About the sector – HR-CS


General Information

Around 20% of all projects supported by HORIZONT3000 belong to the sector Human Rights – Civil Society (= HR-CS). Additionally, about 30% of all the Technical Advisors in the Technical Assistance Programme are working in this sector.

The projects are located across the following regions and countries:

  • Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador)
  • East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)
  • Senegal
  • Mozambique
  • Brazil
  • Papua New Guinea

Focus areas

In the sector Human Rights – Civil Society, HORIZONT3000 currently prioritises the following areas of work for target groups like women, children/youth, indigenous people and disadvantaged rural population:

Networking and strengthening of partner organizations

The partner organizations of HORIZONT3000 strive for the rights of the target groups and for the strengthening the civil society. At the same time, they are part of the civil society themselves, back in Austria. Generally, they only can make their concerns heard and enforce the rights of the target groups if they act together with other like-minded organizations. Because of that, HORIZONT3000 aims at supporting partner organizations via:

  1. Networking and exchange with other actors
  2. Organisational development (mainly via the technical assistance programme)

Fighting human rights violations and enforcing rights

HORIZONT3000 together with its partner organizations contributes to improving the human rights situation in the partner countries. On one hand, especially disadvantaged groups are strengthened as rights-holders, as individuals and groups who hold specific rights. The majority of all the project interventions take place in this area, as the partner organizations have direct access to the target groups and thus, there is a huge potential to achieve the objectives. Apart from that, persons who are affected by human rights violations are provided with direct and holistic assistance and help. Additionally, they are empowered to contribute to changes in the human rights situation by participating in a (political) dialogue. Civil society usually has a special task in such processes and therefore needs to be strengthened. On the other hand, also the duty-bearers like authorities and (local) government and administration are approached with selected activities to ensure that they fulfil their duties in the area of human rights.

HORIZONT3000 focuses specifically on four areas to fight human rights violations and to enforce rights:

  1. Training in human rights (especially in women’s rights, rights of children/youth, indigenous right, land rights, civic rights)
  2. Assistance and help for persons who are affected by human rights violations
  3. Advocacy and lobbying for human rights, improving the legislation and good governance
  4. Public relations on human rights

Empowerment and Participation

Empowerment and participation are core concepts when striving for better living conditions of disadvantaged groups and the development of local communities. Empowerment is seen as a process in which individuals acquire abilities and access possibilities to be able to act on their own behalf and to shape their own life and the situation of their communities. Participative development involves individuals and groups in all decisions concerning their own lives. Especially disadvantaged groups need self-confidence and access to new knowledge to be able to actively participate in public decision processes and to be able to enforce their own rights. On a longer term, this contributes to the development of society as a whole and to a better life for all.

In the context of human rights and strengthening civil society, HORIZONT3000 together with its partner organizations invests in sensitizing the target groups for their rights, in training and coaching members of the communities for leadership and political participation, and sometimes also offers economic empowerment for especially disadvantaged groups.

Thus, HORIZONT3000 is currently working in three core areas in order to contribute to empowerment and participation of the main target groups:

  1. Awareness raising and information on rights
  2. Training/coaching for leadership and political participation
  3. Economic empowerment


In this sector, HORIZONT3000 contributes to defending the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups like women, children/youth, indigenous people and disadvantaged rural population, and strengthens civil society organizations so that they can be actors for change towards more justice in their societies. More concretely, the objectives are the following:

  1. HORIZONT3000 contributes to the empowerment and participation of the target groups of the sector (women, children/youth, disadvantaged rural population/indigenous people), for example by striving for a better representation of these groups in municipalities and other governmental bodies.
  2. HORIZONT3000 and its partner organizations address human rights violations (in land rights, women’s rights, children’s rights), and thus contribute to abiding human rights, and to fighting human rights violations.
  3. HORIZONT3000 and its partner organizations strive for a better legal basis for human rights and for a higher available budget for the concerns of the target groups.
  4. HORIZONT3000 contributes to the networking and sustainable strengthening of partner organizations.

Partner Organizations

Generally, partner organizations of HORIZONT3000 in the sector are:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Civil Society Organizations / NGOs
  • Networks
  • Church organizations or organizations close to churches

Capacity Development & Knowledge Management

In line with the overall emphasis of HORIZONT3000 to provide capacity development on three levels (individual, organisational, and societal level) to improve the living conditions of the target groups, HORIZONT3000 also works on all the three levels within the sector Human Rights – Civil Society.

At individual level, HORIZONT3000 contributes to the empowerment of marginalized groups by awareness raising and information on rights, and to enforcing their rights by assisting and helping persons affected by human rights violations.

At organisational level, HORIZONT3000 contributes to strengthening networking activities and exchanges among partners and with other actors, and via the technical advisor programme helps in the organisational development of partner organizations.

At societal level, HORIZONT3000 contributes to

  • improving political participation via training/coaching of individuals for leadership and political participation
  • fighting human rights violations by trainings in human rights
  • supporting actions of advocacy and lobbying for human rights to improve the strive for good governance and the legislation in accordance with the human rights
  • bringing topics on human rights to the media and the public.

On all three levels, and as this is a general aim of the knowledge management programme of HORIZONT3000, experiences, instruments, and methods/good practices from partner organizations are identified, processed and shared for the benefit of other partner organizations in the KNOW-HOW3000 network.

Cross-Cutting Issues

Cross-cutting issues are commonly defined as topics which, by their very nature, have a strong impact on all operations in a given field and, therefore, must receive special attention. For HORIZONT3000, engaged in the field of development cooperation, this means that the topics defined as cross-cutting issues – Gender and Environmental Protection – should be considered in all programmes and projects.


Strategies for sustainable development are only successful with a strong commitment to protect the environment in every possible way. Preserving natural resources and maintaining the natural biodiversity is a must in all the projects and programmes supported by HORIZONT3000. To achieve this objective, holistic and integrated approaches for environment protection have to be developed and adapted individually for every project.

In the projects belonging to the sector Human Rights – Civil Society, there are usually no important activities in building infrastructure or farming, which might have a bigger impact on the environment. Most activities are trainings, meetings and mobilisations. Still, for example in training activities, organizations can choose to use a type of materials that do not damage the environment as much as others, or activities can be planned in a way they do not produce a lot of garbage, for example using material that can be re-used.

Trainings, meetings and mobilisations could ideally provide examples of good practice for the participants and the local communities. Trainings should be sensitive to the cultural as well as to the physical environment and build competencies for sustainable production and life-styles.


HORIZONT3000 has defined gender as a cross-cutting issue, in line with common practice by almost all donors. Over the last decades it had become clear that this is not only a matter of justice for women, but also a matter of more efficiency and effectiveness in development cooperation projects.

For HORIZONT3000, gender equality is at the very centre for sustainable development. Thus, a gender perspective is included in all programmes and projects of HORIZONT3000. In the sector Human rights – Civil society, a big part of the target group of specific interventions striving for justice and human rights are women and girls. If possible, men are included as they are important to be able to achieve these objectives. In general, most interventions in this sector are carefully adapted to different needs of the sexes, for example when working with young people and children.


Elisabeth Moder, Sector Coordinator for Human Rights – Civil Society

with funding from