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Our Strategy

Dignity International’s vision is of a world in which everyone enjoys human rights and lives in dignity, free from fear, poverty and discrimination.

Dignity International advocates with, connects and supports the empowerment of deprived and struggling communities in claiming their human rights, and creating social justice around the world.

Dignity International is founded on values of respect for the dignity of the human being (respect, honesty, humanity, solidarity and justice)


Divided into primary and secondary constituencies. The primary constituency consists of organised deprived communities struggling for human rights and dignity in different parts of the world. The secondary constituency consists of civil society organisations and community based organizations.

Dignity International is a dynamic organisation that experimented through a number of activities to advance economic, social and cultural rights, with a focus on 4 THEMATIC AREAS:
- advancing people’s rights over land and natural resources;
- promoting/supporting participatory democracy and determining democracy space;
- protecting and advancing labor and housing rights;
- social protection and the right to the city.

Dignity International engaged in a wide range of partnerships, operated with a small staff and financial base, where there is deepening of relationships/partnerships in particular with certain grassroots social movements; and a sharpening of its capacity building programme towards human rights advocacy and action via organic development of its support to grassroots movements in the ‘local-global ‘ advocacy initiatives

In pursuing its vision and mission Dignity International uses four 4 MAIN INTERVENTION STRATEGIES:
1. Capacity building
2. Advocacy and campaigns
3. Alliance building
4. Communication and outreach

Central to these 4 strategies is “partner relations, networking and alliance building.”

Download the Strategic Plan for 2014-2016.

Our History

Dignity International was founded in October 1999 at the Global Forum for Poverty Eradication organised by the Council of Europe. It was founded by the organizers, supporters and participating organisations of the Forum – including the Assembly of the Poor in Thailand and European Anti-Poverty Network who remain strong partners of Dignity International till today.

Between 2000 and 2002, Dignity International operated as a project within the Council of Europe, and in January 2003, became operational as an independent NGO – as a registered foundation in The Netherlands. In 2007, Dignity International is accredited with the Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. As at of April 2010, the organization operates from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The organization is governed by an International Board of Governors, who are charged with the overall direction and management, as well as final programme and budgetary authority. The Executive Director is charged with the day to day management and prepares the operational plan and budget for discussion at the Board and ensures its efficient implementation.

From the outset, the driving spirit of Dignity International has been that of:

Human rights and development – poverty is not only a development issue but a human rights issue. It is a violation of basic human rights and that any lasting efforts to eradicate poverty must be rooted in the human rights framework;

People empowerment – those struggling for daily survival and are marginalised are the people who are in the front line of the human rights struggle and therefore should lead the fight against poverty; and

Global solidarity and action – a global human rights movement of the most vulnerable and marginalised, i.e. Dignity International is needed to popularise, promote and protect human dignity of all human beings.

Human dignity is the conceptual meeting point of human rights, human development and human security; and Dignity International works together with the affected communities to achieve these ideals for lasting social change.

Lasting social change in turn can only be achieved with the energy and direct interest from the affected communities themselves. As such, Dignity International is developing into a global human rights family together with the vulnerable and marginalised communities, and to work together on:

popularizing human rights – using simple accessible language, embedding human rights with the daily reality, and using participatory methods to make learning about human rights simple and fun;

•translating key human rights principles into practical daily work and using human rights to bring about change;

•promoting the work of the grassroots organisations, the voices of the voiceless and the faces of the invisible people in our societies;

building alliances and solidarity among the most vulnerable communities across country borders; and

•linking the “local” to the “global” – developing and mobilizing global campaign action to bring about local change.

Our Track Record

- Organise 10 global training programmes on human-rights based development reaching out to over 300 persons from civil society organizations and community-based organizations working on various human rights and development issues;

- Organise 8 regional training programmes on human rights-based development, together with former participants of the global programmes and their respective organizations as key partners (4 in Latin America, 1 in East Africa, 1 in West Africa, 1 in Mekong and 1 in South Asia). Total reach is about 160 individuals;


- Organize 6 training programmes on human rights-based development (in Sierra Leone, India, Kenya, Thailand/Burma and Malaysia). This is a further cascading of the global training programmes, and has reached out to over 150 local leaders;

- Organize 4 global linking and learning programme aimed at community organisers and social movement leaders to enhance solidarity and share strategies and tools amongst each other. Over 100 community organizers and social movement leaders have attended this programme;

- Develop learner friendly methodologies to communicate the content, including a training manual titled “From Poverty to Dignity”. The manual is in the process of being translated into Spanish and Portuguese;

- Develop and train 20 ESCR trainers in a “Training of Trainers” programme over a 2 year process. The trainees are Dignity’s alumni – those who had previously attended Dignity’s training programmes;

- Further organise and train approximately 100 community leaders and facilitators in Nairobi, Kenya for the Get Up – Stand Up: Stand Up for Your Human Rights process;


- Offer human rights services as Facilitators for workshop to key development and human rights organizations including Accord International, Concern Worldwide, Danish Institute for Human Rights, European Anti-poverty Network, and the Commonwealth Foundation, as these organisations embrace human rights based approach to development. The total numbers of participants for such programmes are well over 500 people;

- Facilitate international people-to-people exchanges between Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe – linking up communities and their movements struggling for human rights (housing, land, basic services, healthcare, etc);

- Fight for political space within key global gatherings so that those in the frontline of the human rights struggle – those living in poverty and exclusion – can speak out for themselves. For example in ECOSOC sessions, Rio+25 summit on sustainable development, Right to Development+25, and Commonwealth Foundation;

- Publish and distribute its News bulletin – informing over 6,000 subscribers of latest developments in ESC rights through a monthly e-newsbulletin

- Support community facilitators to engage in 24 community Human Rights Learning Programmes in Kenya which benefitted around 1,000 community activists;

- To this day the Dignity Alumni are over 700 people at international level and over 1,000 people at local level;

- Contribute to conceptual thinking around human rights based development and how we can engage in human rights based approaches in practice;

- Support and act as an important catalyst for People’s Advocacy processes including the People’s Manifesto and People’s Budget in Kenya.