Strategy and impact

To fulfil its mission and better realise its vision, Human Rights House Foundation aims to achieve impact toward four strategic objectives: stronger governance; increased cooperation; greater visibility and political influence; and better protection.


Consolidation and growth: HRHF strategy 2019-23

In the next five years, HRHF will continue its efforts to establish and support Human Rights Houses, connect them in an international network, and protect human rights defenders and organisations in the network.

We will continue to advance the rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression, and the right to be a human rights defender. We will expand to new regions and have even more focus on bringing international standards home.

Grow the number of functioning Human Rights Houses able to address the human rights needs of their communities

  • Increase the number of Houses, including in new regions.
  • Enhance the institutional capacity of Houses
  • Strengthen the capacity of Houses, member NGOs and defenders to advance human rights
  • Help Houses improve public outreach nationally.

Strengthen collaboration within and sustainability of the network of Human Rights Houses

  • Support cooperation among Houses through House-to-House project fund
  • Organise thematic, regional and functional meetings for the network
  • Diversify funding streams.

Better protection

  • Focus on systemic gains to improve protection of human rights defenders
  • Protect human rights defenders and organisations within the network.

Advance fundamental rights for human rights work

  • Promote and advance freedoms of expression, association, assembly, and the right to be a human rights defender in cooperation with Houses and other partners
  • Improve use of national and international human rights mechanisms within the network of Houses
  • Strengthen international human rights mechanisms and standards, improving their use by national actors.

Strategic objectives

All of HRHF’s activities aim toward four strategic objectives. Click on each objective below to learn more and to see the impact we have achieved in our work toward each objective:


Participants of the 2018 strategic network meeting of the Human Rights Houses in Tbilisi, Georgia.

HRHF sees significant value in self-reflection as a way to learn, improve, and adjust the course of action when needed. In addition to internal evaluations, we aim to undergo a more extensive external evaluation every few years, to check whether our theory of change is still relevant and whether the work that we do has the intended impact.

It is only through assessing the needs of stakeholders and whether we are meeting them that we can engage and increase our impact, whether it is among the Human Rights Houses and their member NGOs, or among politicians, diplomats, donors, partners, and beneficiaries. Ultimately, our relevance and sustainability rely on our ability to re-evaluate and adjust.

Our strategy for 2019-23 was informed by the findings and recommendations of an external evaluation in 2017, and by input from the Human Rights Houses and all HRHF staff. Through jointly creating and building ownership of this strategy, we aim to ensure that we are successful in implementing it in the coming years.

Documenting impact

Improvements in a human rights situation take time, are challenging to attribute to a particular initiative, and are all too often affected by external factors, which may cause the situation to remain unchanged or deteriorate for the worse, despite the best efforts of human rights organisations. This makes it a daunting task to document the impact of human rights work.

Yet donors require reporting on impact, preferably in numbers and charts, yet the logic of fast news and simple messaging can be somewhat contradictory to how we achieve impact in human rights work.

HRHF has built a results framework to help with this. Such a framework can turn the demands for reporting into a tool to navigate, operationalise and achieve impactful strategies for a human rights organisation.

Our framework is rooted in the theory of change and framed by our strategy for 2014-2018. Making our desired long-term goals the starting point, we worked back from these identifying what objectives, outcomes, and activities (outputs) would lead to the desired change and ultimately to achieving our goals. We then created indicators to measure these outcomes and outputs. In short, the framework seeks to link and measure all activities in the context of the organisation’s goals.

Once we had the framework set, we then looked at indicators and benchmarked where we were, setting targets within these indicators, to ensure everything we do is working toward our strategic objectives.