Hivos International


Address by Edwin Huizing at the City Maker session organised by Hivos during the SIX Wayfinder conference on social innovation in London on 16 and 17 February.

Cities are the landscape of the future. UN projections indicate that 75 percent of the human population will be living in cities by 2050. But who really owns the city? Is the city owned by everyone who lives in it? Or is it only for those who can afford to shape it actively or simply have the power and resources to set the agenda?

As part of the Human Rights Day 2016 commemoration in Zimbabwe, the Dutch Royal Embassy and Hivos Southern Africa invited innovators and human rights practitioners to participate in an Internet and Human Rights Innovation Challenge (IHRC). We asked innovators to share ideas on how to effectively use the internet to advance human rights in Zimbabwe.

The Challenge aimed at addressing and promoting rights around four key themes:

A new policy brief released today by Hivos East Africa and International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reveals that the rise of internet and mobile technologies has created yet another arena for continued violence against women in Kenya. The policy paper urges government and the ICT sector to work together to adequately provide redress measures and mechanisms to counter these forms of violence.

We are pleased to announce Kenya’s first School of Internet Governance (KeSIG) at the Strathmore University from 16-18 November 2016.

The school targets Kenya’s online community from government, academia, tech industries and civil society who are new to internet governance.

The principle objective of this training is to enable them to participate constructively and knowledgeably in internet governance issues.

The Creatives Garage hub was birthed by a quest to engage in cultural activism and enable creatives to venture into social innovation. To date, it has partnered with 7,000 creatives who are guided to turn their craft into a source of livelihood.

In partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Women on the Frontline programme is honoured to have organised the ‘Women on the Frontline: THEIR STORIES' film screening, the second in a series of screenings around the world. Three films depicting the experiences of three activists from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen were screened at the Dutch embassy in Washington DC on 24 October, 2016.

At the invitation of Age of Wonderland six artists, designers and other creatives (from Africa, Asia and Latin America) will have a close look at the relationship between big and open data, technology, economy and social innovations. In cooperation with Dutch professionals, they are researching and developing ideas and scenarios surrounding big data, and will present their work during the Dutch Design Week (22 – 30 October) in an exhibition and workshops.

Zimbabwe adopted a new Constitution in 2013, putting an end to the post-war Lancaster House Constitution that had been used as the country’s supreme law since 1980. However, since 2013, very little progress has been made in aligning the country's laws to the new constitution.

Since 2015, Hivos Southern Africa has been supporting Her Zimbabwe to augment its capacity to create and share content on gender and rights issues in alternative and engaging formats. Creating more media spaces to access information and share opinions through high-quality, independent journalism is important to Hivos. Freedom of speech is the main measure of openness in a society.

In June, Hivos Southern Africa in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi launched the Cultural Fund of Malawi (CFM) aimed at contributing to a dynamic, free and diverse cultural sector for improved living standards, economic growth and poverty reduction in Malawi.

The Zambia Elections Information Centre (ZEIC), a project co-funded by Hivos Southern Africa and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), has been monitoring the electoral process in Zambia. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate effective information management for a credible, peaceful, free and fair 2016 general election in Zambia, taking place on 11 August, 2016.

Kenya, along with the other Eastern African countries has been encouraged to prioritise the creative economy and creative industries in their national development strategies. The creative sector has the potential to create jobs and trade opportunities as well as spur innovation for the bulging youth population; this was noted by several researchers, economists and experts in different fields.

Hivos Southern Africa has partnered with the Embassy of Norway to launch the Cultural Fund of Malawi aimed at stimulating the arts and culture sector in Malawi. The launch of the Euro 481,313 cultural fund, which has already attracted many actors in Malawi's cultural sector, marks the beginning of a new era in the funding of arts and culture activities in the country.

Hivos Southern Africa recently conducted a one day workshop to reflect and learn from five years of implementing the second phase of the Dutch government funded co-financing system known as “Medefinancieringsstelsel”, or ‘MFS’, between 2011-2015.

Traditional authority is predominant in rural Zimbabwe. It plays a key role in defining rules and regulations that shape citizenship among an estimated 70 per cent of Zimbabwe's population. However, many of the traditional leaders, like many people in Zimbabwe, have little to no knowledge of the supreme law of the land that was adopted almost three years ago.

In September 2014, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) and Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) embarked on a project funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) and Hivos Southern Africa titled “Building a Sustainable Human Rights Culture in Zimbabwe”.  It aims to promote interaction between duty bearers and citizens in rural Zimbabwe and build a sustainable human rights culture

An innovative citizen media project is engaging under-served rural constituencies of Plumtree, a border town located in southwestern Zimbabwe, to tell their own stories and share information to build their communities.  

The communities of Mangwe and Bulilima reside outside the national information grid and have no access to broadcasting and newspaper services, a situation they believe prevents their participation in local and national development discourses.

East Africa’s creative industries can massively contribute to their economies and promote freedom of expression if given ‘a little push in the right direction’ according to Hivos East Africa’s new report on the East African creative economy.

Backpack radio

From 23 - 31 May, Age of Wonderland is holding its Incubator Week. In 2015, the programme focused on food; 2016’s theme is Big & Open Data. Can Big & Open Data be a tool for social innovation? And in which way can it tackle the intricate global and local challenges our planet is facing?

Each year, World Press Freedom Day is marked around the world to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to defend media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties.

HEAL Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) and Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) have embarked on community campaigns to raise awareness of the roles and functions of the five Independent Commissions provided for under Zimbabwe’s new constitution.

The project trains a selected group of community-based peace advocates on the provisions of Independent Commissions in Zimbabwe's new constitution so that they have the knowledge, skills and tools to monitor human rights in their communities.

Rooftop Promotions, a long-time partner of Hivos Southern Africa, opened a new theatre in the heart of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.

The 500 seater state-of-the art theatre is both a physical and virtual space that will serve as a hub for creatives and artists in Zimbabwe. The venue will be accessible to Harare-based theatre groups for rehearsals and performances.

Hivos Southern Africa is currently implementing the second phase of the Human Rights Fund (HRF) on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Zimbabwe. The programme seeks to improve the protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe in a sustainable way through support to civil society organisations. Its first phase ran from May 2012 to December 2013; the second started in January 2014 and will run until December 2016.

A new study conducted in Chitungwiza, a town located approximately 30 kilometres south of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, revealed that 55 per cent of citizens in that locality have a fair knowledge of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

However, this knowledge does not directly translate to an understanding of their socio-economic and cultural rights, as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the constitution.

Twenty-six Hivos Southern Africa staff recently received training on financial resilience focussing on traditional and new financing models for the organisation. Funding for civil society has been diminishing in recent years, forcing organisations to open up new avenues of funding for their programmes.

Update 17 March 2016: 31 international organisations, including Hivos, renew their call for Bassel's release on the fourth anniversay of his detention (see the joint statement in the right sidebar)


Renowned creative industry advisor, Percy Emmett, recently conducted the Nesta Creative Enterprise ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshop for the first time in Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe. Fifteen carefully selected Zimbabwean creative practitioners participated in the four-day training on how to turn creative ideas into profitable income.

Hivos Southern Africa in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE) recently launched a booklet titled "Spotlight on the Culture Frame: Stories from the Ground," a culmination of eight years of supporting the arts sector in Zimbabwe.

Open Data Day

Today is Open Data Day. As part of the Open Data movement, the opening up of contracts offers a revolution in public procurement. An estimated US$ 9.5 trillion is spent by governments in deals with business. If done more openly, efficiently and effectively, governments could save budgets otherwise wasted.

