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Working with those most othered: Towards Health, Equity and Justice for all

POSITIVE VIBES IS …. an African, queer, human rights organisation. We contribute to realising human rights, health and social change at global level. We believe that equity and justice for all is possible.

Strategic Pathway 1

Vibrant Movements

Rightsholders’ movements foster community and cultivate change


Strategic Pathway 2

Accountable Systems & Services

Local, national, regional, and global systems and services are more accountable, inclusive, responsive, rights-based and effective


Strategic Pathway 3

Just Policies & Laws

Policy and law reform address othering at national level, and beyond


Strategic Pathway 4

Innovation for Impact

Sustaining, developing & strengthening Positive Vibes

Our identity- We are positioned as:

Rooted on the continent and in its history; engaging mainly in South – South solidarity work to strengthen rightsholder movements that
challenge and disrupt othering, and its causes and consequences.

We find ourselves ‘at odds’ with the current reality, and identify with others in the same (or similar) boat. People who are ‘queer’ in this
sense may or may not identity as LGBTQI+, but they are faced with the challenge of inventing ways of being and responding to alienating
environments that allow them to survive and thrive. We seek to work in solidarity and partnership with such people and their organisations and

All our work is about enabling people who experience othering to
claim their rights – at the most local and intimate level and in the
contexts of larger systems and authorities. Our stance is ‘rights-forward’:
we prioritise dignity, equity, structural and systemic reform, and civic
participation, all of which are founded upon an awareness of, and
conscious work towards, realising people’s human rights.

We contribute to realising human rights, health and social change at global level.
We believe that equity and justice for all is possible.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) - Connecting to global development priorities

The SDGs offer one way of aligning our local, national, and regional work with global priorities.

We address SDGs 3, 5, 10, 16, and 17 directly. Our contribution to SDGs 1, 4, and 8 is more indirect: by reducing othering, discrimination and injustice, people are enabled to take positive action to access opportunities and address poverty.

Our Approach

Working with multiple rightsholders, partners, and key stakeholders, we craft meaningful processes that address both the causes and consequences of these injustices and the systems that continue to perpetuate them. And we will do so with an eye on local, national, regional, and global challenges and goals. 

Why it matters

Othering can be violent – it can harm and even kill people, metaphorically, psychologically, physically. It produces and reproduces prejudice and ignorance; it sanctions violence; it silences and excludes people from human community and from realising their basic rights; it denies the possibility of justice and development for all. 

In our day-to-day work and lives, we see people who are different pushed to the margins. This hurts and impoverishes ‘othered’ people and their wider societies. Valuable experiences and insights are silenced, and excluded people sink into anger or despair. Social problems are misdiagnosed, and solutions fail to stick. People’s lives, and the systems with which they interact and live, deteriorate further – inequality and a culture of alienation and unaccountability take deeper hold. Everyone, and everything, sickens.

A few core principles and practices animate our approach

Language and ways of working human, humane, and awake to the full spectrum of human experience – while, at the same time, addressing systemic and structural problems. The challenge is to hold both the personal and the structural, the intimate and the systemic, and not to collapse into either/or thinking or to impose simplistic solutions upon complex realities.

People’s identities and experiences. All of us are members of more than one kind of community, and can simultaneously experience oppression and privilege, access and exclusion, in different combinations, across different contexts, in different ways. 

To stay awake to its implications for both the process of our work, and for its outcomes. When we analyse a new territory or gather evidence we always aim to consider context (e.g. history, geography, ethnicity, language), identity (e.g. LGBTQI+, migrant), gender (e.g. cisgender woman, transgender man), age (e.g. adolescent, youth), and social status (e.g. working class, middle class) amongst other factors (e.g. ability and disability). Over time, this has led to a broadening of PV’s focus on rightsholder groups to include groups beyond the LGBTQI+ umbrella. It will continue to inform and help us to refine our programming across all the contexts in which we work.

The core of our work, our DNA, is about crafting processes, and applying and transferring methods, that generate movement and change in people’s ways of thinking, being and acting, and in the larger systems within which we all work. This is most obviously expressed in the design of our suite of LILO methods and workshops, and in our community-led health systems monitoring (CLM) work, but the same principle is embedded in all PV’s programming and design thinking.

partnering with rightsholders (and their organisations and movements) who are most affected by it. Together, we co-create knowledge, methods and strategies for making change, and connect these to the spaces and systems that reproduce othering – in individual’s lives, in communities, in systems, and at the level of national practice, policy and law. We also cultivate relationships and collaborations with allied organisations at national, regional, and global level to resource, expand and sustain this work and its impact. 

All our work; this helps us maintain our edge, to innovate, to position ourselves effectively, and to engage in direct advocacy work, where appropriate. 

Our people


Flavian Rhode

Executive Director

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Lee Mondry

Deputy Director

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Michelle Davidson

Head of Finance, Admin and HR

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Salen Kambinda

Director Namibia

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