A group of girls in red football t-shirts cheering and smiling to the camera.

Annual Report

There was a great deal of movement in the wrong direction in 2023. Democracy took another step backwards, freedom of expression was restricted, women’s rights were curtailed. Human rights defenders were threatened and killed.

During the year, we have continued to fight for the right of all people to a dignified life and to create fair social structures. Around the world, people are suffering from poverty and oppression. Girls, women and LGBTQI people are often particularly hard hit. We will not achieve justice without gender equality, which is why all our work is based on a feminist analysis. Gender equality, human rights and democracy are key factors in eradicating poverty and oppression.


Diakonia's operational expenses


92 percent on our Activities


6 percent on Administration


2 percent on our Fundraising work


million Swedish kronor raised


partner organizations in Africa, Asia,
Latin America and the Middle East


million Swedish kronor in operational


Many countries in Africa have seen their national debt grow. Interest and amortisation eat up resources that would ideally go to health care, and other welfare. This has led to greater poverty. The democratic space shrunk in several countries in Africa. But there are also positive examples. Puntland, in Somalia, held its first democratic general elections in half a century. Diakonia contributed in several ways to improving the electoral process and increasing trust, including by supporting the electoral commission and educating voters.


partner organizations


million Swedish kronor in
operational expenses


employees in the region

Greenhouses improve lives in Somalia

Somalia. Climate change is resulting in drought and crop failure. With netted greenhouses, smart farming practices and drip irrigation, it is possible to grow fresh, nutritious vegetables on land that was previously unusable.

“We can now afford a good life and pay school fees,” says Nadifa Jaama Isse, a participant in the Greenhouse Project run by Diakonia’s partner organizations Kaalo, DCDP and Fawesom.

An older woman wearing a pink hijab sitting in a greenhouse made of nets.


65 vulnerable boys and girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were provided with meaningful leisure activities and a chance to enter society through a free football school.


The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was slow in Asia, with deep-rooted socio-economic problems persisting. The democratic space shrunk in several countries. For many of those who raised their voices in protest, Diakonia’s support was crucial. Fundamentalist groups with conservative values made it difficult to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Bangladesh. By the end of the year, violence in Myanmar was on the rise, and the need for emergency relief and support became clear. Diakonia focused on saving lives and strengthening the capacity of local communities to cope with the crisis.


partner organizations


million Swedish kronor in operational expenses


employees in the region

A woman wearing a scarf and a hat, standing in the water and holding up seaweed.

Seaweed empowers

Thailand. In Chiang Khong, the role of women is often limited. By collecting seaweed, the women have made a living for themselves and become more independent. With the support of Diakonia and its partner, the Center for Girls Foundation (CFGF), they have organised and are now stronger than ever. Moreover, thanks to the empowerment of women, domestic violence has decreased.


566 girls in Bangladesh learnt to ride a bicycle thanks to the Bicycle Project.


In Latin America, 2023 was a turbulent year. Polarisation increased and democracies faltered. Human rights defenders were threatened and murdered by armed groups, often linked to drug trafficking. People’s vulnerability increased as the climate crisis worsened. The lack of clean water became acute as glaciers melted and mining companies polluted the groundwater on their hunt for minerals. In Guatemala, hopes for a more democratic direction were raised when a new president won the election on the promise to fight corruption. Diakonia has long supported key forces for democracy and justice in Guatemala.


partner organizations


million Swedish kronor
in operational expenses


employees in the region

Farming that benefits people and the environment

Honduras. Climate change is generating unsafe weather conditions that make it increasingly difficult to farm in the Copán department of Honduras. Several of our partner organizations have joined forces to support farmers and teach methods adapted to the new reality of more extreme weather conditions. This includes growing crops strategically without using chemicals, thus caring for people and the environment and reducing the impact on nature. The project enables greater self-sufficiency and improves the living conditions of the participating families.


383 human rights defenders in Honduras received life-saving protection within 24 hours through Diakonia’s protection fund.


Middle East and North Africa

Thousands of civilians, many of them children, were killed in the war in Gaza, which followed the Hamas attack on 7 October. On the West Bank, violence against Palestinians escalated. Our partners have been distributing necessities and providing psychosocial support to children in Gaza and the West Bank. Lebanon was in economic and political chaos. The war in Gaza also meant Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon attacking each other more frequently. Egypt was plunged into a deep economic crisis after the pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine.


partner organizations


million Swedish kronor in
operational expenses


employees in the region

A second chance

Lebanon. When Fadi was eight years old, he started working in a car repair shop. It was a demanding job and he couldn't go to school. In 2023, he joined the Children’s Rights Project, where he learnt to read and count. Since then, he has made a great deal of progress. Fadi’s parents were unaware of the high risks he faced working in the car repair shop. Through the Children’s Rights Project and our partner Dar Al Amal, Fadi’s parents have received education and social support, and are now in a better position to take responsibility for their son’s well-being. Fadi’s self-confidence has been boosted. He has become good at expressing himself and today, he stands up and fights against child exploitation and for children’s right to education and a safe childhood.