ILA Countries

The advent of the Internet has raised many issues around the intersection of human rights and technology. The question is how the existing local Internet legislation safeguards human rights in the digital space.

Internet shutdown poster

On February 18, 2016, when Ugandans went to the polls in presidential and parliamentary elections, they discovered their access to social media and mobile payment services had been cut off only hours after voting began. While preliminary reports from observers indicate voting was conducted peacefully, citizens were faced with a three-day internet shutdown by the government that limited political discussion and temporarily halted financial transactions across the country.

Big Data - Big DADA? **

After two successful editions of Age of Wonderland, its founding organisations Hivos and Baltan Laboratories are inviting artists, designers, scientists and other creative thinkers and doers to investigate, develop and share ideas or scenarios for its 2016 residency and public programme revolving around ‘Big Data’.

All rights reserved. Photo: IV Encuentro Latinoamericano de Teatro del Oprimido

If you happen to be in Matagalpa, Nicaragua right now, you might notice a new buzz in the air. Maybe because this is the first time that the country is hosting the Latin American event Theater of the Oppressed, an international meeting of over 350 artists from 23 different countries who have brought all their creativity, activism and discussions to the city.

As many as 106 films will have their world premiere at the 2016 Rotterdam International Film Festival (27 January to 7 February), with more than 260 filmmakers from 50 countries attending. This year, Hivos is proud to once again be the main sponsor of the festival, which is known for its distinctive and innovative programming. A particularly interesting element is the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition for international film talent.

On December 17 and 18, 2015, the Arab Internet Governance Forum brought together hundreds of participants from across the Middle East and North Africa to debate essential topics in Internet policy, including the digital divide, surveillance, censorship, and net neutrality.

On this International Human Rights Day, we take the opportunity to remember the brave Libyan activist Salwa Bugaighis, who believed deeply in human rights, women´s rights and equality for all, and who paid the ultimate price for her convictions. Salwa was one of the founders of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, and played a very active role in the 2011 revolt against Colonel Qaddafi.

IRA-Mauritania (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement Mauritania), an organisation dedicated to abolish slavery in Mauritania, will receive the Human Rights Tulip Award on International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015. The prize of 100,000 euros, awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Dutch Government, is devoted to courageous and innovative human rights defenders worldwide.

Modern slavery

To celebrate the upcoming Human Rights Day, Hivos is organising a “HagueTalk” on December 9 together with Justice and Peace at the Nutshuis on Riviervismarkt 5 in The Hague, starting at 19:30. The set-up of the event is similar to the well-known TedTalks.

‘The Fox Exploits the Tiger’s Might, a 25-minute film produced by BabibutaFilm and Hivos Southeast Asia, has won a prestigious award at the Indonesia Film Festival (FFI) 2015 for best short film. It was directed by talented young director Lucky Kuswandi, who has received nominations at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Hivos is appalled at the events in Paris that claimed many lives of innocent civilians. IS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out mostly by French citizens. Almost immediately after this horrific violence was wreaked particularly on places of entertainment, calls for drastic measures resounded from every corner, such as closing borders or wiping IS 'off the face of the earth'.

Historic is the only word to describe the Cultura en Movimiento (Cultures in Motion) congress, the first meeting of the actors who give life to the arts and culture in Bolivia. More than 300 people, including artists, cultural agents, academics, activists and authorities in the area participated in the event which took place in October in the city of Sucre.

What challenges do we predict for the future of civil society? How do we present the continuity of the work of civic organizations? These were the questions guiding the seminar held by Hivos in South America, which brought representatives of various partner organizations working in the region together in Bolivia.

A new study by Hivos reveals that spaces for cultural and artistic expression increase citizens' critical consciousness by providing platforms for freedom of expression and debate. The study examines the Book Cafe, Harare's now defunct premier arts and culture hub and hangout space. Established in 1993, the Book Cafe closed its doors in June due to financial challenges after having played a ground-breaking role in nurturing artistic expression and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

Worried by the streams of refugees, Alliance 2015 calls upon European governments to address root causes. 

Alliance2015 members, amongst which Hivos, work in many of those countries worst hit by the current refugee crisis, including Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Based on our understanding of the realities faced by those with whom we work, as well as our wider experience of humanitarian disasters, we call on European leaders to:

Age of Wonderland is a programme based on mutual knowledge exchanges between creative practitioners within Hivos’ global network and the creative high-tech community in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The 2015 edition (from 17 to 25 October 2015) will be addressing the intertwined and complex issues around our global food system, challenging creative practitioners to reflect upon the processes of food production, consumption and distribution.

The three-day Youth Cultural Arts Festival (YOCAF) recently held in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo City featured a potpourri of artistic activities under the theme: “I Will Act Now”, attracting hundreds of fans from across the city. The overall aim of YOCAF is to enable young people to develop life skills through developing artistic talent.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA Zimbabwe) recently convened Zimbabwe's first civil society-led forum on internet governance to enable discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet. 

The forum attended by approximately 200 participants aimed at bringing people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet.

Where: Cogite Coworking Space, Tunis, Tunisia
When: October 8 to 11, 2015
Hosted by: Hivos Mideast Creatives

After nearly three years of open global consultations, the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) were adopted by UN member states at a special summit convened at the UN headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 September during the annual meeting of the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The SDGs will replace the millennium development goals as the new goals to be accomplished by 2030.  

It is a cold and sunless Saturday morning in southern Zimbabwe. A slashing wind is raising plumes of dust around a group of seven women sitting in a circle outside a community hall in Rujeko, Masvingo. They have not met to swap news and chat, but to discuss their progress so far in keeping local leaders accountable to service delivery..

A report by a Zimbabwean think tank, Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), says Zimbabwean  women have an unclear and contradictory understanding about the role of Parliament and Members of Parliament (MPs).

Public voting for the 2015 Human Rights Tulip has begun. Voting ends on Wednesday, 16 September at 23:59 (CEST). Anyone wishing to vote can go to and choose which of the 30 nominees they believe deserves the prize the most. The Human Rights Tulip, an award for human rights defenders working in innovative ways, was instituted as a means of encouraging activists to share their knowledge and experience.

As the ongoing violence and destruction leaves its traces throughout the country, many Syrian citizens continue to strive for peace, safety and justice. One of the many impressive initiatives undertaken by the Syrian people comes from Zabadani, a strategically located city near the Lebanese border that has been witnessing intense fighting between the Syrian regime, Hezbollah and several oppositional islamist militias.

In the Runyararo West neighbourhood in Masvingo, a city in southern Zimbabwe, house flies buzz and zing as if possessed, madly landing on anything and everything in sight. The flies are a product of the Masvingo City Council dumpsite, which is piling up at the edge of the Runyararo West neighbourhood and posing a serious health hazard to residents.

Zimbabwe's sign language has several variations that inhibit communication among deaf people, according to a new study. The study titled: "Sign Language Variation," states that harmonisation of the variations in sign language is required to bridge the differences and facilitate better communication among the deaf.

Sixteen Zimbabwean creative practitioners followed a five-day training to increase the viability of their ideas and improve their individual skills for setting up and running a creative enterprise.

A walkway through the Harare Gardens in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, was recently converted into a temporary photo gallery that attracted ordinary people going about their daily business. The posters on display depicted various human rights issues that touch on the lives of many Zimbabweans.

