Hivos addresses global challenges such as growing world populations, climate change, food system challenges, nutrition insufficiency with smart solutions including rethinking ecosystems as the basic foundation of societies and economies and putting citizens at the centre of building new food systems. Hivos recognizes the need to have early-stage food entrepreneurs, especially women, youths and street vendors, producing sustainable food, services or products that cater to the needs of smallholder producers and low-income consumers. Hivos uses a three-step approach; 1) Financing the development of technical and business skills in early-stage food entrepreneurs; 2) Connecting multiple stakeholders to co-create solutions; 3) Influencing policies and scaling solutions. This initiative promotes healthy and sustainable food systems for all across the globe using a variety of intervention strategies. Hivos works for a stronger consumer and citizen voice in food system governance as well as better–integrated policies. Through supporting place-specific behaviour change, creating and raising awareness, and facilitating exchanges with key actors, they bring consumers into the discussion about food system change. By working with excluded groups, such as women and street vendors, the initiatives accelerate a shift towards sustainable, diverse, and healthy consumption and production practices. As those develop, early-stage entrepreneurs are then introduced to networks of early investors for training and development. Food system transformations are grown from local ideas to national policies through coalitions of multiple stakeholders. Beatriz Álvarez, a Bolivian city councillor and promoter of urban agriculture, said: “I grew up immersed in the world of farming and know that family-run, small-scale food production in rural areas cannot meet the needs of today's cities. Many Bolivian people have no choice but to buy imported food."
Communications Director. This project is featured in a new research report called 'Beacons of Hope: Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Food Systems' by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.