Hivos International


There is a need to promote the consumption of a variety of foods in Zambia, according to Frank Mechielsen, Hivos’ Senior Sustainable Diets for All Programme Manager. In Zambia, many people cannot access healthy and diverse foods. To complicate matters, the Zambian government has traditionally concentrated on promoting the cultivation of maize at the expense of other crops.

Nutrition; food systems; sustainable diets


Buikwe District is located in the central part of Uganda. With approximately 98,000 households engaged directly or indirectly in small-scale farming, agriculture is the district’s main economic activity.

New collaboration between Hivos and GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition)

When you ask people what comes to mind when they think of “sustainable food”, they generally say things like health, nutrition or the environment. Sometimes they also mention affordability, safety and diversity. Surprisingly, taste is often missing from this list. In fact, sustainable food is perceived as being ‘flavorless, boring, bland’, or in short, not tasty.

‘’Farmers, too, have a voice in food security.’’ This comment represents some of the conversations during an open source seeds forum in Nakuru County on 15 to 17 March 2017 convened by Hivos East Africa, Bioversity International, Genetic Resources Research Institute and Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management – Africa.

Idea Jam is an integral part of the Social Entrepreneurship Support Initiative, a six-month pilot project spearheaded by Hivos and Coworkinc aiming to support social entrepreneurs through capacity building. Started in February, Hivos and Coworkinc will conduct Idea Jam “pressure cooker” sessions and pop-up consultation hours at Coworkinc on a monthly basis.

On International Women's Day 2017, Hivos celebrates the achievements of our programmes and partners in driving change for women and helping accelerate gender parity across the world. Together we are creating a gender inclusive green society, where women and men have equal access to – and control over - renewable energy and sufficient, nutritious and affordable food.

The urgency for future food leaders is evident. We struggle with enormous challenges in our global food system, such as depletion of natural resources, concurrent hunger and obesity, climate change and soil erosion. Against the backdrop of this crisis, new initiatives, start-ups and networks of changemakers are emerging at the grassroots level with innovative ideas and massive potential to break through.

Small-scale farmers in Uganda are selling their crops without reserving enough for local consumption. They concentrate all their efforts on selling their produce, which leads them to buy the most affordable, yet less nutritious, food products for personal intake. This has contributed to increased malnutrition in the Kabarole region.

On 26 November 2015, Hivos and Fairfood gathered Dutch stakeholders from the agro-food sector to develop and experiment with innovative solutions for living wages in their supply chains.

Climate change is already having an impact on agriculture with severe implications for food security, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

During this year’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin from 22-26 September, Hivos partnered with Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) and Food Hub to offer a side event for young food activists from around the world.  Together we offered tools, examples and inspiration for future food leaders against a backdrop of the many transitions starting to unfold in the wor

Royal Quinoa: Unique and Sustainable

Walking into a room in Uyuni Bolivia and not feeling cold is an unusual experience. With an average June temperature below zero degrees Celsius, the air feels chilly even at massive events. Nevertheless, this 2nd of June, during the forum “Royal Quinoa: Towards a Participative Agenda in Bolivia”, a wave of warmth spread throughout the venue. It came from the beaming faces of 250 very satisfied quinoa producers.

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.

Women street food vendor in Fort Portal

“We feed Sudan, so it is absurd that we still have malnutrition in Fort Portal.”

Climate parade in Amsterdam, 29 November 2015

In association with the Climate Action Network and other CSOs.

Street food vendor

The municipality of Fort Portal, in partnership with Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), IIED and Hivos, is organising the first People’s Summit on Food on 20 and 21 April 2016 in Fort Portal, Uganda. The People’s Summit will bring together politicians, street food vendors, farmers, nutrition experts and other actors from the local food system.

The sudden escalating temperatures in Kenya have had a disastrous effect on crops. Besides the thousands who are currently grappling with hunger, Small Medium Enterprises (SME) farmers have suffered the scourge of the unreliable weather patterns.

Black Cockles

On March 19th, Hivos joined Earth Hour from South America. Instead of turning the lights off, the intention was to shine a bright light on an urgent matter and invite thousands of people to take a virtual tour of the mangroves of the region’s Pacific coast. We are talking about the harvesting of black cockles, one of the region’s most important types of commercial mollusk.