By Loe Schout, with thanks to Ireen Dubel

Inside the 236 square metre open space on the first floor of a three-storey building in Lilongwe, Malawi's capital city, approximately 15 young people are hunkered down behind computers with fingers tapping frantically at keyboards.

Of the fifteen people in the open floor plan space, only three are women. Two of them, Towera Moyo and Danielle Mvalo aged 18 and 21, respectively, are engrossed in deciphering the code they just wrote for the web design project they are working on.

Hivos, together with human rights activists from across North Africa, the Arab region and the world, attended events in Cairo and the Netherlands on 25 June to remember the life of Salwa Bugaighis, on the anniversary of her murder in Benghazi.

An Android Application of the Declaration of Rights contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) was recently launched to inform Zimbabweans of their constitutional human rights and increasing their ability  to demand the enforcement of those rights.

Nominations for the Human Rights Tulip 2015 are now open.

The Human Rights Tulip is an award given by the Dutch government. Every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards the Human Rights Tulip to a human rights defender who promotes and supports human rights in innovative ways. Hivos has been selected to help guide the selection process and will support the winner to further develop and scale up their innovation.

The Innovation Station (TIS) is a global platform presenting the best videos on social and technological innovation. Its content comes from innovators, their supporters and partners – and from you.

The Joint Hub Fund, which supports tech hubs across Africa, recently received a boost when Indigo Trust and Hivos injected 100 000 British pounds and 100 000 euros respectively towards supporting the fund.

The Fund brings together the DOEN Foundation, Hivos and Indigo Trust in an initiative aimed at catalysing the continent’s technology start-up ecosystem. Hivos has the responsibility of managing and running the fund.               

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) hosted a lecture in memory of one of Zimbabwe's greatest journalist, the late Bornwell Chakaodza. The VMCZ is a professional media self-regulatory body set up in 2007 to promote media freedom and ethical journalism.

“Freedom of words” is the slogan for the third edition of “Centroamérica cuenta”, a meeting of storytellers that started on May 18th in Nicaragua. This one week-long event, supported by Hivos, will gather together writers from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Hivos Southern Africa Hub held a training workshop for its staff on the project management way of working (PM WoW). The three- day programme focused on the basics of project management and offered opportunities for practical work using relevant PM WoW tools and approaches. The training aimed to equip staff with knowledge, skills and tools to enhance their work in relation to Hivos' new strategy.

On the evening of 2 May 2015, prominent Iraqi human rights activist Ammar Al Shahbander was killed during a terrorist attack in a lively commercial district in Baghdad. A car bomb exploded in the street targeting innocent people, our partner amongst them.

Hivos joins their renewed call for the release of the ‘Duma Four’

Hivos, in partnership with the British Council, is proud to announce Zoomaal’s launch of the ‘Made-by-Many’ Challenge to support creative and cultural events and festivals that have a social or economic impact with an innovative twist.

In April 2013, Hivos announced a new strategic direction for after 2015 that would involve thoroughly re-examining Hivos’ strategy and equipping the organisation for a more uncertain environment.

Time for change

“Remember to not forget”… Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

On April 9th, Hivos Central America released the film SietexGuatemala (Seven for Guatemala) in a packed theater at the Historic Centre of the City of Guatemala. The film is a series of short films by renowned filmmakers portraying the situation of human rights and justice in Guatemala.

The open data philosophy is starting to become known in Bolivia through the DataBO project, the first data accelerator in the country. Supported by Hivos and Oxfam, this initiative is promoted by La Pública, a digital newspaper aimed at contributing to a culture of transparency and accountability.

Top African afro-pop singer-songwriter, Salif Keita, will be the star performer at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Zimbabwe's premier arts festival.

The 2015 arts showcase will run from April 28 to May 3 under the theme: "Articulate." According to a statement by HIFA, the Festival in 2015 is an opportunity for artists and audiences to think creatively, to express ideas clearly, and to communicate a powerful artistic vision.

Harare, Zimbabwe – Access to information in rural Zimbabwe is very limited. As a result, citizens lack the information and knowledge they need to participate in public life and improve their lives and livelihoods.

Since September 2014, the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) in partnership with Hivos has been supporting Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) and Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) to build a sustainable human rights culture in Zimbabwe. Both ZIMCET and HZT have been fostering peace in Zimbabwe though advocacy and community peace building projects and are collaborating on the initiative entitled: "Building a Sustainable Human Rights Culture in Zimbabwe.”

Lusaka, Zambia - Common Cause Zambia (CCZ), in collaboration with Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) and Panos Southern Africa, recently held a meeting with twenty-three Members of Parliament (MPs) in Zambia to address issues around the management and utilisation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The city of Cochabamba, in Bolivia, will host the II Encuentro Latinoamericano de Mujeres (Latin American Women’s Meeting.), ‘ELLA 2015’. This event first took place in 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and was attended by more than 300 participants from 15 countries  making it a historic first edition.

Harare, Zimbabwe - Hivos Regional Office for Southern Africa (Hivos ROSA) is partnering with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) and ZiFMStereo, a radio station, to open dialogues on critical issues in Zimbabwe in order to find shared sources of meaning.

In Zimbabwe, as in many countries across the world, the digital revolution is transforming the field of journalism, presenting new and unprecedented challenges.

Kariba, Zimbabwe - A pioneering project in Kariba, a small town located approximately 365 kilometres northwest of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, is  seeking to enhance young peoples’ innovative and creative potential through expanding access to diverse sources of information.

More than 50 organizations from 15 Latin American countries give life to Facción, an independent communication network supported by Hivos. Facción reports on events that mainstream media mostly do not cover.

More than 50 organizations from 15 Latin American countries give life to Facción, an independent communication network supported by Hivos. Facción reports on events that mainstream media mostly do not cover.

The campaign against child labour in Zimbabwe has received a boost from capacity building and training aimed at strengthening the Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe (CACLAZ) so it can take the lead in promoting the "area-based child labour free zones" model in Zimbabwe. 

Do you want your book to be published? Do you have a disruptive idea for a publishing start-up? Maybe it is a book idea that you believe readers all over the Middle East are waiting for? Or maybe it is a new app that allows for dynamic reading of Arabic eBooks? It could even be a web platform to distribute content to readers everywhere.

The Costa Rican digital newspaper officially launched DataBase during the Amelia Rueda radio program aired February 9th.

Detained Arbitrarily, and Tortured

The Hivos Media and Accountability Program has launched its second call for proposals open to civil society organizations (CSO), social change groups, media, research institutes, associations and private enterprises working on transparency and accountability issues in Latin America.

Update 5 February: the winner of the Hivos Social Innovation Award 2014 in in the prototype category is Lensational and the runner-up in the the scaling up category is Organic Sack Gardening. You can read about them below.


On 30 January 2015, Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen announced her strategic partners for advocacy and policy influencing during the period 2016-2020. Hivos is pleased to be involved in two of the 25 partnerships selected for the new ‘Dialogue and Dissent’ programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Update: On Friday 30 January 2015, the three winners of the Hivos Tiger Awards were announced: La obra del siglo by Carlos M. Quintela; Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes) by Juan Daniel F.

The Urban Space Speke Avenue project.

Around the world cities are looking for ways of bringing new life to run-down parts of commercial districts. That is the ethos behind the Urban Space project, which is giving a new spurt of hope – and colour - to downtown Harare.


Today Hivos launched a new fund for freedom of expression in the Middle East. Freedom of expression and the freedom to criticise or ridicule have been the core values of Hivos ever since its foundation. These values were attacked last week in Paris, as they are under constant attack in the Middle East. The Fund will be linked to existing Hivos programmes in the field of arts, culture, ICT and media.

