Hivos International

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During the week of 8 March - International women's Day - Hivos is sharing stories of some of the amazing and powerful women we support worldwide. This year's theme is: “Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

The Samburu tribe is a proud cattle-keeping community in Kenya widely known for their colourful dress and cultural traditions. ‘Samburu’ means butterfly in English. Yet this fancy-free creature also describes a community where the women mostly stay at home, raise children and depend on their husband’s income to run the household.

In 2014, I was struck by a CNN interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Nigeria’s finance minister, in which she was asked about her country’s new draconian anti-LGBT law which had been signed just two months before. The “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act”  criminalized public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricted the work of LGBTI organizations.

Two of the most controversial issues in Latin America have resurfaced recently due to the decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that recognises same-sex marriage and the right for Trans people to choose their gender identity as inherent rights.

World AIDS day on December 1 is always a global opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV. Back in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. As Hivos, we acknowledge our support and respect for people living with HIV and remember the many people we have worked with and those who have needlessly passed away. 

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How does it feel to grow up in a completely different environment as a transwoman? In 2007, all of the Netherlands could peer into the life of Amsterdam model and DJ Valentijn de Hingh (27). She had been regularly followed from the age of seven until seventeen for the movie “Boyhood” by the documentary filmmaker Hetty Nietsch, making her a role model for many transgender people.

Over these last couple of months, Latin America has been vibrating and changing: we’ve gone from celebration to mourning, from anger to relief in a matter of days. Just one month ago, we awoke to the news of a murder attempt against our friend David Valle, LGBTI community leader in Honduras and member of Somos CDC, a partner organization of Hivos.

This is the question we sought to answer on 5 July 2017 when we congregated in Nairobi with various stakeholders across sectors during the launch of the colorful workplaces programme. I must say I was quite nervous when we were putting this event together. I wondered how it would be received by different people especially those in the private sector. 

Photographs by Ángel Damián Reyes / Text by Ángel Damián Reyes and Alonso Jiménez

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Within the first week of assuming office, US President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. Simply, this policy prohibits any entity that receives US Government (USG) funding from carrying out any abortion-related activity, regardless of the source of funds. 

On 26 January 2017, Lebanese LGBT activists celebrated a significant victory. For the fourth time in the past eight years, a Lebanese judge ruled that homosexuality was not illegal, applying a liberal interpretation of the Lebanese penal code. The abolition of the legal article in question, no. 534, which criminalizes sexual acts contradictory to the ‘laws of nature’, has long been the aim of Hivos’ partner Helem, a local LGBT rights grassroots organization.

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Key Focal Areas

  • Hivos started working on HIV in the early 90’s, approaching the epidemic with a broad development and human rights perspective.

  • Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services can be extremely challenging in low-and-middle-income countries.

  • Inequality is a global problem that equally affects the prospects of children and adults, men and women, gay and straight, healthy and disabled.