Hivos International

Hivos Green Society Documents

A selection of key Green Society papers and publications. Click on expand for a summary and to download the documents in pdf.

Read also: Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference

Improving positive impacts of investments on smallholder livelihoods and their landscapes

A new working paper “Improving the positive impacts of investments on smallholder livelihoods and the landscapes they live in“ shows how, and as succinctly as possible. Aimed primarily at investors, in just 15 pages it highlights how to work profitably and equitably with smallholders, and how to promote better land governance and livelihoods. » expand

A new working paper “Improving the positive impacts of investments on smallholder livelihoods and the landscapes they live in“ shows how, and as succinctly as possible. Aimed primarily at investors, in just 15 pages it highlights how to work profitably and equitably with smallholders, and how to promote better land governance and livelihoods. An objective of this paper is to stimulate debate on how to improve positive impacts from investments on smallholder livelihoods and to move from ‘do no harm’ risk mitigation approach towards a ‘do good’ impact approach.

This working paper is the result of a two-year exploration of alternative tenure arrangements and inclusive business models, focusing on improving smallholder livelihoods and tenure security, undertaken by Tropenbos International, FMO – the Dutch Development Bank, Hivos International, and KIT – the Royal Tropical Institute. It is still a ‘work in progress, however, and this ‘version 1.0’ is also being discussed with members of the Land Governance Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue, where the Dutch government, the private sector, NGOs and civil society work together to find solutions that promote inclusive land governance.

 

Agriculture, food systems, diets and nutrition in Zambia

Despite government policy aimed at improving food and nutrition security, Zambia’s food and agriculture system is providing neither food security nor adequate nutrition for all. Seasonal hunger still affects many families, a significant proportion of children still suffer from stunted growth, and overweight and attendant diseases are increasing in adults. What connects the issues of hunger, malnutrition and chronic disease is the availability and accessibility of diverse foods all year round for healthy and sustainable diets. » expand

Despite government policy aimed at improving food and nutrition security, Zambia’s food and agriculture system is providing neither food security nor adequate nutrition for all. Seasonal hunger still affects many families, a significant proportion of children still suffer from stunted growth, and overweight and attendant diseases are increasing in adults. What connects the issues of hunger, malnutrition and chronic disease is the availability and accessibility of diverse foods all year round for healthy and sustainable diets.

This policy brief describes the potential of agriculture and food systems in Zambia to contribute to improving Zambian food and nutrition security, and provides clear policy recommendations on how the food and agriculture sector can better serve the country’s population with sustainable diets for all.

A changemakers guide for future food leaders

New initiatives, start-ups and networks of changemakers are emerging at the grassroots level, harbouring ideas and massive potential to break through. Still, we struggle with enormous challenges: depletion of natural resources, hunger and obesity existing concurrently, climate change, soil erosion and so on. The urgency for a different, more sustainable and equitable food system is felt and recognised by more people every day. » expand
New initiatives, start-ups and networks of changemakers are emerging at the grassroots level, harbouring ideas and massive potential to break through. Still, we struggle with enormous challenges: depletion of natural resources, hunger and obesity existing concurrently, climate change, soil erosion and so on. The urgency for a different, more sustainable and equitable food system is felt and recognised by more people every day.
 
Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN), Hivos and Food Hub came together to create a guide - inspired by the activities co-organised at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016 - that enables activists, practitioners, students or any other person who wants to make a change, to accelerate the transition towards a good, clean and fair food system. The guide showcases a range of inspiring people that operate at the grassroots level around the world and offers concrete tools applicable to different steps in a change process. These tools will help changemakers to create an intervention, campaign, project plan or take creative action as an individual.
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Building Future Food Leaders 20168.33 MB

Beyond Fire: How to Achieve Sustainable Cooking

Across the world, 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels, such as firewood, charcoal or animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking, causing serious adverse consequences for the environment, health, and economic development of the population. » expand

Across the world, 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels, such as firewood, charcoal or animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking, causing serious adverse consequences for the environment, health, and economic development of the population.

