Diakonia - People change the world
In the DRC, Diakonia supports the women’s organization AFEM. Through broadcasting radio programmes, AFEM informs women about their rights and conducts workshops about women’s rights to their own bodies. Photo: Joakim Roos

Diakonia characteristics

Diakonia works close to strategic processes, both in developing and developed countries. We have a participatory approach and a pro-active agenda to alter systems and structures that generate and maintain poverty.

5/21/2014 Publisher: Eva Åberg

Close to the processes, both in the developing and developed countries

The main part of Diakonia’s staff works in or near the countries where partners operate. Diakonia’s decentralised organization - with both regional and country offices - facilitates a partnership characterised by trust, contextual analysis, strategic choice of partners and projects, identification of partners’ needs for capacity building, linking between partners, and to communication work in Sweden, as well as planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes.

Participatory approach

Just as the rights holders’ qualitative participation is at the core of the projects Diakonia supports, so is participation a leading principle in all internal processes in Diakonia. As much as possible partners also participate in Diakonia’s planning and monitoring, to guarantee ownership and quality.

For all partners a certain match between our identities is required in the sense that values and priorities are shared, but beyond that the relation is in reality very much characterised by a give and take ending up in mutual influence and learning.

What is important is that Diakonia’s opinions and analyses contribute to partners’ and rights holders’ perspectives on the work, rather than jeopardising their sense of ownership over the projects. Without local ownership, the projects cannot be considered socially sustainable.

Proactive agenda to alter what generate and maintain poverty

In Diakonia’s long-term work for change focus is put on changing the structures that generate and maintain poverty.

Our programmes should not merely deliver direct benefits to poor and discriminated women and men, but also address the root causes of the problems experienced.

Also, in our advocacy work we do not merely react on others agendas and proposals, but proactively tries to influence the agenda and propose alternative solutions.

Diakonia believes that the Strategy for Change and a Rights based approach (RBA) is highly conducive to socially sustainable development, as it recognises discriminated individuals/groups and victims of violations as right holders.

By putting focus on empowering people to demand what is rightfully theirs and on the duty bearers’ obligation to grant the rights, the approach not only provides the legal framework and tools to pursue change. It also seeks to empower the rights holders to be the protagonists of the change and to be owners of this process.

Finally as the outcomes and impacts are closely linked to the legal system the changes achieved run a fair chance of being sustainable.