A historic climate agreement was adopted in Paris on 12 December 2015. Historic because all 195 nations participated and indicated the steps they will take to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

Climate change will define what the world will look like in the future. Not merely with regards to environmental impacts, but also socially and politically. Scarcity of natural resources can also lead to conflicts and security issues.

Alliance2015 members’ expectations for the outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention in Paris

It is anticipated that after decades of negotiation, the international community will finally acknowledge the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and commit to a transformation of production and consumption patterns.

Hivos invites you to join us in Paris on 5 December at the session we are hosting during the Global Landscapes Forum, the largest side event of the Paris Climate conference.

Following up on our ‘Provocative Seminar on Food’ in May 2015, more than 100 participants from around the world with different backgrounds gathered to find solutions for the future of our food system in October at our ‘Future Food Seminar’.

How often do we reflect on the food on our table and how it was produced? What systems brought it to us? Can we be sure it is safe and healthy? World Food Day is a good opportunity for us to seriously reflect on the food we eat everywhere in the world, and especially in Indonesia.

Age of Wonderland is a programme based on mutual knowledge exchanges between creative practitioners within Hivos’ global network and the creative high-tech community in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The 2015 edition (from 17 to 25 October 2015) will be addressing the intertwined and complex issues around our global food system, challenging creative practitioners to reflect upon the processes of food production, consumption and distribution.

‘Sustainable Diets’ is a Hivos-supported video channel presenting interesting short films about new ways of producing, distributing, cooking and consuming food. But not just any kind of food. Here the focus is on healthy, diverse and sustainable food.

After nearly three years of open global consultations, the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) were adopted by UN member states at a special summit convened at the UN headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 September during the annual meeting of the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The SDGs will replace the millennium development goals as the new goals to be accomplished by 2030.  

EXPO Milano takes place from May 1 to October 31. The EXPO serves as a platform to exchange and share solutions on the theme of food.  Countries and international organisations showcase their ideas for guaranteeing the supply of healthy, safe food for everyone while respecting the planet’s limits.

To help tackle the complex challenge of food security, the University of Leiden and the Dutch Foreign Ministry organised the Data4Food Challenge hackathon on 11 to 13 September. The event brought together over fifty policy experts, ICT-experts, designers, academics, innovators, creatives and entrepreneurs to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams and develop data-driven innovations that can enhance food security.

"I have learned new things that will change my life even at this old age of 70, I will do things differently from now on," said Joel Mweeba, village elder, farmer and former educator. Mr Mweeba is one of the 23 Food Change Lab participants who took part in the kick-off workshop in Chongwe, Zambia last week.

Under the name SAFE (‘Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment’), a new platform for Latin America and the Caribbean will enable 150,000 regional smallholder farmers to benefit more from their participation in national and global supply chains and develop their resilience to climate change and other external threats.

Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) are looking for a partner to lead an exciting new social change process for a fairer, greener local food system in Bandung, Indonesia. Please see the documents box to the right to download this advertisement in both BAHASA and ENGLISH.

In Zambia's Chongwe district, approximately 45 kilometres east of the capital city Lusaka, smallholder agriculture is under threat due to the wanton cutting down of trees and unpredictable rainfall patterns. In 2005 and 2006, survey results revealed that up to 30 per cent of the bare land in Chongwe district has resulted from deforestation by charcoal‐makers.

Twelve South African green entrepreneurs recently completed a four-month-long Green Pioneer Acceleration Programme (GPA). Eleven of them pitched their businesses and investment needs to an audience of over 40 potential investors at a Venture Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa.

This month, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders agreed “urgent and concrete action is needed to address climate change” and said it was “committed to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

In May 2015 at the “Provocative Seminar on Food: Challenging our Current Food System”, experts from around the world gave their perspectives on the food system in 2020. The seminar was organised in the context of Age of Wonder­land, a social innovation programme jointly developed by Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and the Dutch Design Week.

The development of environmentally friendly, economically viable and socially just agricultural production is indeed possible. The project “Articulación Agroecológica” has demonstrated this in five municipalities in Cuba.

