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Our Partners

Hivos co-operates and co-creates with a wide range of stakeholders to foster social change. We cherish our long-term relationships and team up with frontrunners and coalitions of the willing. Our partners range from LGBTI youth, artists’ collectives and hacktivists to female entrepreneurs, progressive funders and visionary government agencies. Hivos is accountable to its stakeholders and adheres to a high standard of transparency.


2016 marked the start of a number of great new five-year programmes under the strategic partnership Dialogue and Dissent with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is providing €50 million to our Citizen Engagement Coalition. Together with IIED, we kicked off the Sustainable Diets for All programme and the programme on Green and Inclusive Energy. ARTICLE 19 is our expert partner in the Open Contracting programme, and in the Women@Work programme we expanded our co-operation with multiple stakeholders to improve the working conditions of women in the African horticulture industry. In addition, Hivos joined Right Here, Right Now, led by Rutgers, in which we focus on the sexual and health rights of young LGBTI people. Voice is an innovative new grant facility to fight inequality, managed by Hivos and Oxfam Novib and financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Crucial long-term support

Both these strategic partnership programmes mark both a new beginning and the end of an era: the decade-long core support through the Dutch Government’s co-funding programmes MFS and MFSII ended, and a unique new programme commenced. Through these prorgammes with the Dutch Government, Hivos is able to invinvest in courageous frontrunners who initiate critical changes towards reaching more open and green societies. Such long-term support, for example for our work with LGBTI communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, contributes to strong movement in the direction of our shared goals. We also see this confirmed in the LEAD (Local Employment in Africa for Development) programme, in our Mideast Creatives programme, in the FLOW (Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women) programme, and in our programme Women Empowered for Leadership. We cannot emphasise enough how much we value this ongoing trust and support from the Dutch Ministry regarding our work. The strategic partnerships provide Hivos with the long-term support that is vital for creating a lasting impact.

Last year, thanks to 2.8 million participants, the Dutch Postcode Lottery donated €341 million to more than hundred charity organisations in the Netherlands. Hivos has been a beneficiary of the Postcode Lottery since 2007 and receives annual funding of €1.35 million. In 2016 the Postcode Lottery evaluated the collaboration with Hivos and decided to continue this valuable partnership, securing support for our work for at least another 5 years until 2021. We truly appreciate the Postcode Lottery’s core support, which allows us to strengthen our innovation agenda, to develop new ideas and to engage with daring programmes. In addition, the Lottery brings important issues to the attention of a broad Dutch public, which contributes directly to obtaining more support for our work and for the themes we promote.

In spring 2016 we – together with partners – submitted a proposal to the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund to help save the Amazon forest by supporting indigenous groups in using drones and other new technology to build evidence on the perpetrators of forest disturbances. We were one of the final four candidates selected to develop a full proposal; we were encouraged to develop it in collaboration with Greenpeace, who had a similar type of proposal. Together with Greenpeace and our respective partners, we developed a more impactful and technologically advanced programme and were selected for the final round. The co-operation was very constructive and fruitful and in early 2017 our joint proposal was selected for a Dream Fund grant of 14.8 mio euro from the Postcode Lottery. The All Eyes on the Amazon programme will formally start in July of 2017, working with indigenous groups to save 8 million hectares of the Amazon forest using drones and radar satellites.

Our ten-year-plus relationship with the Global Fund has put Hivos in the position to manage six large-scale programmes, covering 25 countries. Swedish Sida has also entered a multi-year partnership with Hivos to innovate for social change, to be officially signed in 2017. Sida specifically supports our daring and ambitious Freedom of Expression programmes. Hivos places a high value on each and every one of these important and impactful partnerships.

Impactful developments

Long-term support is specifically welcome in a financial development landscape that is dominated by a rapidly changing political context and influenced by events such as the migrant crisis in the European Union, the presidential elections in the USA, and the UK vote to leave the EU. These developments have led to a focus on more short-term financing and a strong emphasis on concrete results and value-for-money requirements.

The end of the MFS era implied a huge turnaround for our organisation. Hivos has been preparing itself thoroughly over the past few years, not only in anticipation of the prospect of significantly decreased financial resources, but also as an opportunity to drive new strategic developments. Our role as a re-granter has been broadened to a role as innovator for social change, building on almost 50 years of experience in innovative and impactful development programmes. This comprehensive preparation has enabled Hivos to absorb and leverage these major changes without any additional restructuring. Our total income increased substantially from 67.7 million euros in 2015 to 127.8 million euros in 2016.

