2018 ANNUAL REPORT

Global 2018

As awareness of environmental challenges continues to mount, both private and government players increasingly recognize that a sustainable, climate-resilient approach to global trade is key. To address these challenges, Solidaridad’s global network worked with over 632,000 farmers, miners and workers to adopt good practices – beating our own targets by reaching 20,000 more people than we’d aimed to. We also helped to improve the income of 235,000 producers by engaging stakeholders within 334 projects. Together our partners and experts brought nearly a million hectares of land under climate-smart management practices.

In 2018 the Solidaridad South and South East Asia and China regional offices joined together to form one continental office: Solidaridad Asia. Over the last 12 years, Solidaridad has emerged as an innovative sustainable solutions provider in Asia, working in India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Israel. Solidaridad Asia provides training on climate-smart sustainable agriculture and decent work for 500,000 farmers and 200,000 workers in 13 commodity areas. All our work is tailored towards creating practical solutions at scale for feeding the ever-growing demands of the Asian population through a more-with-less approach.

In 2018, Solidaridad Central America continued to grow in action and vision. We deepened impact in our anchor commodity programmes (palm oil, sugarcane, cocoa, coffee and livestock), and leveraged successes in regional commodity platforms to expand our vision to landscape-level interventions. Partnerships have grown to include additional smallholders’ associations and groups, private-sector actors, as well as philanthropic and potential impact investors. We are putting in place the foundations to facilitate a paradigm shift in the region toward regenerative landscapes, and long-term financing to support them. Our aim is sustainable economic and commodity growth that includes responsible natural resource management and inclusive opportunities for social well-being.

In 2018, Solidaridad East and Central Africa promoted best practices and sustainability to ensure sector transformation through our textile, leather, coffee, gold, dairy, tea, fruits and vegetables programmes. We focused on food security, gender inclusivity, ICT, climate innovations, investment in viable businesses for impact creation,-and working with producers and industries. We engaged governments, financial institutions and markets in creating robust infrastructures, that resulted in effective production and working environments. The formation of the Kenya Coffee Platform, coordination of sustainable landscapes multi-stakeholder platforms and the advocacy work to establish a sustainable Tea Policy in Uganda were highlights of our regional public-private sector engagements.

We need speed and scale to create sustainable landscapes, was the main message of a humorous activity that Solidaridad Germany organized at the Global Landscape Forum in Bonn in December 2018. Policy makers from around the globe were motivated to run quite a bit faster towards their goals.

2018 saw Solidaridad begin to emerge from anonymity in North America. We were featured on national television, received a significant award, hosted a major conference and participated in numerous events, activities and publications throughout the year. In a region with more than a million non-governmental organizations, it has been a successful year for us.

Solidaridad Southern Africa has had an exciting year of reflection and growth. Our team has expanded to grow our innovation area and commodity expertise. The Sustainable Water Fund project ended with stellar results proving that building a well-resourced team matched with great partners is a prerequisite for achieving impact. In 2018 we focused on setting up the right foundation for the pipeline of work we will be pursuing to position the organization as a leader in sustainable development within the region.

Solidaridad South America is adapting its strategy to effectively serve farmers and companies with climate-smart solutions. We’re working towards more resilient production with less emissions and better use of land and water, while avoiding deforestation. We work in the challenging and diverse landscapes of the Amazon, the savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado, the Colombian Orinoquia, and in the dry forests of Chaco. Innovations in digital and financial tools are key for up-scaling climate-smart solutions.The climate-smart cocoa beans from one of the producers in our cocoa programme, were used to make the first chocolate from Tuêre at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

CREATING CHANGE THAT MATTERS

Foreword by Mariam Dao Gabala

The year 2018 proved itself to be quite challenging, globally speaking. While awareness continued to grow around the subject of sustainability and the desperate state of our planet’s environment, we recognize there is a huge amount of work to be done if we want to slow, and ideally put a stop to, the already devastating impacts of climate change.

That said, as ever, we are incredibly thankful and proud of all Solidaridad Network staff working around the globe in our eight regional offices across five continents. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to continue our strategic partnerships with companies and government agencies. And we wouldn’t have reached so many farmers who have seen an increase in their income and adopted better production practices. What we do is having a real, sustainable impact.

In this year’s annual report you’ll find many stories of our achievements around the world in spite of wide-ranging political, environmental and economic conditions affecting many of the regions in which we work.

Strategy

SOLUTION-ORIENTED CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION

Solidaridad positions itself as a 21st century civil society organization with a solution and market-oriented focus. Markets are becoming legitimate channels for social and ecological change. Solidaridad is not a watchdog. What fits us better is the role of the guide dog and we need to avoid becoming a lap dog. Solidaridad is a critical partner defending public goods for future generations.

Most market processes are part of the problem, so we have to turn business practices into part of the solution. The driving concept for this is market transformation. Markets can only produce more desirable social and ecological outcomes through the interaction between good governance, corporate social and ecological responsibility and innovative civil society contributions. Public-private sector partnerships will be increasingly important for leveraging change. 

Both the population and consumption per capita are expected to grow rapidly for decades to come. By and large, these growth patterns outpace efforts to reduce negative impacts.

One of the most pressing examples of growth outpacing sustainability is climate change. Attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been estimated to be seven times too slow to compensate for rapidly increasing consumption. Ecological challenges are increasingly interlinked on a global scale due to the intensity of the use of land, water and energy. In general, inequality in our world is growing.

