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New Hivos East Africa programme calls for inclusion of marginalised and discriminated voices!

Nairobi, Friday 9 December, 2016. Hivos East Africa in conjunction with Oxfam Novib today launched a programme in the lead up to the International Human Rights Day which is observed every year on 10th December to commemorate the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Events around the world at this particular time usually focus on the call for humanity especially when it comes to marginalised groups such as refugees, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities or anyone at the risk of discrimination or violence. To tackle this problem, Hivos East Africa and Oxfam Novib have joined critical global voices to advocate for human rights through a new initiative dubbed Voice.

The launch held in Nairobi, drew participants from government, donor communities, missions, embassies, religious groups, civil society and diverse voices from marginalised communities with a visionary blue-print of charting a new cause that will empower humanity.

During the kick-off, the first in-country call for proposals was also unveiled to invite marginalised groups to submit their interests in line with the programme’s vision and priorities.

Speaking during the launch, the East Africa Voice Programme Coordinator, Ruth Kimani noted that the kick-off of the new programme is taking place at a historic moment, ‘’Inequality is a problem that affects everyone and generations to come. We cannot afford continue to muzzle groups that will always be amongst us. It’s time to take a stand, forge for what is right and say no to intolerance,’’ she said.

Voice is an innovative grant facility that will support the most marginalised and discriminated people in ten low and lower –middle income countries in Africa and Asia. Hivos East Africa leads the programme implementation in in Kenya and Tanzania. It aims to amplify and connect unheard voices in an effort to leave no one behind.

The programme will target five groups that are amongst the most excluded and disenfranchised simply because of who they are. With a major focus on women and youth, Voice will focus on: persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, women facing exploitation and abuse, the youth, elderly, indigenous and ethnic groups.

To empower these groups and have their voices heard and respected, Voice will strengthen the capacity for lobby and advocacy of civil society organisations and representatives of these groups. This ranges from community-based organisations, youth groups and local movements to labour unions, CSOs, farmers’ organisations and larger networks.

Voice will focus on the following priorities thematically:
• Improved access to (productive) resources (finance, land and water) and employment:
• Improved access to social services, health and education in particular:
• Space for political participation

During the past two decades, much has been done to champion for the cause of oppressed groups through legal rights, social inclusion, political participation and economic empowerment. But much still remains to achieve equality in a world flawed with many problems such as disrespect for basic human rights and the rise of extremist movements that subject people to horrific violence.

About Voice
Voice was created with the specific objective to give people that are not reached by current development interventions a voice and make sure their demands are heard by policy makers. Voice is part of the Dialogue and Dissent agenda of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is a consortium jointly executed by Hivos and Oxfam Novib.

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