Hivos is an international organisation that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, we oppose discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Counterbalance alone, however, is not enough. Our primary focus is achieving structural change. This is why we cooperate with innovative businesses, citizens and their organisations. We share a dream with them of sustainable economies and inclusive societies.
We believe that every human being has the right to live in freedom and dignity. You can be who you are, whether you are male, female, gay, straight, or anything in between. Moreover, you should have the freedom to believe and say what you want, to challenge governments and stir up the established order. Your freedom only ends where another person’s freedom begins, and of course where the earth imposes her limits. The depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and climate change already have major implications for the most vulnerable inhabitants of our planet. They, and future generations, are entitled to a truly sustainable world.
The problems Hivos wants to confront are complex and can change rapidly. Against a background of structural poverty, climate change and repression, we see economic crises, rising food prices and growing inequality. There are no simple or quick fixes. For real change to take place, we need to foster smart thinking and innovative solutions. Courage, creativity and knowledge are required to build a green and open world.
We cooperate with various partners across four continents. These can be artists, lawyers, or hackers, but also governments, energy companies and knowledge institutions. The projects we develop and support can be large-scale and long-term, but also small and experimental – a farmers cooperative, or a breeding ground for Internet entrepreneurs, for example. They can also be in the form of a campaign against corruption, a partnership with a coffee trader or a safe haven for a gay activist. What our partners have in common is that they seek to bring about social change through innovative ways. We recognise that same drive in many people across the world.
Core values of Hivos are:
- human dignity and self-determination
- pluralism and democracy
- focus on material and non-material aspects
- mutual solidarity and responsible citizenship
- respect for people’s cultural and social identity
- responsible management of nature and natural resources
These values also inform the choices we make regarding the way we conduct our affairs and how Hivos staff behaves towards each other and the outside world. This will not only inspire people working within the organisation, but also all partners with whom Hivos collaborates in different regions of the world.
Our commitment to social responsibility is a consequence of our values and the resolution to act consistently with the Hivos programmes. Sound social responsibility also contributes to strengthening these values. Taking responsibility means being transparent and accountable for the choices one makes and the things one does.
We have chosen to focus our social responsibility policy on the following 4 themes, based on the link with the humanist values, practicality, added value and consistency with our 4 programmes and campaigns:
- Integrity and embodying the Hivos Values
- Diversity and Equality
- Good Employment Practices
- Environmental Stewardship
In our Social Responsibility Policy document we define each theme, and set out what they mean for Hivos. We also outline how Hivos takes responsibility within the Value Chain and how we interact with partners, donors, suppliers and partnerships. This document outlines the policy choices Hivos has made which will be translated into specific time-bound commitments in an separate action plan. We intend to report annually on progress against these commitments.