The richest 42 multi-billionaires at the top of the income ladder hold wealth equal to the annual income of the 3.7 billion people at the bottom. The increasing disparity between rich and poor should inspire us to choose another – more inclusive – model of growth based on participation. Participation is key. Social inclusion – leaving no one behind – based on a broad pro-poor growth strategy. 

Solidaridad designed a Theory of Change and defined result areas for a five-year strategy period from 2016 to 2020: 

  • good practices 
  • robust infrastructures in agriculture, mining and industry
  • landscape innovations 
  • enabling policy environments 

MISSION

Our mission is to bring together supply chain actors and engage them in innovative solutions to improve production, supporting the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all. We aspire to transform production practices in such a way that it provides fair and profitable business opportunities, guarantees decent working conditions and a living wage, and does not deplete landscapes where people thrive.

VISION

Solidaridad envisions a world in which all we produce, and all we consume, can sustain us while respecting the planet, each other and next generations.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

When we designed Solidaridad’s Theory of Change, we defined four result areas as part of our current five-year strategy. Good practices, robust infrastructures in agriculture, mining and industry, landscape innovations and enabling policy environments. These four areas contribute to two overarching aims: sustainable and inclusive sectors, and sustainable landscapes. Good practices in agriculture will remain a focus point for Solidaridad’s work in the years to come. We can only make a difference in the field by directly working with farmers.

GOOD PRACTICES

In 2018, we supported over 672,000 farmers, workers and miners to adopt good practices and more than 450 companies to adopt good environmental and social practices. This covered 1.6 milion hectares of land worldwide, and improved the working conditions of more than 110,000 workers in factories, mines and large- and small-scale agricultural estates.

We follow three main strategies to support the adoption of good practices at scale: 1. entering into regional multi-stakeholder partnerships, platforms and public private partnerships to allow for dissemination of best practices 2. using digital solutions to allow faster access to knowledge and support at scale 3. enabling impact investment to move beyond grant-based support and allow for sustainable financial support.

ROBUST INFRASTRUCTURES

Our robust infrastructure intervention strategy is aimed at providing and enhancing producers’ access to the necessary services, inputs, knowledge, capital and markets.

We distinguish three approaches: 1. developing new service infrastructure 2. expanding the service portfolio of existing producer organizations and cooperatives. Producer groups and cooperatives have an important role to play in aggregating demand for services and inputs. They also aggregate supply, thereby creating important economies of scale for small-scale producers. 3. strengthening existing national extension services to embrace new support methodology and proven concepts. The outreach potential of these extension services is large, however it takes time and effort to mobilize such agencies to change their curricula, while the actual implementation depends largely on their own capacity and willingness to invest. In 2018, we directly supported service providers in the various ways described above. These service providers included individual entrepreneurs, SMEs, producer groups, cooperatives and extension agencies. This increased access to inputs, knowledge, credits and other agri-services for about 190,000 producers.

ENABLING POLICY ENVIRONMENT

To enable the policy environment, Solidaridad employs three approaches for policy engagement. The approach we take depends on the context, the existing relationship between decision makers and stakeholders, and the sensitivity of the issue being addressed.

The three approaches are to: 1. empower and build networks. We enable civil society, producer organizations and local government authorities to have meaningful participation and contribute to the dialogue by improving their knowledge and understanding, negotiation skills and resources. 2. advise and support. We provide knowledge, advice and practical tools to public and private decision makers to improve policy making and enforcement. 3. convene in dialogue. We establish multi-stakeholder platforms and other forms of dialogue. Bringing together key stakeholders in dialogue in order to increase mutual understanding and recognition, and to identify opportunities to commit to joint action to address (pre-competitive) sustainability issues. In 2018, we convened, participated and joined stakeholders in about 100 multi-stakeholder platforms to discuss and define required policy frameworks. We directed our support to a diverse range of stakeholders, the majority being producer and local civil society organizations, but also grassroots and governmental institutions.

LANDSCAPE

We address landscape issues by bringing together stakeholders with different points of view who are either contributing to, or experiencing the consequences of, these problems. The landscape solutions explored and piloted with local communities and stakeholders are related to water management, deforestation and land degradation.

In 2018, both on farms and across the landscapes where we work, we were able to improve management practices over 1.6 million hectares of land. We brought together 120 stakeholders and piloted a wide variety of landscape solutions.

BRINGING SUSTAINABILITY TO SPEED AND SCALE

Innovation is in our DNA. In all that we do, we look beyond existing sustainability solutions to find ways to make our work more effective. As part of our strategy for 2020, we’re working in four innovation areas where we want to increase our expertise to expand our impact.

Globally, we are facing grand, complex challenges with regards to sustainability and inclusivity. To address these, we need to implement smart and holistic solutions. We have to look beyond the commodity level to understand how landscape innovation can mitigate the negative effects of climate change. It is imperative to take gender inequality issues into account, not just because we value inclusivity, but because there is a clear business case for including women. And, in one of our most prestigious programmes, we are exploring how the use of data and digital tools can increase the scale of our interventions and give farmers more ownership. Last, but not least, we are working on making new types of financial models, such as impact investment, to accelerate sustainable production.

CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPES

IMPLEMENTING CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPE INNOVATION

Climate change is already hampering agricultural transformation. It affects crop and livestock production in several regions of the world. Deforestation and forest degradation due to agricultural expansion continues at alarming rates, leading to degradation of landscapes and rural poverty.