Not too long ago, Hivos' Mideast Creatives programme posted about the collaborative spaces challenge we worked on through our partner Zoomaal, the Arab crowdfunding platform, to support the creation and growth of such spaces in Arab countries.

This year’s recipient of the Human Right Tulip is Mideast Youth, a Hivos partner since its very beginning in 2006.

A year on, no information on the Douma Four

The prominent Syrian human rights defenders Razan Zaitouneh, Samira Khalil, Wa’el Hamada and Nazem Hamadi - the Douma Four - remain missing a year after their abduction, 71 organizations** said today, including Hivos. The four were abducted in Douma, a city near Damascus under the control of armed opposition groups. We are urging that they be released immediately..

Art and civic activism merge in "Desatando” (untying), the 2015 calendar produced by Hivos' regional office in South America. It is a collection of  illustrations created in a process that brought together five artists and nine representatives of Bolivian civil society organizations. They are all fighting for the decriminalization of abortion and the legalization of sex work, women’s rights, the LGBTI collective and people living with HIV.

Maria Mutandwa of the ILO Country Office in Zimbabwe makes a presentation on the state of child labour during a partners meeting.

December 10 is recognised internationally as Human Rights Day. As part of its commemoration of this day for 2014, Hivos in Southern Africa wants to raise awareness on child labour and the efforts being carried out to eradicate the practice locally, regionally and internationally.

From 1 to 12 December 2014, Lima will host the Twentieth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20). Peru will receive about 15,000 attendees representing 195 countries and stakeholders from international organisations, civil society, private sector and the media.

Coinciding with COP20, Hivos’ Arts Collaboratory programme will support two art projects that explore climate change from different perspectives: Hawapi and Hot Future.

Hivos is proud to announce that the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras) has received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.

To encourage filmmakers, the Audiovisual Promotion Fund for Central America and Cuba, CINERGIA, held its annual ‘Encuentros Cinergia’, a space for directors and producers to present their film projects to a jury through pitching sessions and private screenings. During the closing night of the encounter, CINERGIA awarded scholarships and grants for to the most promising projects.

Forty journalists, designers and programmers from Latin America and Europe worked together to create the first Manual de Periodismo de Datos Iberoamericano (Iberoamerican Data Journalism Handbook).

The Kampala Contemporary Art 014 Festival is taking place from 4 to 31 October. The festival is organised by Hivos’ Arts Collaboratory (AC) partner 32º East Ugandan Arts Trust, a centre for creating and exploring contemporary Ugandan art.

From 10 to 17 October, delegates from all over the world gathered in Segou, Mali, for the kick-off meeting of the Stop Child Labour coalition’s new programme: "Out of work and into school - joint efforts towards child labour free zones".

Disrupt/Media Tunis as it happened

The Disrupt!/Media! ideathon co-organised by Hivos and the Tunisian coworking space Cogite from 17 to 18 October was an intense - but fun - experience for the 35 participants and everyone involved. This was the second event of the Disrupt Series set up by Hivos’ Mideast Creatives programme to support creative industries in the Middle East. It focused on digital storytelling initiatives.

In Tunis from 10-12 October 2014, the Hivos Women on the Frontline programme brought together female and male activists of all walks of life from seven countries of the MENA region to take stock of political participation of women in the region and strategize. They are all committed to respond powerfully but peacefully to the demands of women in the MENA region for gender equality, inclusion and active participation in all ongoing political processes.

The Tunisian coworking space Cogite and Hivos will co-organise the “Disrupt!/Media!” ideathon in Tunis from October 17 to 19. This second Disrupt event will focus on Digital Storytelling initiatives.

Paul Brickhill pictured on July 23, 2014, the last day he was at the Book Cafe

October 3, 2014 will always be remembered by the arts-loving community in Zimbabwe and abroad as the day on which the iconic arts entrepreneur, Paul Brickhill, passed on. He died of a complicated thyroid cancer, at age 56.

Paul’s contribution to the cause for freedom spans across many battlefields, starting as a freedom fighter in the war for the liberation of Zimbabwe, to the establishment of the world-famous Book Café as a space for free expression, artistic or otherwise.

UPDATE: For the third time in a row, the Terrorism Court in Damascus delayed the verdict in the case of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of expression, which was scheduled for October 1, to

Every year, the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs awards the Human Rights Tulip to a human rights defender who promotes and supports human rights in innovative ways.

Lea esta nota en español.

During its second year, the Actors for Change program (funded by SIDA and implemented by Hivos) held three unique regional forums throughout Central America to promote freedom of expression, denounce the reduced space for independent media and propose strategies to tackle the challenges in the region.

"We are inspired by dignified rage at the things we don’t agree with .... the conviction to change reality." - Andrea Ixchíu, indigenous Guatemalan leader.

Hivos has launched Digna Rabia (Dignified Rage), a book that looks at the social struggles being undertaken by younger generations throughout Latin America, including stories about what defines young writers as activists.

Hivos is horrified by the gruesome murder of David Haines by Islamic State militants. Haines was working for the French aid organisation ACTED and was kidnapped in March 2013 in Syria, shortly into his assignment. Our thoughts go out to the families and colleagues of Haines.

Hivos partner Plaza Pública has won two awards in the annual Excellence in Journalism contest organized by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).

We invite you to get to know the work the Hivos regional office in South America has been doing within what we call the ‘Open Society’ track.

On 18 August 2014, long-standing Hivos friend and partner Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah began a hunger strike in prison to protest his detention by state authorities for the third time since the start of the Egyptian revolution in January 2011.

In late 2011, Alaa was charged by a military court for incitement and imprisoned for two months. In 2013 he was detained for 115 days without trial and now faces 15 years in prison.

A week to research, share and create strategies and collaborative action through communication and technology. That's the aim of the “Semana de la ComunicAcción y las Tecno-Lógicas”, which will run from the 25th to the 31st of August in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba.

The Must See Film Challenge was launched by Zoomaal at the beginning of June. Now, the challenge is seeking funding online for some 36 movies, ranging from Lebanese films to Moroccan documentaries.

Zak Mbhele

In May this year, a former Hivos employee, South African politician and activist, Zak Mbhele made history by becoming Africa’s first black openly gay Member of Parliament.

Mbhele first came into contact with Hivos in 2007 as a student at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, when he was involved with a student group which received funding from Hivos.

Hivos and Al-Amal are conducting training-the-trainer workshops on human rights and training skills in Erbil this week. The 22 trainees have braved all odds to attend.

Photo: Hivos

The deadline of the First Call for Proposals has been extended until Sunday 7th of September, midnight.

The Media, Transparency and Accountability Program, aimed at stimulating organizations and journalists to use data in favor of generating quality information, is pleased to announce its First Call for Proposals.

From 4 to 8  August, Khairani Barokka (Okka) will perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with her show Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee.  Hivos is pleased to be her main sponsor.

Scores of civil society activists, human rights defenders, media and humanitarian workers remain in arbitrary detention in Syria more than a month after the government declared a general amnesty, Hivos and 11 other nongovernmental organisations said today.

Those who express themselves critically on the web are increasingly becoming victims of cyber terror. To protect (civilian) journalists, bloggers and activists, the Digital Defenders Partnership and a number of other organisations have devised the world's first digital first aid kit.

On 7 July, the 20 international winners of the 2014 Global Dialogues narrative contest started being announced, including the winners of the Grand Prize, second and third places.

