People change the world
WHO WE ARE
Since 1966 Diakonia has worked side by side with vulnerable people and local organizations around the world. The model may seem as simple as it is obvious: When people gain knowledge, when we join forces and claim our rights, then change can happen.
Diakonia is founded on Christian principles and the firm belief that all people are of equal value. We 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 work is based on a rights perspective – that all people have the same fundamental rights, while government agencies and nations have a duty to respect and protect these rights. In order to solve major structural problems, we need to work on a broad front and on several levels simultaneously. We need more people to join forces in the struggle that is taking place. We take a long-term perspective in our work, and our opinions are always based on facts and knowledge. Diakonia’s founding churches are the Swedish Alliance Mission and the Uniting Church in Sweden.
Diakonia’s mission is to change unjust structures that cause poverty, inequality and oppression. Everyone is entitled to a dignified life. Together with people around the world, we come up with intelligent and sustainable solutions to the world’s big problems. Our values are solidarity, justice, courage, commitment and responsibility.
Diakonia has offices in 21 countries and works with around 350 local organizations. Together with our partner organizations, we analyse the problems people face, find smart solutions and adapt our activities to local conditions. To change the structures that keep people in poverty and injustice, we also work with opinion building and advocacy together with our partner organizations around the world and in Sweden.
Our work with environment and climate change
The main thematic areas of Diakonia’s work with environment and climate change can be categorized into four areas, however they are often interlinked with each other. Climate change adaptation, Climate change mitigation, Addressing loss and damage, and Sustainable management of the environment.
Climate change adaptation is mainly focused on managing and adjusting to the climate change and environmental degradation impacts. Climate change mitigation, addresses the removal or reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as well as advocating for a sustainable, resilient and healthy environment. Addressing losses and damages refers to situations that adaptation to environmental hazards hasn't been sufficient, and there is the need for supporting affected communities. Sustainable management of the environment consists of practices such as lands rights, sustainable and nature-based solutions for biodiversity conservation and food security.
The Triple Nexus approach aims to enhance the impact of aid actors’ engagement in fragile and conflict-affected settings by providing its adherents a common set of principles, around three key pillars: Coordination, Programming and Financing. It seeks to foster joined-up complementary action to tackle the drivers of “fragility” in complex contexts – which aims at challenging mainstream siloed aid work divided in Humanitarian Action, Development and Peacebuilding.
Diakonia understands that the Triple Nexus can be brought into action through resilience and risk-informed programming at community, local and national level, emphasising in prevention, preparedness, and an enhanced understanding of human-nature interactions through the organization’s Human Rights-based Approach and the mainstreaming perspectives of gender, environment, and conflict.
Core Humanitarian Standard
Diakonia is a member of Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance since 2015 and is certified against its standard since 2020. As such, Diakonia is committed to meet the highest standards of accountability and quality management throughout our work in relation to the people we aim to assist.
Africa faces complex challenges related to climate change which have a knock-on effect on exasperating conflicts, food insecurity and clawing back efforts at women’s rights.
Diakonia’s work across Africa is in Mali, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The context in these countries is challenging and requires multi-faced approach that integrates climate resilience, conflict resolution, food security and gender equality. This involves supporting sustainable agricultural practices, improving access to education and resources for women, and advocating for policies that promote climate resilience and conflict prevention.
Pastoralist communities in Baringo county are facing a multitude of challenges, particularly related to conflicts over natural resources. These issues have arisen due to unsustainable practices, resulting in resource scarcity and increased land disputes. Furthermore, the communities are struggling with water shortages on a daily basis due to climate change.
Diakonia and our partner GROOTS Kenya have a project that aims to address these issues by focusing on food relief, climate change adaptation practices, and challenging patriarchal norms, attitudes, and values. Through knowledge and skill-building, participants will become resource champions at the community level, practicing climate smart agriculture and mobilizing other community members to participate in a recently-built demonstration centre.
New farming methods creates food security
The Gender and Resilience project was created as a response to Diakonia’s ambition to strengthen its work on disaster risk reduction, and to bridge our humanitarian and development work. It has also helped to increase the food security of vulnerable communities, by applying climate adaptive livelihood interventions; irrigated agriculture, installation of greenhouses technology made from local materials, provision capacity building training on greenhouse management to the right holders.
Asia, home to more than half of the world's population, has been facing interconnected environmental and climate challenges exacerbated by rapid economic growth in the last decade.