In 2018 we expanded our climate and landscape innovation portfolio to work towards more resilient landscapes, resilient and productive farmers and resilient markets, and to halt landscape degradation. In addition to our existing landscape programmes across Asia, Africa and South America, we initiated the New South West Bangladesh Sustainable Landscape and the Ganga Landscape of India programmes. Both these programmes test various tools to support landscape-level planning. They also aim to improve governance, support stakeholders to achieve a common vision and work together towards resilient landscapes. In Colombia, Solidaridad facilitated the signing of a zero-deforestation national agreement for palm oil. The declaration contributes to deforestation-free and resilient landscapes, and was signed by the Colombian, UK and Norwegian governments, WWF, TNC, WRI, and Unilever, among others. Our Climate Position and Climate Policy was finalized and approved. More than 20 climate innovation projects were identified for testing tools and methods. This allows us to measure and report on the climate mitigation and adaptation impacts across Africa, Asia and South America. We developed a climate vulnerability assessment tool, currently being piloted as part of several projects, to improve project design and ensure that climate risks are addressed during the design process. It will also help to ensure that promoted interventions lead to improved farmer resilience in the face of climate change. In 2019 we will continue to address the major challenges to mainstream climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience in landscape management in our project design. We will further develop our implementation teams’ capacities and skills, and work to improve evidence-based measurement and reporting of our climate and landscape level impacts.

DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

BRINGING DIGITAL INNOVATION TO THE WORLD’S SMALLHOLDER FARMERS

As investment in agri-tech gathers speed worldwide, Solidaridad has a key role to play in bringing innovation to the world’s smallholder farmers. We are working to bridge the digital divide and make the most of new technologies to deliver better, smarter solutions to even more farmers. 

Digital innovations can increasingly be deployed to help deliver finance and market access to farmers in tailored packages at scale. Solidaridad’s commitment to making digital innovation a key component of its intervention strategy is beginning to show promising results across the world. We have worked on a total of 45 digital interventions worldwide, and developed 10 custom apps to help over 150,000 farmers manage their businesses and make decisions. Advances in technology create unique opportunities for applications in agriculture. Solidaridad wants to make use of these opportunities to improve the speed and scale of its programmes. In 2016, Solidaridad announced its intention to become a data-driven organization. Since then, Solidaridad has made important progress towards this goal by developing requisite tools and an organizational culture that acts on data. In Asia, tea farmers can self-assess using the tailor-made Trinitea app to help them progress towards market standards. The assessment provides a high degree of assurance to the farmer, buying factories and tea packers, as well as consumers on social, agronomical and environmental aspects of tea production. New apps are also being used in palm oil and soy programmes. In addition, Bangladesh’s Village Supermarkets, which provide new, direct pathways for smallholders to trade their goods, are entirely supported by tailor-made digital infrastructure. In South Africa, all of our projects have embraced digital solutions, such as remote sensing, the cattle grading app, Farming Solution, Business Solution and soil testing services. Among the successes, we are seeing young entrepreneurs being trained to set up soil analysis businesses using radar scanners as part of the Kvuno initiative, so that smallholders can adapt their fertilizer use for maximum efficiency. In South America, we have worked on a total of 14 digital interventions, using two apps developed in the region to foster the adoption of good agricultural practices. In our project in the Brazilian Amazon, field workers are using the Extension Solution app to plan and record their activities. They’re able to create automated work plans to share with cocoa farmers to help them increase their yields and reduce the need for deforestation. Oil palm farmers in Colombia tested out the Farming Solution app, where they can self-assess and receive work plans, news and training materials to work on the sustainability of their production. In West Africa, we’re currently profiling 50,000 farmers to build an analytics database for agricultural recommendations. We also translated the Farming Solution App into Twi and began testing it with local farmers to help them manage their cocoa crops. Meanwhile, in East Africa, the advancement of telecommunications infrastructure allowed us to pilot mobile payment systems, while testing the Extension Solution and Farming Solution apps with coffee farmers in Ethiopia. By bundling digitally-supported services around local trade networks, we can move beyond traditional development paradigms towards supporting new business models in the regions where we work. We are empowering farmers, entrepreneurs and traders to use digital services to drive their businesses sustainably and efficiently. Beyond the considerable technology being developed within Solidaridad, we are working to embed proprietary and partner tools to strengthen real, meaningful local connections in the field. Trades and services can now access those who are harder to reach in ways that were not previously possible. In the meantime, as smallholder farming becomes digitalized, we are hard at work behind the scenes to ensure that farm data is used ethically and fairly. We are only now, as a global society, beginning to truly grasp the power of data to reshape realities, from trading and production to social and economic processes. There is tremendous power in the data we can access at Solidaridad, and we are committed to ensuring that whatever value or intelligence are gleaned from farmers’ data is reverted to their direct and tangible benefit. To that end, we are collecting and analyzing critical farm data from our projects, and combining it with information from satellites, markets and weather. In this way, Solidaridad will generate the insights and knowledge needed to push for systemic change in agriculture, predicting trends, understanding the drivers of climate-smart farming practices, or the adoption of specific seeds or fertilizers. We can work to drive more transparency in commodities trading, in local, regional, and international value chains, in ways that can further highlight how we can support farmers. Digital innovation has indeed become a key element of our work, across all levels, from farm facing, to the systems and products that can support inter-scalar cooperation, to our own internal processes. Together with our community of partners, we are designing the future of development now, for a more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable tomorrow for the smallholders of the world.

IMPACT INVESTMENT

SUPPORTING SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES TO STRENGTHEN REGIONAL SERVICE PROVISION INDUSTRIES

In 2018 we developed a professional pipeline management system managing our portfolio of opportunities. 