7 177

7 177 children took part in the Children’s Rights Project’s activities in Lebanon.

International Humanitarian Law

Diakonia’s International Humanitarian Law Centre, the IHL Centre, is made up of an independent group of experts who provide rapid, in-depth analyses of the laws of armed conflict. The aim is to provide greater protection for people living in conflict-affect areas around the world.

During the year, The IHL Centre’s Desk in Jerusalem has provided rapid analysis based on international humanitarian law, published its findings on a regular basis and provided training to local and international organizations.

The Global Desk has worked with local organizations throughout the year to ensure that the laws of armed conflict are respected and human rights are upheld in the Sahel region, which includes Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

For many years, the IHL Team in Syria has supported the families of the 100 000 people have disappeared since the start of the war in 2011. Through the IHL Centre, the affected families and their organizations have been provided with analysis and guidance on international humanitarian law. In 2023, the IHL Centre contributed to the adoption of the UN resolution on Missing Persons as the UN General Assembly he UN General Assembly voted in favour of setting up an independent international body to search for information on the missing. It will gather information from families and organizations, as well as try to obtain data from Syrian authorities and opposition-controlled areas.

Our work in Sweden

Fighting for effective cooperation

2023 was a year of economic turmoil, uncertainty and armament in Sweden. The wars in Gaza and Ukraine affected domestic and foreign policy. The Swedish government presented a new direction for development cooperation. Among other things, it would be more closely linked to trade. Through opinion building and advocacy work, Diakonia has made efforts to ensure that Sweden continues to engage in generous and effective development cooperation and that the goal of combating poverty and oppression stays in place.

Diakonia’s fundraising from individuals and churches increased substantially. In total, the number of active donors increased by 70 percent in 2023.


Our work in Sweden

Record numbers cycled for girls in Bangladesh

When Diakonia and the TV personality Stephan Wilson issued an invitation to take part in the Vätternrundan cycling race to spread the word about Diakonia’s Cycling Project, the response was huge. 150 cyclists stood on the starting line in June, making up the largest Vätternrundan starting group ever. To draw further attention to the project, Stephan Wilson cycled to and from the start and finish of the race in Motala. A whole thousand kilometres! Along the way, he visited churches and TV4’s breakfast programme Nyhetsmorgon.

Diakonia’s Anna Eggelind with programme hosts Linnea Wikblad and Sofia Dalén.

Diakonia in Music Aid (Musikhjälpen)!

The theme of Musikhjälpen 2023 (Swedish public service television SVT’s and the charity Radiohjälpen’s annual fundraising event, which highlights and raises money for a chosen theme during one week) was “Nobody should die of starvation”. Around 783 million people are hungry and more than 40 million are living on the brink of starvation. Diakonia was invited to take part in the broadcast to talk about the situation in Palestine and the Greenhouse Project in Somalia. Musikhjälpen raised a total of SEK 59 million.


There was a great deal of movement in the wrong direction in 2023.

Democracy took another step backwards, freedom of expression was restricted, women’s rights were curtailed. Human rights defenders were threatened and killed.

The war in Gaza, which followed the terrible attack by Hamas, has caused unimaginable suffering, and we are seeing how the world order upheld by principles and conventions regarding the equal dignity of all human beings is under threat.

Emissions from fossil fuels increased, while Sweden scaled down its climate ambitions and chose to end its provision of development cooperation to people fighting for democracy in several countries.

Indeed, 2023 was a difficult year. But there were also bright spots in the darkness. More girls were able to go to school, a new malaria vaccine will save the lives of many children, and in Guatemala, the people voted for a president who promised to deal with the issue of corruption. We saw every day how people rose up, continued their struggle and spread light.

“We have to do something. The children feel dreadful. They are terrified. When we come and talk to them, it is like they come back to life,” said Ahmad Ashour, who runs the Children’s Literature Project in Gaza, which brought children together for activities in the midst of the raging war.

“When girls learn to ride a bike, we can also do other things that previously only boys were allowed to do,” said 12-year old Sadia in the Cycling Project in Bangladesh.

“We can now pay the school fees,” said Nadifo Jaama Isse, who turned dry land into a kitchen garden in the Greenhouse Project in Somalia.

The voices come from all over the world, unrivalled in their explosive power. Because we know that when people join forces, great things can happen. Societies can change and new voices can be heard. There is an inexhaustible power in the struggle. We know that people change the world.

We are now leaving 2023 behind us and heading into 2024. We hear the words of the prophet Amos echoing in our current reality: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Mattias Brunander
Secretary General

Pether Nordin