Hivos website

Who we are

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Annie Mpalume

Hivos was founded in 1968, inspired by humanist values. 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.

Core values

We believe that human life in its many forms is valuable; that all people deserve to achieve their full potential, while bearing responsibility for sustaining our natural environment. Living a life in freedom and dignity, with respect for each other and the planet, leads to greater individual well-being and fair, vibrant societies.

Freedom & dignity

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.


Responsible citizenship

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.


Self-determination & diversity

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.


Equality & justice

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.



Sustainable use of our planet’s resources

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.