Out of 59 opportunities sourced throughout the year, the majority were at an early stage of development. During the project phase (18 opportunities) the impact investment specialists analyze the potential of the business case on growth and impact. When positive, the team supports the entrepreneur in developing the business plan and the verification of assumptions by collecting and analyzing data (21 opportunities). Next, we develop the investment proposition and advise the entrepreneur on the ideal financial package (six opportunities). During these first three phases, we shortlist impact investors that match the profile of the opportunity, during the pitch and sales phase (13 opportunities), we introduce the entrepreneur to impact investors. At the end of 2018, Solidaridad had completed two deals. We support impact investment opportunities across our network. In 2018, the focus was on West Africa. Solidaridad has a strong and solid reputation designing projects based on market mechanisms and business cases. This is important as these types of projects allow us to source impact investment opportunities effectively. In 2018 we secured the continuation of the CORIP II (cocoa) and SWAPP II (palm oil) projects (together worth 34 million euros). Both projects aim to strengthen the service provision industry in the West Africa region by supporting SMEs getting into business. Our Central America team designed the Mesoamerican Landscape Accelerator, combining impact investments and landscape finance. The Asia team set up and invested in a market place for farmers, while our team in Europe started to create a crowd-sourcing platform focusing on investing in ‘small deal tickets’ between micro-lending and commercial finance. The majority of opportunities are in cocoa and palm oil. Coffee, dairy and fruits and vegetables follow closely behind. Although we do not have a preference, the majority of opportunities relate to cocoa and palm oil. In East Africa the team started to work with DOB Equity in the dairy sector in Tanzania. Our team in South America introduced an investor successfully to one of the largest coffee traders to provide input finance to coffee-producing farmers. In Southern Africa our impact investment team focused on smallholder lending and developed an IT application farmers (multiple commodities) can use to share economic and financial data in order to get better access to finance. In West Africa, the impact investment team developed a lending product for cocoa and palm oil producing farmers together with one of the leading cooperative banks.

GENDER INCLUSIVITY

GIVING VISIBILITY TO GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVE WORKING THROUGHOUT SUPPLY CHAINS


On 21 July 2018, for the first time ever, the Peruvian Government acknowledged the Pallaqueras (female gold miners) in an official decree. 

Through the new regulation, the Pallaqueras’ role in the mining sector is finally visible. This grants them access to formal markets within certain production volumes, where they can sell their ore to refiners, and gold processing plants. Solidaridad West Africa, together with the Ghana Cocoa Board, launched the Women in Cocoa and Chocolate network. This network seeks to bring together women in the cocoa sector to actively engage in the national agenda of promoting a sustainable supply chain. Internally, Solidaridad Europe worked to integrate gender inclusivity deliverables into annual planning. At the same time, Solidaridad Southern Africa set up a gender inclusivity steering committee, creating a platform and synergy between programme and quality function teams. To further build staff capacity in Colombia, Solidaridad South America consulted internal and external stakeholders to develop an inclusive agricultural technical assistance manual with a gender focus. The manual was then shared publicly in Colombia and Paraguay. Solidaridad Asia introduced relevant indicators and milestones in monitoring and evaluation frameworks to track the results of gender inclusivity interventions. The key lessons learnt in gender inclusivity at both internal and programme level were: 1. importance of leadership support 2. need to focus on, and engage with, gender champions 3. working with different teams on gender focus, allowing them to learn on-the-job, empowers staff 4. at task-force level, team building is essential for good intercultural, long-distance cooperation.

Our focus is to realize the potential of aquaculture to support more resilient coastal communities. In Bangladesh, the SaFal food security programme worked with more than 8,000 shrimp farmers in 2018 to cumulatively supporting 37,000 farmers. The programme aims to increase competitiveness in production and supply of quality aquaculture products to domestic and export markets. We initiated a new project in India supporting 2000 shrimp farmers to develop good practices, as well as policy support to engage with EU importers.

Across our cocoa programmes we helped improve farmer-level productivity. For example, in Liberia, farmers planted 382,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings on newly established farms translating to 45,000 hectares of land. In Cote d’Ivoire, we supported the set up of 393 Village Savings and Loans Associations with a membership of 8,150 (94% women). The aim is to empower women, develop a savings culture and facilitate access to affordable finance for women cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire.

2018 was a year of consolidation, exchange and influence for our coffee programme. We launched a major initiative in East Africa to transform 15,000 coffee farmers’ production systems in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania by 2021, ran an exchange for our global coffee teams in Colombia and Peru to enhance our climate-smart coffee technical package, and launched the 2018’s Coffee Barometer with more than 100 industry leaders as part of the World of Coffee event in Europe.

We established two organic cotton and water programmes in India’s Maharashtra state, aiming to reach 30,000 farmers. Cotton production accounts for 54% of total pesticides used in Indian agriculture, causing immense ecological and human hazards. In Brazil, we continued to support smallholder cotton production in semi-arid conditions. Six of seven pilot farmers who switched to irrigated production recorded increases in productivity of 155% on average, with peaks of +643% per hectare.

Commissioned by the World Bank, Solidaridad developed a holistic vision to create a competitive and climate-smart dairy sector in East Africa by increasing integration within the value chain. In line with this vision, we worked with more than 23,000 farmers in Bangladesh to offer support in business development. We also worked with private partners to develop a programme for medium-sized dairy farms in Myanmar, as well as launching a dairy innovation programme in Tanzania.

In Asia, the SaFaL programme supported almost 18,000 farmers (52% women) and market actors to achieve greater productivity through the adoption of sustainable technologies in production and post-harvest management. In Africa, we commissioned an agricultural status report in Zambia to gain a greater understanding of the fruit and vegetable sectors in-country. And Ecuador adopted the Banana Occupational Health and Safety manual developed by Solidaridad, which will impact the integrity, safety and well-being of 220,000 banana workers.