Reliance on wood and charcoal for cooking has a number of well-recorded negative effects, including deforestation, soil erosion or loss of biodiversity. Exposure to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels causes 4.3 million premature death according the World Health Organisation.

We need a breakthrough transition towards truly long-term, sustainable solutions which do not leave anyone behind. To inform and push the discussion beyond wood and charcoal-based solutions, this broad analysis on sustainable cooking suggests how the various renewable energy technologies could help accelerate this transition. The goal of this report is not to prove that a particular pathway will ever fully or exclusively replace the use of traditional biomass for cooking purposes: rather, the goal of the report is to critically evaluate the various different technological pathways and the barriers along the way.

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Options for National Governments to Support Smallholder Farmer Seed Systems

Ronnie Vernooy reviews the cases of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Hivos and Bioversity International are concerned about the capacity of resource poor farmers to attain food security and respond to climate change. To strengthen that capacity both organizations give high priority to farmers’ access to diverse, good quality and ecologically adapted seeds. Without such access farmers will face a major challenge to provide diverse food to people and sustain the planet. » expand

Hivos and Bioversity International are concerned about the capacity of resource poor farmers to attain food security and respond to climate change. To strengthen that capacity both organizations give high priority to farmers’ access to diverse, good quality and ecologically adapted seeds. Without such access farmers will face a major challenge to provide diverse food to people and sustain the planet.Hivos and Bioversity International are jointly implementing a programme funded by Open

Society Foundations and the Benefit Sharing Fund of the Plant Treaty (ITPGRFA) to increase farmers’ access to climate smart crops and crop varieties with the help of an open source seed approach. Three types of activities are central in the programme: building viable business cases for open source seed systems; strengthening an emerging global alliance through joint research and learning, and accelerating change in public policy orientation through lobbying and advocacy for open source seed systems.

HIVOS and Bioversity International encourage all readers to join in the current debates on the future of seed management and to explore the possible contribution of open source seeds to more resilient and diverse food systems.

Sustainable Food - A Global Challenge

The existing food system with a focus on large-scale mono-cropping of maize, wheat and rice is eroding ecosystems and crop diversity globally and reducing diversity on our plates. In our vision we need a radical rethinking, recognising ecosystems as the basic foundation of societies and economies. » expand

The existing food system with a focus on large-scale mono-cropping of maize, wheat and rice is eroding ecosystems and crop diversity globally and reducing diversity on our plates. In our vision we need a radical rethinking, recognising ecosystems as the basic foundation of societies and economies.

But we also need to put citizens centre stage to build a new food system. Seeds of the required transformation are emerging worldwide, in local communities, small enterprises launching sustainable food products, through stronger producer–consumer linkages and progressive companies and governments setting ambitious sustainability targets.

Hivos works with these innovators to generate change at both the producer and consumer side. We invest in small and medium eco- and people-friendly enterprises and strengthen the capacity of financial institutions to develop green financial products.

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Food Change Labs: Citizen-driven food transitions

Food systems are changing, driven by urbanisation, trade, climate change and shifts in consumption. One of the big questions therefore is how citizens will be nvolved in the food systems of the future. This is why Hivos and IIED have partnered to take a social innovation or “change lab” approach that puts citizens at the centre of finding solutions to food challenges. » expand

Food systems are changing, driven by urbanisation, trade, climate change and shifts in consumption. One of the big questions therefore is how citizens will be nvolved in the food systems of the future. This is why Hivos and IIED have partnered to take a social innovation or “change lab” approach that puts citizens at the centre of finding solutions to food challenges. Hivos and IIED are convinced that if citizen-driven processes and locally formulated new approaches were to be integrated in global food policies, this could radically improve inclusive and sustainable solutions.

A Food Change Lab is an open space, hub or platform that allows people to co-create innovations that address the complex challenges of the present and future. To support inclusive, green and innovative solutions, Hivos and IIED, in cooperation with their local partners, set up Food Change Labs in Uganda, Zambia and Indonesia.