Hivos expresses our utmost consternation and grief at the brutal assassination of Libyan human rights activist Salwa Saad Bugaighis. Salwa was shot and stabbed in her home in Benghazi on 25 June just after casting her vote in the Libyan general election in Libya. She had been receiving threats from Islamic extremists for some time already.

Driving force in Libya’s political transition

In 2013, Hivos announced the challenging new direction the organization will be taking after 2015: social innovation. A major buzzword promoted heavily among development organizations, academics and professionals all over the word. 

In the Middle East, women who want to play football are often met with either disapproval or prohibition, but not the girls in Halabja, Iraq. In this Kurdish town marked by Saddam Hussein's notorious 1988 poison gas attack and a long period of domination by conservative Islam, it is football which is now offering women a way forward. Hivos and partner organisation Wadi are supporting the Halabja Girls on their way. 

A training session at Bongo Hive Tech Hub in Lusaka, Zambia

Hivos continues its support for African Technology hubs and has partnered with the DOEN Foundation and The Indigo Trust to launch a new joint fund that will support technology hubs around the continent with the aim of empowering more sustainable entrepreneurship.

Cultural invasion

Hivos joins freeDimensional and Colectivo Hormiga in announcing the launch of the Central American Regional Forum on Arts, Culture and Human Rights, June 18-20 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Hivos is pleased to announce it has been chosen by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to support the Human Rights Tulip Award in 2014 and 2015. For Hivos, this is an important recognition of the expertise and experience we have gained over the years working on a myriad of human rights issues, including LGBT-issues, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s rights and fighting impunity.

The ‘Human Rights Tattoo' project aims to turn 6,773 people into lifelong human rights ambassadors by tattooing a letter from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on a square centimetre of participants’ bodies. Recently, the project toured through Africa with support from Hivos. Initiator Sander van Bussel sat down with Hivos’ Lesley Arp to talk about the trip. 

First publication of the Syrian Perspectives Project

Since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, there have been abundant articles and studies on Syrian political factions and figures, but to date there has been no systematic study and critical appraisal of the engine of the revolution ˗ the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs).

Where can the voice of the citizen be heard? In the parliament? In the mainstream media? Where is it that the citizen can exercise the right to express his/her opinion about democracy and its institutions?

Next week, the UN Security Council is poised to vote on a resolution to approve referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Hivos, together with over one hundred civil society groups from around the world, has lent its support and signature to a statement urging the UNSC to indeed refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Hivos couldn’t agree more with the statement by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, in his opening speech  at the Freedom Online Coalition  conference in Tallinn two weeks ago: ‘Whatever the excuse, in reality, limiting access or censoring the contents of the Internet is hardly ever done for the sake of the security of the people.

Hivos firmly believes that free exchange of information, space for expression, and opportunities for active citizen participation are crucial for the development of a democratic society.

Every year on May 3rd, Hivos celebrates the principles of press freedom, stands by its commitment to Alternative & Independent Media and condemns any act of censorship, surveillance or attack on media independence.

Khalil Matouq

Over one and a half years after the disappearance of renowned Syrian human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq, the undersigned organizations are reiterating their call on the Syrian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Freshly Ground

On May 5, 2014, the South African band Freshly Ground was barred from performing at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

Freshly Ground is one of South Africa’s most internationally renowned bands and have taken their brand of energetic Afro-fusion music all over the world. They have performed in Zimbabwe before, including at HIFA, but ever since the 2010 release of their controversial track ‘Chicken to Change’ they have been barred from performing in the country.

A volunteet sits down for his Human Rights Tattoo in Zimbabwe

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”  Those are the first 139 characters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In total the declaration consists of 6773 characters, and a group of artists wants to tattoo all of them - one person per character - onto people across the globe.

The Women Pioneers Challenge was posted on the Hivos-supported Zoomaal crowdfunding platform as a follow-up of the 2013 challenge. After the 15 April deadline for submitting projects, a careful selection of the 25 projects submitted went live on 23 April. As of the moment of publication of this article, $70.521 had been raised.

Uganda Journalism Awards

It was a first for journalism in Uganda as the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) hosted the inaugural Uganda National Journalism Awards.

The awards are to recognise and promote excellence in reporting and are intended to inspire a culture of quality and effective journalism.

A presentation at Bongo Hive

Bongo Hive, a Technology Hub and Hivos partner in Zambia that began as a series of informal meetings by a group of technology enthusiasts, is starting to bear some sweet results.

The hub, which was formally launched in May 2011, has created a space for open innovation to take place by hosting events where programmers and other tech enthusiasts are encouraged to work together.

Making All Voices Count is proud to announce 28 awarded proposals, chosen from a pool of 544, to transform government responsiveness and effectiveness.

The programme’s first call for proposals was announced on September 23, 2013. This month, 28 cutting-edge solutions were selected from a total of 544 proposals received for the following three components of the open call: Innovation (17), Scaling (8) and Research (3).

On 18 April, Hivos, together with public broadcasting foundation Human and the popular Filosophie Magazine, will invite the top of the world’s philosophers to Amsterdam to help us gain insights and gather expertise into the most important issues of our time.

On 24 March 2014, Director of Hivos partner the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Mazen Darwish, and his colleagues Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Ghareer, were charged by the General Prosecutor at the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus with "promoting terrorist acts" pursuant to Article 8 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2012.

Hivos has joined a coalition of more than 60 human rights organisations worldwide to call for the immediate and unconditioned release of the arbitrarily detained human rights defender Mazen Darwish and his colleagues Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Ghareer.

Nile Project group members

The Nile Project was founded in August 2011 by Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero to address the Nile River basin’s cultural and environmental challenges using an innovative approach that combines music, education and an enterprise platform. This innovative approach was recently shared with a cross-section of audiences in the region.

Taking advantage of International Women’s Day on March 8, the JASS-inspired network, Forum Aktivis Perempuan Muda Indonesia (FAMM) or Indonesian Young Women Activist Forum, joined forces with ally organisations to lead a series of activities designed to boost Indonesian women’s participation in politics. JASS

When the wave of revolutions known as the Arab Spring reaches Syria, Bassel is a successful Internet entrepreneur. He works for international companies, makes lots of money, and parties deep into the night with friends from the Syrian art and film worlds.

If you are under 25, live somewhere around the world and have something to say about HIV/AIDS,  sexuality, violence against girls or women, or drugs, alcohol and sex, we encourage you  to participate in the Global Dialogues 2014 contest, supported by Hivos.

“Have you ever gone to the cinema?”

“Of course,” she answered before she started laughing with the kids around her, which seemed to belie her answer.

“Have you been recently?”

“My last time was ten years ago,” she laughed. I like animated movies. I love that movie… how is it called?... Rambo! with Sylvester Stallon… I like him. You know, you look like him”.

The 4th Arab Bloggers meeting held in Amman, Jordan with support from Hivos provided a space for MENA activists to share ideas about strategies and tactics relevant to digital activism. This year’s meeting focused on the new challenges the region is facing: increasing surveillance and censorship, exposure to prosecution and imprisonment and rights-restrictive legislation limiting free speech online.

On the second anniversary of the arrest of Mazen Darwish, the human rights situation in Syria remains critical as two more human rights defenders are targeted.

One of the thirteen pictures that make up “The one I am”, the 2014 calendar produced by Hivos’ regional office in South America, was censored by Facebook in late January. The calendar presents underwater images of Bolivian women taken by photographer Wara Vargas.

One of the stands at the Media Diversity Fair.

