Diakonia has several mainstreamed areas that permeate all relevant parts of our work. The areas are the human rights perspective, the gender equality perspective, an HIV and AIDS perspective, a conflict perspective, an environmental perspective. We also have a pro-active work on anti-corruption mainstreamed into all parts of our actions.
A rights based approach and human rights perspective
Diakonia believes that a rights based approach is highly conducive to socially and economically sustainable development as it recognizes the discriminated individuals or 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 change and to be owners of this process.
Gender equality perspective
Men and women experience poverty differently and ignoring these differences risks further entrenching poverty and the subordination of women. All Diakonia’s work shall include a gender equality and equity perspective, which takes women’s and men’s different conditions of life and positions in society into consideration. This includes other groups' such as HIV-positive, disabled people and any people independent of their sexual orientation, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
There are two specific areas within the gender equality work which are crucial;
A central dimension of a gender equality perspective is to make the unequal distribution of power between women and men visible and contribute to change it.
A gender equality perspective is today quite visible in all programmes as the result of a number of years of capacity building of partners and staff. All regions have focal persons and task forces for this purpose.
HIV and AIDS perspective
To mainstream HIV and AIDS related issues means to revise each theme and prioritized area and identify the relation between the theme and HIV and AIDS. In many of the contexts where Diakonia operates this is an absolute necessity as HIV and AIDS are so widespread that they are having impact on everything in society, not least on the rights holders’ ability to participate in and contribute to and the social and economic development in the societies.
All Diakonia staff has been trained on the HIV and AIDS perspective, and are given continuous updates. There are also Diakonia focal persons in every region with deep knowledge.
The strengthening of civil society organisations’ capacity to mobilize and define concrete political proposals will, if successfully done, imply an alteration of the current balance of power. The empowerment of one group will scarcely come about without other social groups feeling challenged or even threatened. The possible unintentional escalation of such a conflict into a destructive or even violent one will depend on the actions and reactions of both parties. Therefore it is necessary that Diakonia and partners, regardless of thematic orientation, always show awareness and sensitivity to such risks, and take the proper measures to minimize them through a conflict analysis, identifying all relevant stakeholders in the process.
Another crucial issue is to promote equal access (women and ethnic groups and others) to decision levels in peace- conflict resolution- and post-rehabilitation processes. Diakonias role is therefore to capacitate partners in the UNSCR 1325/1820/1888 concerning women's participation in peace and violence against women.
Diakonia does not focus specifically on environmental issues, but has begun to make efforts for incorporating an environmental perspective as well as a climate perspective in our analysis and activities. Diakonia also empowers partners and promotes equal access to decision making levels regarding the decisions which have to be taken to decrease the destructive climate change. Women are more affected due to their subordination in society and their insufficient access to infrastructure and resources.
Working pro-actively on anti-corruption
Diakonia has a history of acting swift and decisively in cases where corruption such as embezzlement or fraud has been discovered in our programs. Such considerations are crucial when choosing partners, and when building their capacity with regards to democratic practices, financial transparency, administrative routines, and an active involvement of both poor women and men in decision-making.
Working from a rights-based approach (including human rights and democratic core values) the aim is to develop pro-active strategies with our partners. These strategies include the active empowerment of poor women and men to be able to gain influence and to keep their organisations, politicians and local government officials accountable for their decisions and provision of public services.
Diakonia has through our PME Handbook developed practical routines for how our staff shall act and report when financial or administrative irregularities are discovered. Diakonia has a zero-tolerance level for misuse of funds or abuse of entrusted powers.