Shared values

Our financial partnerships entail more than mere funding: we exchange knowledge and ideas on how to improve programmes and increase impact for social change. Hivos greatly values these ‘co-conspirators’ for a better world, and in return we are explicitly appreciated by our donors for our ability to take risks, to find and nurture innovative frontrunners, and for our convening power to connect different stakeholders in multi-actor platforms. Our core values on pluralism, diversity, sustainability and the empowerment of people clearly resonate with our financial partners.

Financial resilience

In 2016 Hivos signed multi-year contracts worth €134 million with 37 national and international foundations and bilateral donors. The majority of this funding comes from a limited group (the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sida, DFID, US Government funding, the Global Fund and some multilaterals and foundations). We have further diversified our income flow, featuring a broad range of donors, and building on strategic and long-term relationships with our major donors. In addition, 2016 marked the start of a growth scenario for our private funding programme, which is aimed at increasing our unrestricted funding.

All regional offices were trained in financial resilience in 2016, leading to improved strategies and plans for executing their own resource mobilisation activities. As a result, Hivos programme staff felt more comfortable managing funding relationships and better equipped to do so.

In 2017 we will deepen and strengthen existing funding relationships and we will build on our programme experience, networks and ideas to develop attractive propositions for new financial partners. This should lead to a budget increase and a further diversified financial partner portfolio.



Hivos Impact Investments

In 2015 Hivos founded Hivos Impact Investments (HII) to attract commercial capital for frontrunner companies that both contribute to sustainable change and are expected to produce a financial return. What is innovative is that the investments start at €50,000, whereas the usual starting amount is much higher. This means that HII is focused on finding companies that are scalable and have high growth potential.

HII launched its first investment fund in 2015: the Hivos Mideast Creatives Fund, which provides funding for early stage entrepreneurs in the creative industry in the Middle East and North Africa. The fund connects closely to Hivos’s Mideast Creatives programme and has invested in two thriving initiatives: Zoomaal and News Deeply. Through Zoomaal, the first successful Arab crowdfunding platform, young creatives have managed to obtain investments worth €1 million for their projects. Award-winning new media company News Deeply is growing fast and steadily, doubling its annual turnover in 2016.


Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund

After thorough research and preparations, we launched our second impact investment fund in 2016: the Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund. This fund connects closely to Hivos’s food programmes, through which Hivos sources solid, innovative enterprises and promising start-ups  social entrepreneurs from the African continent who are committed to bringing high-quality produce to the local and international market.

In 2016 the Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund invested in three companies: the already profitable L’Atelier du Miel in Lebanon, which sells 30 varieties of uniquely produced honey, South Africa’s Lady Bonin’s Tea, which distributes premium quality teas and infusions sourced from small-scale (often organic) farms, and GreenFingers Mobile. What distinguishes Hivos from similar investment initiatives is our belief in supporting social entrepreneurship displaying the power of people to solve persistent problems: people unlimited. We don’t just look at the figures to judge the viability of a start-up; we also zoom in on the entrepreneur’s drive and passion.


Support for social entrepreneurs

GreenFingers Mobile is a good example of how Hivos’s programmes and Hivos Impact Investments are complementary. Hivos actively scouts social entrepreneurs looking for new market-based solutions to existing problems; people who are open to disruptive ways of thinking. We guide them through the process of building acompany by helping them to clearly define their idea and to develop it into a potential enterprise, and we facilitate this process with a small grant, for example for market research.

GreenFingers Mobile is founded by young people who know little about food but a lot about ICT, and want to use this knowledge to reduce poverty and improve food security. In 2016 GreenFingers Mobile developed a commercial exchange platform connecting supply from small-scale farmers to demand from parties such as Nando’s South Africa, which seeks a secure supply of good-quality vegetables. Thanks to the platform, smallholders have a guaranteed purchase and get a better price for their products, while both parties avoid middlemen and reduce transaction costs. Currently more than 5,000 farmers are linked to the platform

Hivos’s multi-stakeholder platforms also help to solve problems encountered by the starting entrepreneurs. For example, when the vegetable platform’s planned extension into a digital seed bank was hampered by public policy failures, our multi-stakeholder platform for seed enterprises interacted directly with the responsible government officials, thus addressing policy issues that constrained the growth of the enterprise.