In Bolivia, we supported the National Network of Female Miners, building up leadership and advocacy capacity in over 200 female miners. In East and Central Africa, we undertook an economic, social and governance assessment of the mines participating in our projects to identify capacity gaps and design mine improvement plans. In West Africa, we participated in policy engagement with the multi-sectoral mining integrated project in gender, capacity building and recategorization of mines in Ghana.

In Zambia, we launched a pilot livestock programme focusing on grazing land, climate mitigation and resilience. The project seeks to restore practices that help the ecosystem thrive while increasing knowledge around cattle breeding from the market perspective. In Paraguay, we supported small-scale dairy producers to adopt climate-smart technologies to improve herds’ resilience to sustained droughts in Dry Chaco. This increased dairy productivity by 17%, which led to two new cooperatives to adopt climate-smart technologies.

Our corporate partner Henkel launched a new beauty care product line ‘Nature Box’ with Solidaridad’s logo on the pack, and the tagline: ‘We support local farmers’. Since 2012 Henkel has invested in seven Solidaridad palm oil improvement projects in Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras. Together we’ve reached nearly 25,000 farmers with a combined area of nearly 300,000 hectares. Overall an average yield increase of 16% has been reported since the collaboration started.

Across the soy-producing regions, Solidaridad supported local actors to improve supply chains, making them more robust and transparent, and developing awareness about deforestation issues. Over 1.65 million hectares were brought under improved management production systems and 4.9 million tons of responsible soy were produced. In eastern Paraguay and southern Brazil, we worked to support smallholders with environmental, social and economic issues including legal compliance and integrating digital solutions.

Solidaridad’s teams in Brazil and Colombia scaled up and increased outreach through digital solutions under the ELO, Muda Cana and Pro Cana programme covering 363,000 hectares and production of 24 million tons. In South Africa, Zambia and Malawi our capacity building programmes supported almost 5,000 farmers. In India, we trained 27,000 farmers and 60,000 hectares of land were brought under sustainable agriculture covering 13 mills.

In Indonesia, Solidaridad provided technical support to 30,000 smallholder farmers to access loans available from the Indonesian government to allow them to develop small tea processing factories. We also facilitated the signing of a historic agreement between ITA and UPASI (India), China Tea Marketing Association (China) and Indonesian Tea Marketing Association for a pan-Asia coordination of sustainability initiatives. For the first time, all three countries recognized each other’s sustainability frameworks for improving the tea sector.

Solidaridad set up a mill improvement and capacity building programmes in China that work to reduce the environmental impact of the textile wet processing industry (which involves water, energy, chemicals and waste water). After successful in China, we expanded the programme to Ethiopia and we’re now working with the Apparel Impact Institute and four other organizations and initiatives (IDH, SIWI, NRDC, IFC) towards global-scaling of mill improvement programmes.

ORGANIZATION

Solidaridad is an international network organization with a culturally diverse staff. People, learning and development are key factors which help the global organization to realize Solidaridad’s vision and strategy. Our HR strategy ‘Growth through Connection’ emphasizes the strength of an interconnected learning organization, which is open for, and has trust in, the talents, expertise and knowledge of its staff.

Solidaridad’s four innovation areas (gender inclusivity, impact investment, climate and landscapes and digital solutions) exist to increase the impact of our development efforts toward a sustainable and inclusive economy. In 2018, Solidaridad continued to invest in Global Task Force teams to build our track record and expertise on the basis of best practices and successful new interventions. 

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIZATION

The development and implementation of human resources policies, including onboarding, performance and talent management, took place at the regional level. Each regional expertise centre appointed or recruited a regional HR Manager. Their continuous efforts contributed to solid HR policies and instruments being put in place. The policies supported the recruitment of 173 (35% female) new staff members, ensured all new employee agreements included the Code of Conduct and Good Practices and the Whistleblower procedure, and refined  onboarding processes. In total, 60 people left the organization for various reasons. Most new recruits (58.34%) started working in Asia, due to recruitment for programmes in India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Although all regions grew in number of staff members, Central America and Southern Africa reached the highest growth rate at 76% and 35% respectively. In 2018, Solidaridad’s net growth was 113.

At the end of 2018, Solidaridad employed 718 people. With 226 (31%) (2017:198) female and 492 (69%) (2017: 345) male employees. Regional differences in staff composition are as follows:

The gender diversity chart shows that Europe, South America and Southern Africa employed, relatively speaking, the most women at 66%, 49% and 48% respectively. Asia and West Africa employed, relatively speaking, the least women at 18% and 20%, respectively. Management in West Africa is keen to bridge the gender disparity, particularly since the new recruits in 2018 were mainly men (92%).

Learning together means creating a culture of cooperation, providing and receiving feedback, and allowing staff to increase knowledge, competence, and performance. In 2018, most employees and managers prepared, conducted and recorded discussions about performance, personal growth and improvements.

In 2019, continuous attention will be invested in defining HR quality standards. Creating more clarity about roles and mandates is needed to harmonize Performance and Talent Management. Finally, we will start with the establishment of the Solidaridad Academy, which supports the creation of a high-impact learning culture.

Solidaridad’s communication strategy evolves around visibility and engagement. We need to increase the visibility of our work in order to encourage support from all our stakeholders. Increased visibility helps Solidaridad to receive funding, work with governments and access private companies. But Solidaridad also has a role in directly engaging with audiences that can influence sustainability policies or knowledge. In meaningful debates and interaction our policies take shape and are amplified.