Demanding supply: Putting ordinary citizens at the heart of future energy systems

Our energy systems are in transition. However, mainstream debates on energy futures tend to have a common blindspot: the focus is on energy sources, market regulation, security, demand, price and the environment, but the role of ordinary people in these systems is left out.

On 7 and 8 April 2015, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia, Sudirman Said, conducted a field visit to the island of Sumba in order to monitor the implementation and the progress of the Sumba Iconic Island (SII) programme. Hivos in Southeast Asia accompanied the minister, the Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Stig Traavig, and other officials.

Over 200 people attended the “Hacia un consumo sano y nutritivo: Dietas sostenibles en Bolivia”, or “Moving toward healthy and nutritious consumption: Sustainable Diets in Bolivia” Forum, organized on 29 April 2015 by Hivos and the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE in Spanish). The event enjoyed the backing of the Ministry of Rural Development and Land, the Bolivian Gastronomic Integration Movement (MIGA in Spanish) and the Fundación Alternativas.

Do you know why it’s better to consume green products? This is just one of the important questions about sustainable food answered by the “Yo como verde” ­(I eat green) project, an initiative promoted by Hivos in Costa Rica and Guatemala.

In April 2013, Hivos announced a new strategic direction for after 2015 that would involve thoroughly re-examining Hivos’ strategy and equipping the organisation for a more uncertain environment.

Time for change

The World Bank Group has invited Hivos to participate in the "Enabling the Business of Agriculture" (EBA) study which is envisioned as a tool to inform and encourage policy change in the agricultural sector.

On 30 January 2015, Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen announced her strategic partners for advocacy and policy influencing during the period 2016-2020. Hivos is pleased to be involved in two of the 25 partnerships selected for the new ‘Dialogue and Dissent’ programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos are pleased to announce the entrepreneurs selected to participate in the 2015 Green Pioneer Acceleration Programme.

MUD Jeans was chosen by their peers as the winner of the Investment Ready Program and has won an investment of 50,000 euros. The fashion label that has introduced the “circular economy” in the fashion industry has significantly sharpened their customer appeal during the program and aims to significantly grow its retail market share in the coming years.

Update: The deadline for submtting proposals has been extended to 14 February!

The 2015 edition of Age of Wonderland will be addressing the intertwined and complex issues around our global food system, challenging creative practitioners to reflect upon the processes of food production, consumption and distribution.

New technologies have the power to change lives in powerful and creative ways. Hivos supports social initiatives that employ ICT technologies for social good, such as the Jakarta Open Data Challenge (#HACKJAK) and the

The first gender inclusion toolkit for the coffee sector has been released today, a joint collaboration between the Sustainable Coffee Programme, Hivos and Agri-Pro-Focus, to address the inequalities that women and youth in the coffee supply chain experience in terms of access to training, land ownership, inputs and income. These constraints create a generation unmotivated to remain in coffee farming, which poses a great threat to coffee production as a whole.


A new project in Zimbabwe, bringing together farmers, the government, academics, researchers, private sector players and non-profits, is looking at how a relatively rare crop in the country, cassava, can be turned into a commercially viable national venture.

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics after rice and maize and is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people (FAO).

Let's co-create green villages powered by renewable energy and productive landscapes

Call for Proposals for Private Sector Partnership in Innovation to co-create Green Villages, powered by renewable energy and productive landscapes in Chongwe District, Lusaka Province. Zambia.

Hivos and three local partner organizations in Zambia; Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), Dairy Association of Zambia (DAZ) and Micro Bankers Trust (MBT) have teamed up to develop a programme based on the concept of green principles. 

Kenyan farmer

The mission and overall objective of Agri-ProFocus (APF) is to create spaces and opportunities for multi-stakeholder action and learning possibilities about the enhancement of entrepreneurship among organised farmers.

A joint research by two Kenyan universities has established that most fruits and vegetables sold in the country contain a cocktail of harmful pesticides and heavy metals that exceed safe levels.

Climate change puts coffee production under great strain: development organisations, private sector and certifiers are now feeling the urgent need to increase their collaboration. This is one of the results of the Sustainable Coffee Conference ‘The heat is on’, organised by Hivos on 3 July in Amsterdam.