A five-week long media diversity campaign organised by HIVOS, in partnership with the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Royal Danish Embassy, has shed light on the current media landscape in Zimbabwe and raised some important questions about the sector as the government makes new assurances that it is keen to license more media houses.

The documentary Return to Homs, produced by Hivos partner Proaction Film from Syria, has won the prestigious World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Hivos Partner the Guatemalan Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit, UDEFEGUA, won the 2013 Alice Zachmann Award given by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC).

Worldwide internet rights are under siege. Therefore Hivos, as member of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition, announces the launch of the Click Rights campaign advocating the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.

Update: On January 21, the IFC issued its second response to the findings of the CAO audit, two weeks after these were released. Under pressure from reactions by international and national organizations, the IFC admitted to shortcomings in their investment in the Honduran oil palm company, Corporación Dinant.

The Czech humanitarian organisation People In Need (PIN) reported that three of its employees were killed in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria on 7 January. Hivos works with PIN within Alliance2015.

Hivos is appalled at the Ugandan parliament’s abrupt decision to rush through anti-homosexuality legislation Friday morning and calls on President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the Bill.

“The one I am” is the name of the 2014 calendar produced by Hivos’ regional office in South America. It is a collection of 12 images of Bolivian women. Women, who, through the lens of photographer Wara Vargas, have transformed their corporeality to reclaim the female body as the subject of their own desires and pleasures.

The second court for drug-related and environmental crimes in Guatemala has sentenced Juan José Reyes Carrera (subcontractor) and retired Lieutenant Paul Silas Orozco (operation manager) of Exmingua-Kappes Kassiday & Associates (KCA)- to two years in prison for violence and duress against five independent journalists.

On 11 December 2013, HRH Prince Constantijn will present Prince Claus Awards to Hivos partners Teater Garasi, a performing arts lab in Indonesia, and Oscar Muñoz, co-founder and artistic director of the Lugar a Dudas arts centre in Cali, Colombia.

Updated on 8 April, 2014 with the second statement issued by Razan Zeitouneh's family (see documents in right idebar)

On 9 December, an unknown armed group kidnapped human rights lawyer and activist Razan Zeitouneh, ex-political prisoner Samira Khalil, activist and Razan’s spouse Wael Hamada, and the lawyer and poet Nazim Hamadi from the office of the VDC and LDSPS in Douma, Damascus suburbs.

By Fungai Tichawangana, Hivos Regional Office in Southern Africa

South Africa’s economic capital, Johannesburg, has been uncharacteristically grey and rainy since Nelson Mandela’s death last week on December 5, 2013. According to some African beliefs, this is a sign that a revered leader has passed on and been welcomed into the next realm of life by the ancestors.

Sondeka Arts Festival

Creative minds in the Kenyan capital Nairobi descended on one of the city’s shopping malls as part of a new Hivos-supported initiative that aims to innovate, create and entertain.

The Sondeka Arts Festival is the brainchild of the Creatives Garage, which is a trust that enables creative entrepreneurs to share their work, learn, access new markets, network and inspire more creativity.

Hivos is very concerned about the safety of local journalists in the Iraqi province of Ninewa. We have received alarming messages from our partner, the Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association (IJRDA), and other organisations, about the increasing number of journalists shot by gunmen since early October 2013. One recent victim was Aadel Mohsen Husain, journalist and IJRDA activist in Tal Afar district.

The Ecuadorian government has dissolved Fundación Pachamama, an environmental non-governmental organization that has worked for 16 years in defense of the human rights of Amazonian indigenous peoples and the natural environment. On December 4th 2013, officials from the Police Administration of Pichincha closed down Fundación Pachamama’s office in Quito.

The Ecuadorian government has dissolved Fundación Pachamama, an environmental non-governmental organization that has worked for 16 years in defense of the human rights of Amazonian indigenous peoples and the natural environment. On December 4th 2013, officials from the Police Administration of Pichincha closed down Fundación Pachamama’s office in Quito.

European companies provide the technology that authoritarian regimes use to violate freedom of expression and human rights. Hivos wants Europe to know that we are against the trade in digital arms.

The Hivos campaign ‘Stop Child Labour’ has brought out a new report, Working on the Right Shoes, that gives an overview of the progress made in addressing child labour and other labour rights in the leather footwear sector. It focuses on recent developments in the sector and the action taken by twenty-eight footwear companies since the launch of the targeted campaign ‘We want child friendly shoes!’ in June 2012.

With the Geneva 2 Peace talks on Syria planned for 22 January 2014, the international community must not forget Syrian prisoners of conscience.

Hivos, together with forty-two human rights organisations, is therefore making an urgent appeal to all parties involved to release all Syrian prisoners of conscience and those arbitrarily detained, including Hivos partner Mazen Darwish and four of his colleagues from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM).

Hivos proudly congratulates Hanaa Edwar and her organisation Al-Amal for being awarded Arab Woman of the Year, one of the nine Arab Achievements Awards of Takreem Initiative.

Chilldren at a CACLAZ incubation centre in Zimbabwe's Lowveld region.

The Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe (CACLAZ), a Hivos partner since 2009, has just passed the milestone of sending back to class over 550 children who had dropped out of school.

These are children, based in the country’s Lowveld region, who were spending their days working at home, in the fields or on sugar plantations.

Rose Wangui a KMP beneficiary

Roseline Wangui and her camerawoman Wambui Kurema were winners of the Television Features Award at the recently concluded CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2013 Awards. The judges described Kurema’s camera work as superb, with interesting characters and complimented by very balanced reporting.

Who doesn’t like to play games?

It is supposed to be an essential part of every person’s life. But when you live in in the midst of earthquakes, violence, corruption and poverty there is very little room for play. In Central America, there is a lack of public spaces for recreational purposes and a high sense of insecurity preventing citizens from using them.

Over 1.000 delegates from over 60 countries will come together in London from 31 October to 1 November 2013 for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Summit.
A group of young artists pictured in Harare, Zimbabwe

A new Arts Mobility Fund in Zimbabwe, set up as a partnership between the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust and Hivos, has started creating new possibilities for artists around the country, giving them access to markets and spaces that would have been otherwise inaccessible to them.

Launched in July, the fund is meant to help solve the mobility challenges that many artists face for both themselves and their products.

Delegates at the Child Marriages Symposium

A recent symposium in Malawi, supported by Hivos, brought together key stakeholders to look at how to end the child marriages in the Southern African country.

50% of girls in Malawi are married off before they reach 18 years old according to a report by the country’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare. A study by UNICEF ranks the country in the top 10 states globally that are child marriage hotspots.

A historical first national meeting of key actors from the artistic and cultural sectors took place in Santa Cruz, Bolivia from 3 to 5 October 2013.

Young fruit vendors in Ometepe Nicaragua

On 5 October, the 'Declaración de Managua Hacia Zonas Libres de Trabajo Infantil’ was approved unanimously at the Regional Conference on Child Labour Free Zones in Managua, Nicaragua that was organised by the Hivos Stop Child Labour campaign in close cooperation with the National Twinning Council Netherlands - Nicaragua (LBSNN) and our local partner Fodel.

Loiyangalani Stars performance

Under the cover of starlight and skyscrapers, a group of musicians more attuned to the harsh nomadic lifestyle of northern Kenya sang, danced and shared songs that celebrated their Turkana culture. And for one evening they were celebrated as stars as they launched their debut CD.