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Greening Agriculture - Sustainable agriculture finance expansion programme

With the Sustainable Agricultural Finance Expansion Programme, Hivos, Enclude and Triodos Investment Management aimed to enhance access to finance for these smallholder farmers by supporting a selected number of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs). This publication marks the end of this three year programme and presents the lessons learned on the basis of in -depth descriptions of six case studies of MFIs from various continents. » expand

Smallholder farmers are the fundament of our food system. In most regions, they provide for over 70 percent of the food that is being consumed. And like any other entrepreneur, they need access to finance to grow their business. But while the global community heavily relies on them to ensure future food security for a growing population, investors are reluctant to provide the necessary investments. With the Sustainable Agricultural Finance Expansion Programme, Hivos, Enclude and Triodos Investment Management aimed to enhance access to finance for these smallholder farmers by supporting a selected number of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).

This publication marks the end of this three year programme and presents the lessons learned on the basis of in -depth descriptions of six case studies of MFIs from various continents. The programme proved to be highly effective in strengthening the capacity of the selected MFIs to offer agricultural finance to smallholders. Moreover, market opportunities and environmental threats were key drivers to greening finance systems for those MFIs interested in the programme and - in most cases - working on institutional and financial sustainability issues was necessary for the green financial products to become viable.  

The study also showed that many MFIs are not yet aware of the relevance of green (agricultural) finance or do not know how to integrate this into their core business. This growing insight encouraged Hivos and Enclude to develop the Green Performance Agenda, an interactive digital toolkit which helps MFIs to become aware of the relevance of environmental sustainability and to formulate a green agenda for their business.

To conclude, the Sustainable Agricultural Finance Expansion Programme shows what it takes to deal with both smallholder inclusion and environmental sustainability. But it also shows that there is still a long way to go for the MFI sector to truly become a key player in shaping our future food system. Hivos and Enclude are committed to continue to work towards the further greening of the sector by building on the experiences of both the awareness raising potential of the Green Performance Agenda tool and the green financial product development component of the Sustainable Agricultural Finance Expansion Programme. You are most welcome to join us in achieving this ambition!

The diversity of knowledge. Reflections on the Agrobiodiversity@knowledged programme

This report reflects on the results of a three years knowledge programme of Hivos, Oxfam Novib, civil society organisations and academics from around the world. » expand

Despite its importance for food security, smallholder livelihoods and the environment, agricultural biodiversity is disappearing at an alarming rate and with it the knowledge embedded in its management and use. With the Agrobiodiversity@Knowledged Programme, Hivos and Oxfam Novib wanted to contribute to solutions for this unfolding drama. 

This report reflects on the results of a three years knowledge programme of Hivos, Oxfam Novib, civil society organisations and academics from around the world. It reveals stories of change - changes within people and changes within the programmes of their organisations - related to agricultural biodiversity.   

We started exploring the possibility of a ‘knowledge for change’ programme. In collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Centre, we used a resilience theory approach to identify areas in which key civil society actors can act as bridges between different knowledge paradigms and levels of intervention.  It helped us to better understand what needed to happen: indeed, it was not so much the technical knowledge that was lacking to start ‘breaking the glasshouse’, but rather the transformational process guided by this technical knowledge.

Hivos and Oxfam Novib co-created the Agricultural Biodiversity Community (ABC) which became the heart of the programme, and was catalysed by its annual meetings. Each in their own way, the community members are all frontrunners on agricultural biodiversity. They are stepping into the future with ideas built on their vast knowledge of local realities of millions of smallholder farmers. Enabling people to move forward is for us the largest achievement of this programme.

We now know much more about how change happens.  We know that nurturing a process of transformation is a skill in itself that merits reflection. This document contributes to such reflections. It is not meant to be an evaluation. Rather, the aim is twofold: (1) to learn from the experiences of programme partners; and (2) to make these insights available to others with an interest in both knowledge for social change and knowledge development around agrobiodiversity.