SOCIAL MEDIA AS A DRIVER

With a global audience and limited resources, social media and the website are key channels for Solidaridad’s communications. Throughout 2018 we kept our audiences informed by publishing news and publications about Solidaridad on the site at least twice a week. Social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are used to alert people to these updates and to invite people to visit our website.

This proves to be a successful strategy, with website visitors increasing from 91,000 to 115,000 in 2018. On our social media we saw similar growth trends. Our LinkedIn followers increased from 8,222 to 10,224 and our Twitter followers increased from 4,326 to 4,753.

Our international monthly newsletter attracted many new loyal readers in 2018. The number of subscribers more than quadrupled from 1,664 to 7,826.

SPREADING THE WORD

We had the opportunity to highlight our work at a number of key events in the sector. We were proud to present at the 24th edition of the Climate Conference (COP24),  the International Responsible Soy Conference, the Berkeley conference on Innovation in Agrifoods Supply Chains, and the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference, among others.


Increasingly Solidaridad is also experimenting with new forms of information sharing, like vlogs and podcasts. For now, these tools are mainly used for internal learning, but it’s our ambition to start using them for external communication in the near future.  

A highlight worth mentioning was also our feature on the situation in the sugarcane industry at PBS Newshour, reaching over 1.2 million viewers in the United States.

EXPANDING PARTNERSHIPS

Solidaridad expanded its partnership with Henkel Beauty Care to include the company’s new brand, Nature Box. Solidaridad’s logo is now found on the back of Nature Box’s shampoos, conditioners and shower gels along with the message: “We support local farmers.”

AWARDS

We were also proud to receive the Arrell Food Innovation Award. Solidaridad received the award in recognition of its efforts to harness the power of markets to effect social change on behalf of the smallholder farmers of the world. In April, we won the JSW-Times of India Earth Care Award 2018 for our Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security & Linkages (SaFaL) programme in Bangladesh. 

CAMPAIGNS

In April, Solidaridad contributed to the launch of the Cocoa Barometer 2018 by engaging international press and facilitated sessions at the World Cocoa Conference in Berlin where more than thousand professionals from the sector were gathered. Solidaridad was a prominent participant of the conference and highly visible, which resulted in better relation building opportunities. 

In June, following the publication of the Coffee Barometer 2018, Solidaridad organized the debate ‘Who is paying for the coffee of the future?’. The Rainforest Alliance, Rabobank and development magazine Vice Versa supported the debate, which took place the evening before the World of Coffee event at a location in the heart of the Dutch financial sector. This debate created more awareness about the need to invest in coffee growing regions and the role the financial sector can play.

ALIGNMENT AND CONSOLIDATION

The focus for the global finance and control team in the strategic period from 2016 to 2020 is alignment and consolidation, together with a continuous improvement of our internal control system.

Six concrete actions were planned for this strategic period: 

1. global alignment of accounting principles
2. implementation of a global accounting system
3. preparation of consolidated financial statements
4. global alignment of financial policies and procedures
5. implementation of a global risk management process
6. implementation of a global treasury management process

The first action; global alignment of accounting principles, was finalized in 2017. For the second action, the implementation of a global accounting system, preparations started in 2017 and the expectation is that the last two regions will go live in 2019, with hindsight per 1 January 2019. This will make it possible to complete action three in 2019. It took much longer than expected to implement one global accounting system. It is a complex process to align more than 30 legal entities, each with their own local rules and regulations and bring them together in once accounting system. 

The global alignment of financial policies and procedures is ongoing, expected finalization is 2020. The last two actions; the implementation of a global risk management process and a treasury management process, have not yet begun. Implementation of a risk management process (action 5) can only start after all policies and procedures have been mapped (action 4) and a treasury management process (action 6) can only start after all regions are fully working in the global accounting system (action 2). 

COMMODITY PROGRAMMES

Solidaridad’s goal to become a data-driven organization requires solid monitoring and evaluation procedures as well as reliable and valid data. In order to support this journey, we have identified four pillars for our planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning (PMEL) work: Systems for Action, Evidence for Change, Capacities for Measure, and Communication for Resources.

Under Systems for actions, we define a Theory of Change for every project with clear assumptions and measurement plans, define a data model based on the monitoring protocol, collect data at field level (atomic and aggregated data), analyze data, and visualize data. Under Evidence for change we define our monitoring and evaluation methods, collect data collection through ICT and rigorous methodologies, orgainze internal and external  evaluations (internal and external), and develop dashboards that can be utilized to both efficiently track progress for ongoing monitoring, and to provide content for communications. With Capacities for measure we refer to building capacity of project/ programme teams, facilitating and documenting learning sessions, and institutionalizing learning. With Communication for resources we focus on communicating with evidence.

Solidaridad has institutionalized the development of theories of change for all projects, and during 2018 we placed greater emphasis on improving the quality and consistency of data. We continued to embed and refine the network-wide monitoring protocol with the aim of aligning indicators and definitions. At the same time, we laid the foundations for a solid data model to identify key data points across projects, which will allow us to collect atomic data from the field. Being able to track progress on each individual farmer, miner or worker, rather than at aggregated level, will give Solidaridad valuable data which can be used for adaptive management and impact monitoring. But, most importantly, it can be given back to the farmer, miner or worker to monitor their own progress.

The use of technology for collecting, monitoring and analysing data is becoming the norm and the use of open-source data collection tools is rapidly increasingly. Keeping pace with this trend, during 2018 we progressed from conventional paper-data collection to digital methods using mobile phones with integrated open-source tools such as ODK, Taro and KoboCollect. The latest technologies have also been integrated into our monitoring, such as remote sensing technologies (soil scanning), IoT weather stations, and satellite tools to monitor land cover change. This has improved farmers’ insights on their production.