Ewaala Turkana is the title of the Loiyangalani Star CD, which features 13 Turkana songs performed by the six members of  the group

Uganda musician at 2013 Bayimba Festival

The Ugandan capital of Kampala, was a spectacle of music, dance, theatre, fashion, film and arts as the sixth edition of the Bayimba International Festival  took place between 20 and 22 September.

This year’s festival featured three hundred artists and 60 performances, lasting in total over 36 hours.  The cultural fair is described as Uganda’s premier festival, as it not only draws in huge audiences from across the country, but is seen as a platform for many burgeoning artists.

Do you have a creative idea? Are you in need of funding? Join our competition to win $10,000.

Zoomaal and Hivos are partnering to set up the ‘Hivos Creativity Competition’ in order to encourage Arab creativity and innovation. This competition aims to promote originality and ensure that at least one project in the Arab world will be supported.

To support both the economic and social standing of the Arab world with creative projects.

Three days of international social innovation from 10 to12 October 2013 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The Honduran judge and human rights defender, Mireya Mendoza Peña, was murdered in broad daylight on July 24. She was a trial judge in the city of El Progreso and the undersecretary of Hivos partner the Association of Judges for Democracy (Asociación Jueces por la Democracia), an organization which works to defend Honduran judges and promote an independent judicial system in Honduras.

Hivos believes that media and technology have the power to expose injustice and to hold government and corporations accountable to the public interest.

In most Latin American countries, powerful families own the most important broadcasting corporations and print media, and many politicians control important mass media as well.

Examples of body painting
In Bolivia, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are discriminated against across the board. The LGBT movement has been active for several decades to defend their rights and make Bolivian society and politicians aware of the marginalization that LGBT people face. Despite the progress made at the political level in recent years (since 2009 Constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation), there is still much work to be done
mike edwards

New Mike Edwards paper: Beauty and the Beast- Can Money Foster Social Transformation?

Kenya participants to the Global Dialogues story-creation contest.

Kenyan youth activists working on HIV/Aids, LGBTI, reproductive health and youth matters convened in Nairobi for the first forum under the auspices of the Global Dialogues ‘Connecting Voices of Youth’ programme.

The July 25 meeting brought together 180 participants from more than 40 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and institutions involved in various youth related programmes across the country.

Supporters at a political campaign rally in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers (ZAFP) has launched a project to document the sights and scenes of the 2013 Zimbabwean elections and how the process will affect the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

ZAFP is a Hivos partner under the Human Rights Fund, which is supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

The organisation was started in 2011 by four young female photographers from Harare and has grown its membership to over 20 photographers.

Indigo Trust Banana disease survey

Technology innovation hubs are mushrooming across Africa and are playing a central role in the fledgling tech and entrepreneurial scenes in Africa.

IGMENA banner

Call for Participation

How can activists, human rights defenders or journalists cope with governments seeking greater power and control over the Internet through surveillance, website filtering, restrictive legislation and intergovernmental processes that curb online freedoms?

Zoomaal website screen shot

Hivos proudly announces the launch of the crowd funding platform Zoomaal today in Beirut, Lebanon. It is the perfect place for event organisers, creative people, scientists, engineers, web and mobile developers, product designers, photographers, video producers and community activists from the Arab world to fund their projects.

The XYZ show

With a projected monthly audience of 8 million people, The XYZ Show is one of Kenya’s most popular TV programmes. Such strength in numbers displays the impact of the new partnership between Hivos/Kenya Media Programme (KMP) and Buni Media, the producers of the show.

Freedom online poster

During the 3rd Freedom Online Conference, Joint Action for Free Expression on the Internet, convened in Tunisia on 17-18 June 2013, Hivos in cooperation with DiploFoundation (Diplo) and Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) organised a high level training on Internet Governance. The session was held on 16 June 2013 as a pre-event to the conference and focused mainly on emerging policy processes related to Internet Governance.

Rainbow flag gay pride

Hivos partner Uhai EASHRI played host to activists from the sex worker and LGBTI movements in the East Africa region during the fourth ‘Changing Faces Changing Spaces’ (CFCS) regional conference. The three-day meeting held in the beautiful Rift Valley area of Kenya brought together over 200 attendees from feminist movements, women’s rights, human rights and health activists, as well as donor partners.

Cinergia flyer

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hivos partner Cinergia (the Audiovisual Promotion Fund for Central America and Cuba). From June 18 to 21, various events have been organized throughout San José, Costa Rica to celebrate the occasion. The landmark theater ‘Cine Magaly’ is the hub of the cinematic tributes to Cinergia.

Tawanda Kembo, founder of

Tawanda Kembo is a serial online entrepreneur. Ideas roll out of his mind onto the Internet quickly and seemingly effortlessly. His latest project is a website that lets Zimbabweans report when, where and to whom they have paid bribes.

Mazen Darwish

The Syrian journalist and human rights activist Mazen Darwish, president and founder of Hivos’ partner the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), has won the 2013 Bruno Kreisky Prize for Services to Human Rights.

The Bruno Kreisky Award is a biennial award created in October 1976 on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Bruno Kreisky, an Austrian politician who served as Foreign Minister from 1959 to 1966 and as Chancellor from 1970 to 1983.

Winter promotional folder

The exhibit ‘Winter’ brings a combination of poetry and politics to the Central Asian Pavilion, while the project ‘Pirate Cinema’ is showing independent films by Hivos partners at an installation in the Maldives Pavilion.

Khalil Matouq

Syrian lawyer and human rights defender Khalil Matouq, who has defended hundreds of political prisoners, journalists and prisoners of conscience, was detained on 2 October 2012. Shortly before his disappearance, Khalil Matouq had been acting as one of the defence lawyers of the staff and visitors of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), a partner of Hivos.

On 1 September 2013, Edwin Huizing will become the new executive director of Hivos. He will succeed Manuela Monteiro, who has been at the helm of the organisation for the past decade.

Trevor Manuel with Supa Mandiwanzira at one of the AMH Conversations

When he was Finance Minister in South Africa (1996-2009), Trevor Manuel was one of the most respected politicians in Africa and, still is. So when Hivos partnered with Zimbabwe’s Alpha Media Holdings to have him talk to business leaders in their discussion series ‘AMH Conversations’, there was a lot of interest.

Update : On May 10 2013, thirty years after the original events, former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. But less than two weeks later, the Constitutional Court overturned his conviction citing irregularities.

Teachers and community members in a CFLZ Uganda

Hivos’ Stop Child Labour campaign played host to child activists from 24 countries at the annual Stop Child Labour conference held from 16-19 April 2013 in Kampala, Uganda.

BOBs jury

Tactical Tech Collective and Mideast Youth are both winners in the Best of Blogs Award (BOBS) 2013 -  a prestigious competition started and sponsored by the international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

One of the preparatory meetings of the congress, in El Alto (Bolivia)

There are more than 120,000 experiences and organizations from the civil society working in the production and distribution of cultural goods in Latin America. These initiatives annually  mobilize around 200 million people but they don’t have an adequate recognition from their governments and there are not public policies to support them.

Report on Safety and Protection on Journalist cover

Hivos and the Kenya Media Programme (KMP), working with KMP partner the Media Council of Kenya, have launched Kenya’s first ever survey on the working conditions facing Kenyan journalists. The report titled ‘Safety and protection of Kenyan journalists: Is it common sense or common cents?’, was launched to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, marked on 3 May.

Youth Newsroom

The Central America Hivos regional office is taking 10 future journalists from the region to attend the World Press Freedom Day conference in San José from 2 to 4 May. The journalism students will join the Youth Newsroom, a youth-led team from different countries working together to produce quality coverage of the conference proceedings.