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Coffee Landscapes

Just in time for the climate conference in Paris in December 2015, the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht came with convincing evidence that shaded organic systems have great potential to combine the twin challenges of local socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation. » expand

How can smallholders in coffee-landscapes better deal with climate change? That is an important question for Hivos. Just in time for the climate conference in Paris in December 2015, the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht came with convincing evidence that shaded organic systems have great potential to combine the twin challenges of local socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation. It dispels myths on loss of productivity due to biodiversity conservation. Shade-grown organic coffee, value-added agroforestry products and the carbon-offset market are examples of commercial activities that seem to have the potential to provide substantial biodiversity and socio-economic benefits in addition to financial returns.

Biodiversity is the cornerstone of our very existence. Also in agricultural systems, biodiversity plays an important role in providing important goods and services to farmers, for example in crop pollination and maintenance of soil fertility. In coffee cultivation systems, layers of shade trees used to be very common. Shade trees play a key role in providing timber and fruits, storing carbon, maintaining a favourable microclimate, and harbouring biodiversity. Nevertheless, coffee farmers across the tropics have often removed these shade trees, in search of higher coffee productivity. The question was whether this presumed higher productivity of full-sun coffee cultivation, has also brought farmers the desired economic advantages and benefits.

The research was building on earlier research commissioned by Hivos. Based on a case study of 30 biodiversity businesses, Copernicus Institute argued that these businesses not only deliver in conventional economic terms but also in ecological and social terms. The main bottleneck identified for a growth in the number of biodiversity businesses was access to suitable finance. Since then, Hivos has created several financial products: A green inclusive finance programme (MFIs), the pioneer accelerator programme and Procif, a graduation programme for sustainable producer organisations. In collaboration with Triodos Bank, it has also revisited the focus of the Hivos-Triodos Fund since 2011 to invest more in sustainable SMEs.

The latest research results will guide our future programmes in coffee landscapes.

Biogas Saves Lives and the Environment

Health and Climate Benefits of Clean Cooking » expand

Household air pollution is a silent killer. It affects the health of 40 percent of people worldwide because of their reliance on solid fuels for cooking. Around 3 billion people still cook using solid fuels - such as firewood, charcoal and coal - over open fires or with poorly sealed stoves. The WHO estimates that this results in 4.3 million premature deaths annually, mainly in low and middle income countries.

Biogas is a clean and renewable cooking fuel. Domestic biogas is an ideal renewable energy option for rural households with livestock. Together with public and private sector partners, Hivos and SNV support the growth of a viable, market-oriented biogas sector in Africa and South East Asia. Since 2009, 45,000 biogas digesters have been installed in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso), 23,000 in Cambodia and 16,000 in Indonesia through our joint domestic biogas programmes. The digesters are of high quality with an estimated lifetime of 20 years, requiring little maintenance. They have brought healthy kitchens and green fields to nearly 500,000 people.

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Biogas and Household Air Quality: Impact of biogas stoves versus wood-fired stoves in Rural Cambodia

2015 Study on Household Air Quality and Estimated Health Improvement of users of Biogas Stoves versus Wood-fired Stoves in Rural Cambodia. » expand

The study showed that biogas reduces PM2.5 levels, with a reduction of around 36% reduction in exposure and 88% reduction in kitchen concentrations. CO levels are also much lower, but in most cases, including the baseline households lower than the 24-hour WHO guidelines. Short-term exposure to CO (≤ 1 hour) however remained too high for almost a quarter of the baseline households.

The study was also able to provide evidence that biogas stoves results in decreased PM2.5 and CO emissions; and that the high levels of HAP in biogas households may be attributable to the ambient air pollution. The study therefore concludes that biogas is a part of the solution to address HAP, but that the current scale and the focus on clean energy for cooking alone is not sufficient to bring the overall levels of PM2.5 near the WHO guidelines. Tackling this requires a community based approach that focusses on clean energy, addresses the ubiquitous problem with the inefficient burning of households and garden waste, the clearing of agricultural land by burning the crop waste and artisanal rice and palm sugar production.