While monitoring and gathering data is key for adjusting interventions during programme implementation, accountability towards our donors and partners is of great importance. Collecting evidence that demonstrates impact for the target groups with whom we work (farmers, miners, workers, women and youth) allows our partners and donors to support result measurement while giving Solidaridad solid proof of concept to scale up. External programme evaluations are an important source for collecting evidence and an important input towards future programming. In order to assure the same principles are applied among all evaluations conducted across Solidaridad, we work with the OEC’s Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) principles for the evaluation of development assistance. Namely: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.

Below we present the findings of some of the most relevant evaluations conducted over 2018.

MID-TERM REVIEW OF THE ADVOCACY FOR CHANGE AND PRACTICE FOR CHANGE PROGRAMMES

The mid-term review looked at Solidaridad’s Practice for Change (PfC) and Advocacy for Change (AfC) programmes following the OECD DAC in terms of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.

RELEVANCE

Findings show that both beneficiaries and stakeholders rate Solidaridad’s work as relevant to their needs, and that Solidaridad has the mechanisms for scaling in place. This includes public private and multi-stakeholder partnerships, using digital solutions and enabling impact investment. Our priority for the coming years is to further embed, test, and prove these scaling mechanisms.

EFFECTIVENESS

Particular progress has been made in terms of the performance indicators under the areas of good practices, sustainable landscape innovation and enabling policy environments. Targets for robust infrastructure were not entirely achieved by the end of 2017, and the targets for 2017 were possibly too ambitious. We are however confident that we will be able to catch up during the remaining programme period.

The review concluded that Solidaridad has been effective in turning capacity changes into behavioural changes. It found that Solidaridad is perceived as: “a trusted partner that is technically strong on the commodities included in PfC and AfC, and that builds on previous work by all parties involved in change: business, workers, and government”. The report confirms Solidaridad’s central assumption that connecting work on the ground with dialogue and advocacy leads to better results than focusing exclusively on either one.

EFFICIENCY

The report emphasizes that the inception phase, in combination with the shift to a new organizational model and the novelty of the approaches, caused delays in implementation and budget utilization in 2016-2017. This applies particularly the landscape innovation approach, climate innovation and impact investment, as well as the role of lobby and advocacy in the context of Solidaridad. We are, however, confident that we will be able to act on those areas which require improvement.

SUSTAINABILITY

The report concludes that Solidaridad has been successful in promoting ownership by supporting and engaging a large variety of stakeholders. It also concludes that ownership of activities and outcomes is recognised as an important element in creating sustainability.

The participatory approach adopted in this mid-term review has provided a valuable opportunity for reflection, and helped identify opportunities to improve our project implementation and management.
 

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FOOD SECURITY AND LINKAGES

The endline study for Phase 1 of the sustainable agriculture, food security and linkages programme (SaFaL) revealed important improvements in productivity, food security and gender inclusivity.

The productivity of SaFaL dairy farmers (2.5 litres/cow/day) increased by 90% in comparison with that of non-SaFaL farmers (1.34 litres/cow/day). In the aquaculture sector, SaFaL households produced more fish (across all fish types) per hectare (by weight) than their counterparts in the comparison group. The difference was significant in the case of shrimp where SaFaL households produced nearly 350 kg/hectare as compared to 262 kg/hectare of non-SaFaL households. In the horticulture sector, 2018 figures showed a 45% increase on 2016-17, when SaFaL farmers received BDT 570286.4 per hectare of area cultivated.

In terms of women’s participation in decision making, we found evidence that a higher proportion of women from SaFaL households were taking part in a variety of key business decisions than non-SaFaL households. This includes decisions like which crop (or species of fish or breed of cow) to cultivate, new business ventures, managing finances, and investing and taking loans.

MASO NEXT GENERATION YOUTH PROGRAMME LEARNING SURVEY

The MASO next generation cocoa youth programme in West Africa assessed how it has influenced the perceptions and attitudes of youth in agriculture. The study sampled and interviewed 2,939 youth, adult cocoa farmers and service providers. Almost all programme beneficiary youth (98%) said they had gained new knowledge and skills in good cocoa farming practices with over 91% admitting to effectiveness of programme training and implementation strategy.

The results also show that over half of young people (59%) in MASO communities now perceive farming as a business that has prospects of transforming their lives rather than travelling to the cities. Another interesting result is more women now appreciate farming as an opportunity for both sexes, and not just job for men as originally perceived in cocoa growing communities.

SUBSTANTIAL GAINS IN SUGARCANE YIELD

The assessment of the sugarcane programme in India indicated a substantial increase in yield. It adopted a crop-cutting methodology that includes actual harvest of the crop in specific dimensions of the plot. In comparison with the 2016 baseline, the study revealed that overall there is a 48% improvement in yield of the plant crop and 16% of the ratoon crop. 2018 data also indicated a yield of 789 Qt/hectare for plant crops against 531 qt/hectare and 628 qt/hectare for ratoon crop as against 542 qt/hectare. This was largely due to a change in the variety, adoption of integrated pest management practices, trash mulching and irrigation.

EMPLOYEE AND COMMUNITY SATISFACTION ASSESSMENT IN MINES

An assessment with mine employees and workers was conducted for our programme to improve working conditions in industrial mines. The study revealed that 95% of workers found the programme beneficial as it has helped them to improve safety and working conditions. All workers reported higher level of autonomy in forming or joining associations. The community assessment study indicated that 95% of the villages surrounding the mines were consulted with regard to environmental protection. Sixty percent of the villages reported improvements in infrastructure the local area.