The budding journalists come from five different countries: Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama.

Ethipian Reeyot Alemu wins 2013 Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Imprisoned Ethiopian journalist, Reeyot Alemu, is the winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The 31-year-old journalist is currently serving a five-year sentence in Kality prision, notorious for its brutal and filthy conditions. Ms Alemu was recommended by an independent international jury of media professionals in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”

WPFD banner

Over 400 participants, including nearly 100 speakers from every region of the world, will gather in San José, Costa Rica from 2 to 4 May to celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

Open and Green

An innovative approach to bring 'state' and 'street' closer together

Fomer Guatemalan dictador José Efraín Ríos Montt

After years of fighting, Hivos partners Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) and the Association of Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), along with other organizations, have managed for the first time ever to bring a former head of state to trial for genocide by a national court.

Homophobia in South America is manifested on a daily basis through various forms of exclusion, invisibility and rejection of sexual orientation and gender identity. On April 4, the city of Sucre, the capital of Bolivia, was the scene of an irrational act against sexual and gender diversity. Officials of the municipality of Sucre removed the 20 pictures of the Sexual and Gender Diversities exhibit that had been installed the day before in downtown Sucre.

Hivos partners Radio Progreso and COFADEH in Honduras have collaborated on the new documentary, “La ley del más fuerte” (The Law of the Strongest). The documentary is an in-depth account of the work of human rights defenders in Honduras, especially in the region of Bajo Aguán. It covers the challenges the defenders face in an environment marked by intimidation, physical attacks and the impunity that characterizes these violations.

Former Guatemalan dictator José Efrain Ríos Montt (1982-83) and his then chief of military intelligence, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, are on trial in Guatemala for genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges arise from systematic massacres of the country’s indigenous population carried out by military and paramilitary forces during the country’s brutal civil war.

Courtesty of None on Record

With Uganda grabbing the headlines for its strong anti-homosexual stance, the establishment of a regional presence of None on Record (NOR), could not come at a more interesting time.

JFI report cover

Justice for Iran (JFI),  a London-based human rights organisation, and Hivos partner since 2010, is calling on international bodies - specifically the European Union, the U.S.

Women in demonstration

Hivos works with frontrunners of change and social justice to further women’s rights and advocate for new laws protecting women against discrimination and sexual and domestic violence. Today, many of these partners are celebrating International Women’s Day with marches, events, debates and special publications. Here are the activities planned by some of them.

Speech by Plaza Pública director Martín Rodríguez Pellecer

Plaza Pública, an online non-profit digital newspaper and Hivos partner, celebrated its second anniversary on February 22nd with a round table of prominent journalists entitled ‘La soleada caverna’ ( The Sunny Cavern). The website, supported by the private University Rafael Landívar, has become a news model in the eyes of Guatemalan citizens.

Tweet locations in Nairobi during the presidential debate

Hivos has partnered with the Ushahidi, a Kenya technology developer, and various civil society organisations to come up with the joint initiative to monitor Kenya’s electoral process. Uchaguzi, which means ‘election’ in Swahili, aims to help Kenya have a free, fair, peaceful and credible general election.


On February 6th, Hivos partner Freedom of Expression Committee (C-Libre) handed Honduran president Porfirio Lobo a proposal for a new telecommunications law that could significantly democratize the country’s media spectrum. This is the first time a proposal for such a law has been put forward in Honduras.

A public theatre showing at The Nest

Kenya’s creative fraternity has a new home to express itself. The Nest  centre, which is situated in the capital, Nairobi, opened its doors to the public in late November 2012.

Hivos Tiger Awards winners

The Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) and Hivos congratulate filmmakers Mira Fornay, Daniel Hoesl and Mohammad Shirvani on their Hivos Tiger Awards.

Lifetime winners of the Social Impact Awards

Three Hivos partners won awards at the 2012 Times of India 'Social Impact' Awards held on 28 January 2013. Widespread and tangible impact, which has the quality of changing lives forever, is the key criterion for these awards.

Tiger Awards banners

The IFFR has found a new main sponsor: Hivos. The new partnership between Hivos and the Rotterdam International Film Festival includes continuing support for the Hubert Bals Fund by Hivos and lends the organisation’s name to the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition.

'Wanna know a secret' - festival poster

From January 17 to 20, the 18th edition of the Writers Unlimited Winter Nights Festival will bring together writers, thinkers and musicians from around the world to the Theater aan het Spui and the Filmhuis in The Hague under the slogan "Want to Know a Secret?" The Hivos Culture Fund supports the festival and has made it possible to include Kenyan writer and poet Ngwatilo Mawiyoo.

Ma-Vulture Grafitti

Boniface Mwangi is one of the Prince Claus Laureates for 2012. The photographs Boniface Mwangi took of the violence during and after the 2007 Kenyan elections turned him into an acclaimed photojournalist. Mwangi also actively spray paints murals in Nairobi to raise awareness about the current political situation in Kenya.

Rami Jarrah in his office

Each year, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression bestows two International Press Freedom Awards in recognition of the courage of journalists who work tirelessly - often risking their lives - so that the news media remain free.

On December 5, 2012 at the 2012 CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, Rami Jarrah, founder of Hivos partner the Activist News Association, was honoured with one of the International Press Freedom Awards.

Sami Ben Gharbia in The Hague

Sami Ben Gharbia, founding director of Global Voices Advocacy, has been awarded the Prince Claus Laureates 2012 award. He is also the co-founder of the popular web portal that played an important role in the Tunisian revolution. 

Arab Internet Governance Forum, Kuwait

Report on the workshop organised by Hivos at the first Arab Internet Governance Forum in Kuwait, October 2012

Moderator: Hanane Boujemi (Hivos), Internet Governance coordinator for the MENA region


 The BBC has acknowledged Hivos's Knowledge Programme Civil Society in West Asia as a source of literature on Syrian society and politics and Hivos's support to Syrian activists.

Hivos proudly announced the launch of the Digital Defenders Partnership at the Freedom Online conference on 6 and 7 September in Nairobi, Kenya. The Digital Defenders Partnership is an initiative under the Coalition for Freedom Online to provide quick support in response to a range of emerging threats to internet freedom. As an initial investment, several member countries have dedicated more than € 2,5 million to the Digital Defenders Partnership.

Hivos is concerned about the verdict against Bahraini human rights  defender Nabeel Rajab. On 16 August 2012, Rajab was sentenced to a total  of three years of imprisonment for three cases, including the calling  for and participation in peaceful gatherings which the Bahraini  government considers illegal.

Again,  Hivos and several other organizations condemn the ongoing secret detention of Mr Mazen Darwish, President of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and four of his colleagues in the following statement. SYRIA: Continued secret detention of Mazen Darwish and other human rights activists and prosecution of part of SCM staff before military court

Key Focal Areas

  • radio studio

    Diverse, high-quality and independent media are crucial for the development of a democratic society. 

  • By encouraging the formation of networks that improve cultural infrastructure we aim to open a channel for the voices of Southern artists, better the conditions for cultural production and increase

  • Hivos stimulates cultural (co)productions by aiding art education and workshops, stimulating new talent, setting up or supporting national and international cultural exchange projects, and by furth

  • Photo:Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India / Hivos.

    Hivos supports festivals and cultural spaces in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Netherlands to strengthen the cultural landscape, facilitate exchanges between artists and reach wider audiences.

  • Freedom of expression and the media are basic requirements for citizens to stay informed, express an opinion and become civically involved in society.