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Payments for Ecosystem Services in smallholder agriculture: lessons from the Hivos-IIED learning trajectory

Carbon Finance for Smallholders? Is it viable? This synthesis report presents highlights from six projects which are part of the joint Hivos-IIED PES Learning Trajectory Programme in five countries – Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Peru – that are exploring the use of carbon projects in smallholder farming. » expand

Carbon Finance for Smallholders? Is it viable? This synthesis report presents highlights from six projects which are part of the joint Hivos-IIED PES Learning Trajectory Programme in five countries – Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Peru – that are exploring the use of carbon projects in smallholder farming.  Through this research IIED and Hivos explore the feasibility of payments for ecosystem services (PES) as incentives to promote a shift to sustainable smallholder agriculture. Results from this research are published in the Payments for Ecosystem Services in Smallholder Agriculture series.

We focus on practical learning from existing smallholder and community PES projects linked to energy and agroforestry activities. Working with local partners and project practitioners, we analyse the opportunities, challenges, strategies and potential ‘no-go’ areas in a pre-selected group of smallholder projects and analyse them within the global context of wider learning on what works and what does not in PES. Based directly on lessons drawn from our partner studies, we adapt the LINK methodology tools developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), to understand if and how PES and carbon approaches can help smallholders successfully enter and benefit from existing markets.

Seeds and Ideas: Food as a Method in Development Practice

Ideas seem to happen to us. Like the flashing light bulb in a cartoon. The intention behind this paper is to explore how new ideas that exist outside the mainstream discussions about development can be brought into its narrative and influence its course. And, how food in general, and agricultural biodiversity in particular, can help facilitate this process. » expand

Ideas seem to happen to us. Like the flashing light bulb in a cartoon. The intention behind this paper is to explore how new ideas that exist outside the mainstream discussions about development can be brought into its narrative and influence its course. And, how food in general, and agricultural biodiversity in particular, can help facilitate this process.

The authors, Jamila Haider and Frederik van Oudenhoven, begin the paper with a testimony of their own blindness while working in the Pamirs, the mountains between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Only after two years, a question dawned. Why, in a region where 153 varieties of wheat are grown, is simple white bread the only thing made with it? In a culture that is so deeply rooted in agricultural traditions, where did all the food go?  The authors explain why  speaking about food helped them to understand more of the difficulties of Pamiri life, and more of its beauty, and to see these in a light that went beyond resource scarcity or war, themes usually associated with this part of the world. Ideas emerged but very few of these ideas were reflected in the development efforts being implemented. Why weren’t they there? The remainder of this article seeks to find an answer to that question, and a possible remedy.

‘Thought for Food’ series, February 2015

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The Global Challenge of Green and Fair Food Systems

A growing world population, combined with rising income levels, puts enormous challenges on our global food system. How will we feed the world, equally distributing risks and benefits, and still safeguard our planet for future generations? The answer lies in the following factsheets on Hivos’ smart solutions. » expand

A growing world population, combined with rising income levels, puts enormous challenges on our global food system. How will we feed the world, equally distributing risks and benefits, and still safeguard our planet for future generations? The answer lies in the following factsheets  on Hivos’ smart solutions.

Involving all stakeholders in Hivos’ smart solutions

In Hivos’ vision, we need a radical rethinking to recognise ecosystems as the basic foundation of societies and economies. With potentially game-changing solutions that can be brought to scale, Hivos challenges existing mindsets and encourages governments and companies to change their policies and practices. We engage critically with the financial dynamics around food. We strongly believe in the capacity of people to innovate and their power to transform systems and involve all stakeholders: local communities, individual frontrunners, civil society organisations, governments and the private sector.

  • Hivos has set up a collaboration with over 100,000 coffee smallholders and international private sector players in East Africa. Read about our family, youth and gender programmes in the ‘Coffee: a Family Affair’ and ‘Coffee & Gender’ factsheets.
  • Hivos invests in small and medium eco-friendly enterprises and strengthens the capacity of financial institutions to mainstream green performance and develop green financial products. Business models based on a mix of financial instruments will ensure sustainability and scaling up. Find out more in the ‘Bridging the Green Pioneer Gap’ and ‘Transforming Small Producer Organisations into Enterprises’ factsheets.

