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.
Jan Ernst de Groot, chairman of the supervisory board of Hivos, says “We are pleased to welcome Edwin Huizing on board. He has extensive experience in the field and in leading major restructuring processes, both qualities that were explicitly taken into account by the supervisory board on the eve of a major change of course within Hivos. Edwin also has a special affinity for themes such as civic participation, women’s rights, sexual rights and sustainable production. We are therefore confident that, under the leadership of Edwin and the current director of programmes and projects Ben Witjes, Hivos will successfully enter the next phase and be able to position itself as a leading ‘social innovator’.
Since 2010, Edwin Huizing has been working for the UNFPA as director of the Sub-regional Office for East and Southern Africa. He is responsible for supporting the 23 countries where UNFPA works together with governments and civil society organisations to promote sexual and reproductive rights, ensure access to family planning, reduce maternal mortality and empower youth to shape their own future. Edwin Huizing previously worked for nine years at the Dutch Council for Refugees, concluding this period as managing director from 2006-2010. Between 1989 and 2001, he worked for SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in Botswana, Niger and Mali. Edwin Huizing (51) studied Human Geography and Development Planning in Utrecht. He is married and has four children.
From the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he is finishing up his last job for UNFPA, Edwin Huizing looks ahead: “The biggest challenge for the coming years is to restructure Hivos and make the organisation even more innovative, while retaining its identity. Hivos wants to find contemporary answers for social inequality and wealth distribution issues. We intend to find that answer in transparent government, open societies and a greener economy. Not only in low-income countries, but also in emerging economies.”
In certain areas Edwin Huizing will remain close to his current work: “For example, by supporting the desire of hundreds of millions of women to determine on their own if and when they want to have children. Or by setting a movement in motion to eradicate child marriages. I’m looking forward to addressing these issues together with the enthusiastic professionals at Hivos.”
The upcoming director of Hivos wants to support young people in particular: “They should be given the means to actively influence the future of their country and society. For this, the creative use of media and technology is indispensable.”
Hivos is an international development organisation founded on humanist values that works toward a free, fair and sustainable world where all citizens have equal opportunities and can determine for themselves what direction their lives, society and future will take. Hivos gives people a ‘voice’ so they can hold governments, companies and public authorities to account, for example, regarding the use of taxpayers’ money. Recently, Hivos announced it will be changing course to focus specifically on six key themes: democratic reform, freedom of expression, sexual rights, women’s rights, productive ecosystems and green energy. More than ever, Hivos will be looking to develop truly innovative solutions to today’s intractable global problems such as growing social inequality, corruption and energy scarcity in poor and emerging countries.