In 2022, the region faced a record-breaking number of climate-related disasters. South Asia was the most affected region, accounting for the majority of deaths, displacements, and economic losses. Moreover, the region is experiencing warming at a rate faster than the global average, with projections of a 2-4 degree increase by the end of the century. This alarming trend heightens the risks to unique ecosystems and vulnerable communities.
Diakonia operates in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, working with partner organizations to address these challenges. Our focus lies in strategies that integrate climate resilience, social equality, and advocacy for policies prioritizing environmental justice and human rights.
The Vedda, known as Sri Lanka's original inhabitants, have long lived in harmony with nature. However, like many indigenous peoples around the world, they face challenges such as land dispossession and deforestation. These issues threaten not only their traditional lifestyle and cultural heritage but also the natural ecosystems they have nurtured for generations.
Our close collaboration with the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ), our local partner, has led to the protection of Vedda lands in Uva Province, thereby preserving both the environment and the Vedda's cultural identity and rights. Working alongside partners such as CEJ, we have empowered the community, mobilizing people to halt deforestation in various regions.
Additionally, we have closely collaborated with local changemakers, including religious leaders, to elevate environmental awareness among the wider population of Sri Lanka.
Community disaster management saves lives.
Diakonia and the partner Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) worked together in a project that aimed to develop innovative solutions to integrate gender, humanitarian and development efforts. Still after the project ended, youth and students continue to be empowered with knowledge about disaster risk, prevention, and preparedness, through training coordinated by the community itself.
Following their training, participants were encouraged to use their own local knowledge and practices to developed community-based disaster management plans, focusing on supporting vulnerable and marginalized individuals, and collaborated with local disaster management committees.
Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is increasingly facing significant challenges due to climate change, characterized by severe heatwaves and critical water shortages.
These environmental issues are compounded by ongoing conflicts and political instability in the region, leading to a complex set of problems that significantly affect both the natural environment and the well-being of local populations.
Particularly at risk are vulnerable groups, including women and marginalized communities. Their central roles in agricultural activities and household management are crucial for the survival of their communities. However, these roles also place them at greater risk, as they bear the brunt of the combined effects of environmental changes and socio-political turmoil. This overlap of environmental degradation with regional conflicts underscores the urgent need for well-rounded resilience and sustainability strategies in the MENA region. These strategies must address both immediate and underlying issues, ensuring the protection and sustainable development of the region.
In addressing these challenges, Diakonia MENA, operating in Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and Egypt, remains committed to fostering resilience and promoting sustainable development in these complex and varied contexts.
Diakonia and our partner Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) prioritize the inclusion of people with disabilities in discussions regarding environmental justice, climate action decision making, and disaster risk management.
Preventative interventions includes awareness raising meetings, trainings for community cadres and quick response, like distribution of blankets, food and medicines. Accessibility interventions are also carried out in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, and houses. Prosthetic devices like wheel chairs, crutches and sticks are provided.
Additionally, economic empowerment interventions are put in place to help alleviate poverty and provide job opportunities for people with disabilities. CEOSS also integrates people with disabilities to show their products in local and international exhibitions, improving their economic conditions and enabling them to upgrade their homes to better face the challenges of climate change.
Practical solutions for food sovereignty.
In Palestine, Diakonia works with the independent civil society organization Al-Ard for Agricultural Development to improve the lives of Palestinian farmers.
Together, we combat poverty and hunger by building a food system that leads to sustainable self-sufficiency. This system is based on local agricultural production that is resilient to climate change and practical to implement.
Climate change is a pressing issue in Latin America, with the region experiencing significant impacts on its environment and population.
The rise in temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events have led to negative consequences for agriculture, water resources, and public health.
Diakonia have partner organizations in Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Paraguay. We address environmental and climate change issues through the implementation of climate change adaptation practices and ensuring food sovereignty by promoting sustainable agricultural practices, advocating for lands rights, environmental rights and right to self-determination.
Approximately 1.5 million Hondurans, accounting for 15.3% of the population, suffer from undernourishment. In collaboration with our partner, Comisión de Acción Social Menonita (CASM), we are committed to providing ongoing assistance to the most at-risk families as they work towards social and economic recovery, and prepare for potential future disasters.
Our goal is to enhance the quality of life and uphold the human rights of the target population. All processes are aligned with the promotion of the permaculture approach, which has facilitated the transfer of knowledge and technology through the development of local and regional exchanges, enhancing the productive capacity of families through fair division of labour, care for natural resources, and rights holders.
Be part of the change!
Start by contacting our Regional Directors