Human Dignity Foundation was established in 2004 to enable children to live with dignity. Protecting and promoting children’s rights is the first step in enabling them to live safe, fulfilling and dignified lives.

Children can't wait

The threats to children’s rights are many and the need to respond urgent. HDF partners with like-minded organisations to tackle some of the gravest threats to their rights – specifically child sexual exploitation and abuse. We provide support through funding, capacity building and thoughtful advice.

“Our mantra is children can’t wait. It’s the urgent reality that underpins our work. It encourages us to question, be creative, and explore better ways of protecting children’s rights.”

Dr John Climax

Founder and Chair

Maximising impact

In 2009 HDF’s board, led by Founder and Chairman Dr John Climax, took the decision to become a limited life foundation. By compressing the period in which HDF can contribute to its mission, we have increased the relative size, intensity and urgency of our contribution. Our aim has always been to identify the most effective role we can play.


Our Team and Board combine experience from across the worlds of international development, social enterprise, pharmaceuticals, financial services and IT.

Meet the Team



A significant grant to the University of Edinburgh announced that aim to uncover the prevalence and nature of child exploitation and abuse.


The INTERPOL FACE 2020 project launches, continuing 5 years of HDF-funded work to identify victims and perpetrators of online abuse and support law enforcement around the world.


HDF supports Addis Ababa convening of over 30 End Violence grantees exploring better ways to prevent and respond to digital threats to children.


Seán Coughlan becomes Executive Director to lead HDF’s final phase of support for children’s rights.


Evolution of the foundation’s theory of change leads to an increased focus on child sexual abuse and harmful practices.


HDF support leads to the inclusion of critical SDG indicators to end violence against children and the establishment of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.


The foundation embarks on a rigorous review of its child safeguarding culture and practice and supports grantees to do the same.


To celebrate its 10th anniversary, HDF distributes a series of small grants to help grantees build their organisational capacity.


HDF begins its sustained support for Girls Not Brides – an initiative of The Elders that campaigns to end child marriage.


2012 – Launch of partnership with Trócaire to address harmful practices that increase the exposure of girls to HIV in Malawi.


The foundation develops its first strategic plan to guide the ‘sunrise phase’.


Mary Healy takes up the role of Executive Director and begins HDF’s focus on key areas of child protection.


Strategic review recommends that the foundation transitions to limited life with grant-making to complete in 2021.


HDF supports the emergence of a dedicated, EU-wide end FGM campaign, managed by Amnesty International, which transitions into a fully-fledged, independent network.


Landmark grants distributed in response to the earthquake in Pakistan and to support education in South African townships.


Human Dignity Foundation is founded by Dr John Climax as a registered charity in Switzerland.

Annual Reports


Our policies reflect HDF’s operating principles. Most importantly, they seek to guarantee a protective environment for the children who interact with the initiatives and programmes we support.

Child Safeguarding

Human Dignity Foundation is committed to ensuring that the programmes it funds are respectful of, and accountable to, all programme participants. Children are the primary focus of HDF’s work and particularly vulnerable. This policy outlines how we ensure their protection.


In general, Human Dignity Foundation does not collect, store, use or disclose personally identifying information except in very specific instances, such as, for example, when you subscribe to our newsletter updates, use our contact form, or have had multiple previous communications with an Human Dignity Foundation representative.
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A culture of openness and accountability are essential. This policy outlines the whistleblowing procedure in place to provide all direct fund recipients or related third parties with a channel to express any concerns they may have related to wrongdoing.
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Our privacy statement provides information about the ways in which Human Dignity Foundation collects, stores, shares or keeps any personal information provided to the organisation – online and offline. We reserve the right to modify or amend this Policy from time to time without notice.
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Human Dignity Foundation is committed to preventing fraud and corruption through its work, and to the development of an anti-fraud and anti-corruption culture within all grantees. This policy outlines the rationale and process for prevention, detection, and resolution of fraudulent behaviour.
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