro-finance before the term became popularized. The Sumba Iconic Island project we launched in 2010, now taken over by Winrock International, is demonstrating that access to reliable and 100% renewable energy for working class people in remote areas is feasible. And our Resources of Open Minds (R.O.O.M.) program supports artists and creative hubs around the world that diversify dialogue and debate in society and deploy the power of art to bring about structural social change.

Our first 50 years

When we celebrated Hivos’ first 50 years, we looked back at our past. The milestones in our history help us understand where we are today. We are proud to present this journey through time.