We celebrate HIVOS at 50!

HIVOS was providing GALZ with institutional support for close to two decades during which time the association has grown from a small group of emerging activists to a well-structured institution. The same years were characterised by deep distrust and fear of GALZ on the part of most NGOs who were wary about being tainted by association with an LGBT group.

It was at this time that it was largely homosexuals who were singled out by government for persecution, When Mugabe’s infamous speech and verbal attack on GALZ at the 1995 ZIBF had been disseminated through various media, responses and messages of support for GALZ came from different organisations and groups, among them a press statement from Hivos where it opined that the ban on GALZ “prejudice[d] the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, individual self-determination and equality and for every person to be free from any kind of discrimination, including by reason of the individual’s sexual orientation.”[1]


Hivos’ core support to GALZ has meant that GALZ was able to secure permanent working space for its operations,[2] as well as being able to recruit full-time staff for administrative and programme functions. It was through Hivos’ encouragement that GALZ institutionalised its structure from an informal organisation to a more formal institution with paid staff, a board and clear lines of accountability.

Today HIVOS should stand proud to see its “baby”, GALZ come of age to nurture more offspring and be able to see GALZ stand tall and carry on the HIVOS Agenda of promoting fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, individual self-determination and equality! We share a special place in HIVOS’ proud history

[1] Press statement issued by then Hivos Regional Director for southern Africa, Jan Vossen, on 1 August 1995.

[2] Hivos provided GALZ with significant funding to enable it to purchase the property where its offices are located. For GALZ, owning its property means that they are here to stay.