Uganda coffee farmer

The Sustainable and Secure Smallholder Systems @ Scale, commonly known as  4S@Scale, started  operations in Uganda on 1 July 2014.

Climate change puts coffee production under great strain: Coffee Barometer 2014

Plastic bottles piles up for recycling in Uganda.

The concept is really simple one once you hear it. If a business is getting access to microfinance, how can its financial process become more environmentally friendly? How can the transaction be not only about how the money is used and paid back, but also about how the business incorporates processes that are good for the environment?

Jonah Chimusoro picks Moringa leaves at his farm

Spend a day with Zimbabwean farmer, Jonah Chimusoro, and you will be struck by several things.  The first is his obvious passion for what he does as he explains how everything on his farm works together, in a symbiotic cycle of sustainability.

A team from the Hivos Regional Office in Southern Africa recently visited his farm, and a tour meant to last a few hours ended up taking the whole day.

A plot of land in Chongwe, Zambia

About 45 Km east of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, is the rural district of Chongwe where the main source of income for the over 138,000 inhabitants is agricultural activity. 

Due to its proximity to the city, the area is a prime source of firewood used as an energy source by many Lusaka dwellers. As the city has grown, so has the demand for food. This has also meant that even more forests are cleared to make way for farmland to grow crops.

SustainabilityXchange is the latest innovation in sustainable value chain development that facilitates interaction, knowledge and resource sharing among supply chain actors and technical assistance providers.

The National Biogas Program was officially launched in Nicaragua on the 10th of April 2014. Through campaigns under the motto “Biogas, energy to thrive”, the program is educating Nicaragua’s population on the benefits of biogas.

Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) have entered into a strategic partnership to provide insight, evidence and guidance for improving sustainable food systems and access to energy in developing and emerging countries. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at our The Hague Head Office on January 22.

The Hivos Green Entrepreneurship programme has engaged in various pilot biofuel projects in the recent past, mostly involving the Jatropha plant. These aimed to provide additional cash income for small-scale farmers who grow the crops, and may have additional aims, such as adapting engines, converting the pure plant oil into bio-diesel, or even broader goals such as providing the community with renewable energy or fostering the independence of the local economy.

Kenyan coffee farmer

Over ninety thousand small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania stand to benefit from the 4S@Scale programme that will see their farms being managed as business units.

Gold Standard Foundation (GS), together with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ) and Fairtrade International, is organising a side event, ‘Certifying ecosystem services in forestry and agriculture: Ensuring genuine MRV and social and environmental integrity at landscapes level’, on November 16, 2013 during the Global Landscape’s Forum, parallel to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties nr. 19 in Warsaw.

A section of Maber Musika

EMkambo is one of those rare, relatively small projects whose success has benefitted a whole nation. Started in 2012, with support from Hivos, the project seeks to do one seemingly simple thing; to keep track of Zimbabwe’s agricultural commodities data.

Organic Farmers in Guatemala are positioning themselves to benefit from the carbon markets. The Educational Cooperation for Costa Rican Development (CEDECO) has succeeded in establishing the first link between a small organic farmer organization and the voluntary carbon market.

In recent years, Hivos has supported the greening of the microfinance industry as new global issues emerged, such climate change, which have led Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to reconsider their position and tackle environmental issues. Many have decided to continue pursuing their financial and social objectives, while also contributing positively to environmental concerns.

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.

Open and Green

An innovative approach to bring 'state' and 'street' closer together

Lifetime winners of the Social Impact Awards

Three Hivos partners won awards at the 2012 Times of India 'Social Impact' Awards held on 28 January 2013. Widespread and tangible impact, which has the quality of changing lives forever, is the key criterion for these awards.

On behalf of Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (SECO), Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Utz Certified and 4 C Association, Hivos is pleased to invite you to tender for the Sustainability Standards Resource Centre (SSRC). If you

"'Cooperatives are having to compete. There are more buyers in the  countryside looking to supply national and global demand. Roads are  better and mobile phones are spreading. Youth has new aspirations and  off-farm opportunities; so wages are pushed up and migration causes  labour shortages. All these elements have profound implications for farmers' choices, and organisations’ competitiveness."

Key Focal Areas