 

Green Energy Powered by People

In 2014, the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) began. Hivos has a long history of contributing to the ambitious SE4ALL-goals, with an innovative approach that involves all stakeholders. Read our factsheets and booklet on biogas (and the Dutch approach) for clean cooking solutions, lighting and health; and co-creating energy ecosystems. » expand

In 2014, the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) began. International development organisation Hivos has a long history of contributing to the ambitious SE4ALL-goals, with an innovative approach that involves all stakeholders. Read our factsheets and booklet on biogas (and the Dutch approach) for clean cooking, lighting and health; and co-creating energy ecosystems.

Involving all stakeholders in Hivos’ smart solutions

At Hivos we know sustainable change can only be delivered in meaningful partnerships. Therefore we invite all stakeholders to actively contribute, from governments, international institutions, businesses and civil society organisations to local communities. Together we can co-create a long-term strategy that encompasses all energy needs for households (including clean cooking solutions), businesses and public services, and that empowers people to regain control over their own energy supply. Find out about some of these projects in the factsheets below.

  • Hivos develops viable climate-smart solutions that can directly provide large numbers of people with renewable energy and at the same time convince people, governments and the private sector of the benefits. We initiate large-scale, marketbased programmes using carbon finance as an additional source of income. Read about it in our ‘Biogas: Clean Cooking and Lighting’ factsheet. And read about the health benefits of biogas in our ‘Biogas can save lives’ factsheet.
  • We realise area-based multi-stakeholder initiatives such as Iconic Island Sumba, a bold and ambitious programme to showcase how people on a poor, remote island can take on their own development, facilitated by a supply of 100 per cent renewable energy. Read about it in our ‘Sumba: Co-creating Energy Ecosystems’ factsheet.
  • Hivos stresses the importance of biogas as the 'cleanest' solution. Dutch public and private actors have joined hands to tackle in-house air pollution by promoting Clean Cooking Solutions. Together we strive for healthy living conditions, especially for women, and less environmental damage due to deforestation. This approach offers great opportunities for carbon market development and innovations geared towards the cleanest solutions! See the booklet Dutch Approach for Clean Cooking Solutions.

Gender mainstreaming in Hivos’ domestic biogas and improved cook stoves programmes

This paper contributes to the discussion on a gender mainstreaming policy and strategy for Hivos programmes on renewable energy, by focusing on two key activities: improved cook stoves and domestic biogas. » expand

This paper contributes to the discussion on a gender mainstreaming policy and strategy for Hivos programmes on renewable energy, by focusing on two key activities: improved cook stoves and domestic biogas. In this paper, cooking energy and lighting are the two main focal programme areas of Hivos in renewable energy, since this is where Hivos experiences lie and these can have the biggest impact at household level.

This paper is structured in the following manner: first, a concise framework for analyzing gender and renewable energy is given, then a general overview on gender and renewable energy is presented based on a literature review, followed by an analysis of Hivos experiences. Subsequently, policy recommendations for Hivos policy on gender mainstreaming in relation to renewable energy are given.

For this paper, lessons on gender mainstreaming -coming from both Hivos own experience3 as well as from other actors- have been used. A brief review of relevant literature was part of the methodology, as well as interviews with key Hivos staff. A follow-up discussion within Hivos is foreseen, for which this paper is one of the inputs.

The aim of this paper is to determine which results can(not) be achieved through gender mainstreaming, both at the programme level and towards the objective of improving women’s position and how these lessons can be fed into current and future programmes on renewable energy.

Renewable energy in the hands of people

Years ago, Hivos opted to aim for an ambitious goal of promoting 100% renewable energy worldwide. In the new brochure in English and Spanish, Renewable Energy in the Hands of People, Hivos show not only how to achieve that goal, but also the contributions Hivos itself is making. » expand

Years ago, Hivos opted to aim for an ambitious goal of promoting 100% renewable energy worldwide. In the new brochure in English and Spanish, Renewable Energy in the Hands of People, Hivos show not only how to achieve that goal, but also the contributions Hivos itself is making: irrigation powered by solar panels, hydropower for light in the dark and biogas to avoid harmful fumes from cookstoves. In all this, decentralised renewable energy generation is the solution, but action is needed. With the proper technology and financing, even more super storms like Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history, can be prevented.

Key Focal Areas