Investment challenges

Looking back at 2016 shows that HII celebrated the promising outlooks, but was also confronted with challenges that it plans to overcome in the next two years. A major challenge touches on the inherent nature and ambitions of our impact investment funds. We dare to invest in countries that are difficult to invest in and in a sector without impressive collateral. The companies we select from our programmes are often young and very innovative, thus also presenting potential investors with a higher risk. Consequently, finding investors for these small and medium enterprises is challenging. Nevertheless, our perseverance paid off: in early 2017, Hivos Alliance2015 partner Welthungerhilfe joined Hivos as an investor in the Hivos Food & Lifestyle Fund.


2016 marked a year of sustainable growth in the private donors department. We continued the successful private donor recruitment programme on LGBT projects, and expanded it with new projects to fund such as biogas and the Age of Wonderland. In addition, we used new techniques such as prospect mailings and SMS donations through Facebook. More than ever, we let our donors know that we are grateful for their support and kept them personally informed about the projects they made possible.


Donations and gifts

Throughout the year we solidly recruited new regular pledge donors, most by face-to-face street fundraising. At the end of the year we had 4,949 active regular pledge donors, which is an increase of 71 percent compared to 2015. Using direct mail, email and telephone, we maintained contact with our donors and requested additional support. Revenue from private donor donations and gifts reached €576,000 in 2016.



In 2016 Hivos received €763,000 from legacies. We are very grateful for these gifts, which contribute significantly to our work. We naturally use these gifts with care and will spend them in line with the donors’ wishes as expressed to us.


North-South Savers

In addition to donations, Dutch citizens also make funds available for development activities in the South through the use of ‘North-South Savings Accounts’ at Triodos Bank. By doing so, they enable loans to small and medium enterprises for sustainable food and energy. The number of savers increased from 11,270 in 2015 to 11,386 in 2016, with a total savings volume of €116.3 million compared to €112 million in 2015. The interest earned in 2016 was €17,606.

In 2017 we will continue our strategy of sustainable growth. To increase our private donors’ involvement with our work, we will communicate clearly about the impact of their personal donations. We do this in various ways including our email newsletter, the People Unlimited Post and our annual private donor event.


One of Hivos’s strategies to innovate for social change is to build platforms for stakeholders from all segments of society, enabling them to jointly come up with workable solutions to persistent problems. In line with this strategy, we increasingly partnered with new and unexpected parties in 2016. Examples of these include the urban planners and street vendors in our Ugandan Food Change Labs, the wind turbine manufacturers on Sumba, and the communication specialists of M&C Saatchi partnering with key population networks in Southern Africa. In 2016 Hivos worked with 445 partner organisations and citizens’ initiatives in 43 countries across Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.


Network partners

Our partner Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) is the world’s primary network focusing on social innovation. Hivos is a member of the Global Council of SIX and organised an Inclusive Cities meeting in Harare in May 2016. This two-day workshop created time and space for explorations on how citizens can become more involved in designing urban spaces and transforming the city into a thriving space that works for all its inhabitants.

Hivos is one of the founders of Alliance2015, and jointly fights poverty with the aligned organisations ACTED, Cesvi, Concern, HELVETAS, People in Need and Welthungerhilfe. Alliance2015 is our principal strategic partnership in Europe; its strength lies in influencing policies and public opinion in Europe through campaigning and advocacy. Hivos also belongs to the Humanist Alliance, a network of Dutch humanist organisations, which includes the Humanist Association, Humanitas, HUMAN Broadcasting and the University of Humanistic Studies.


Triodos Bank

Hivos has worked closely with Triodos Bank since 1994, mainly through the Hivos Triodos Fund (HTF) and the North-South Savings Plan. In 2016 a renewed strategy for the Hivos Triodos Fund (HTF) was adopted. The HTF shifted from supporting microfinance institutions to pioneering loans to small and medium enterprises for sustainable food and energy, further elaborating on Hivos’s innovative strategy. As of 2016 the size of the HTF was €82 million.


A free, fair, sustainable future for the people we and our partners serve, asks for more effectiveness and efficiency. And therefore for more collaboration and for national and international NGO’s to take ownership at local and national level seriously. Only together can we make transformative change possible. ‘ Social innovation calls for local ownership, while global change can only be achieved if we join forces as well as connecting the dots. In 2016 the changing external environment and the launch of our new strategy prompted us to examine whether strategic partnering, a more extensive co-operation with other organisations, was desirable. Our examination consisted of analysing trends in partnering and the development sector, and we made a SWOT analysis of our organisation and our strategy. We then examined how strategic partnering could support the organisation in achieving its goals. Based on the research, we concluded that strategic partnering is worth exploring and we began this at the end of 2016. We will continue our strategic partnering exploration in 2017.