Solidaridad was one of the first European nonprofits to use Salesforce as its core, cloud-based database system. One platform holding all the data of the Solidaridad Network worldwide. Hundreds of projects, contracts and grants, and thousands of people, companies, organisations, transactions and so on. All in one place and accessible to all, so we called it Solidaridad Plaza.

Plaza started small focussing on the most basic and relevant data. Over the years, it has grown to become a comprehensive information platform holding tens of thousands of data records supporting key management and reporting processes. Plaza was also integrated with the Google Cloud (G Suite) and FinancialForce was implemented on the Salesforce platform as Solidaridad’s network-wide accounting system.

In 2018 we continued to further develop Plaza using our own limited internal resources. Significant progress was made but, increasingly, despite the concerted efforts of the Plaza Team, this proved no longer to be an effective strategy. Gathering user requirements, designing, building, testing, implementing, administering, and supporting a comprehensive network-wide system such as Plaza for over 300 users is too big a task for a small, internal team.

Towards the end of 2018 Solidaridad decided to commission an assessment of Plaza and its management and governance. External developments such as the tremendous growth of the amount of nonprofits now using Salesforce, and the growth of the amount and breadth of applications available within the so-called Salesforce ecosystem, will also be taken into consideration in the Plaza assessment. The recommendations of the assessment will be implemented in 2019.

Solidaridad is an international network organization with offices across the globe. The interconnected network places a focus on decentralized responsibility and implementation by regional teams. Local knowledge, experience and vision are guiding principles. The network’s connectedness is fostered by a global vision, strategy, programming, communication and internal quality-control systems. Each part of the network contributes to the whole. The premise of the structure is that it promotes capacity building: strengthening Solidaridad teams in the region, enabling them to take control of supervisory tasks and to manage programming themselves.

The regional Solidaridad teams cooperate with their own partners on the planning, implementation, communication and evaluation of programs, and on reporting their results.

The Solidaridad Network consists of eight regional expertise centres located in Asia, South America, Southern Africa, East and Central Africa, West Africa, Central America, North America and Europe – each with their own specific expertise and focus. Solidaridad’s programs are developed and implemented by regional centres, each locally registered and with a local legal structure. The regional centres:

  • are connected to the supervisory bodies of Solidaridad Network and the Executive Board, thereby contributing to the network strategy
  • manage interaction between the regional centre and the country offices
  • are responsible for the development, implementation, reporting and evaluation of the programs in their respective regions, taking the network’s quality standards and systems into account
  • are responsible for regional fundraising, thereby contributing to the network budget
  • employ local staff
  • are responsible for appropriate financial management and supervision, including the auditing of financial statements by an independent auditor.

In line with its vision on local ownership and governance, Solidaridad created legal entities in Panama City, Nairobi, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Utrecht for its regional expertise centres. From these legal entities, funds are received for, and allocated to, the country programs in the regions. The legal entities also act as contract partners for development contracts per continent, serving as a financial and administrative organization, including the handling of internal payments and consolidating financial statements.

SUPERVISION & GOVERNANCE

Solidaridad’s governance structure is based on the continental European governance model. This means, amongst others, a board with a two-tier structure, emphasis on dialogue with stakeholders and focus on achieving consensus. This governance model follows the subsidiarity principle. It aims to ensure that decisions are made as closely as possible to the deepest levels in the organization and that constant checks are made to verify that actions across Solidaridad Network are justified in light of the possibilities available at continental, national or regional office level.

International Supervisory Board

Within Solidaridad, the International Supervisory Board (ISB) is at the highest level of international oversight. The ISB monitors policies, the quality of programmes, financial control and the performance of the Executive Board of Directors (EBoD). Direct supervision of the regional offices is organized by continent. Each Continental Supervisory Board (CSB) is represented in the ISB by its chairman, thus enabling the ISB to focus on the interest of Solidaridad Network as a whole, instead of focusing on individual regional offices. The members of the ISB are:

NameFunction in the board
Mariam Dao GabalaAppointed per 22 June 2015 as chairperson of the ISB, representing the CSB Africa.
Gerrit MeesterAppointed per 13 December 2016, representing the CSB Europe.
Shahamin Sahadat ZamanAppointed per 19 December 2016, representing the CSB Asia.
Roxana Maria Irma Barrantes CaceresAppointed per 11 July 2018, representing the CSB Latin America.
Kannan PashupathyAppointed per 5 June 2014, representing the CSB North America.

The International Supervisory Board (ISB) met once in 2018, in June. The second meeting scheduled for December 2018 eventually took place on 1 February 2019. Main agenda points for the June meeting were the approval of the Network Secretariat’s financial statements for 2017 and the discussion of regional office annual reports. Solidaridad’s innovation agenda was also discussed, as well as its strategic approach towards digital data.

Continental Supervisory Boards

The regional operations are supervised by Continental Supervisory Boards (CSBs), which are legally registered in the same places as the continental legal entities. Solidaridad’s five CSBs provide direct supervision to the regional centres and country offices. The CSBs consist of leaders in business, civil society organizations or academic institutions from each continent: North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Each of these continental organizations is connected with the Solidaridad Network Foundation in Utrecht, the Netherlands, through the delegation of supervisory board members to the International Supervisory Board, thus creating a global network.

The members of the five Continental Supervisory Boards are:

CSB / Representative name and countryPosition
CSB AFRICA
Mariam Dao Gabala (Ivory Coast)Chair / ISB representative
Audrey Gadzepko (Ghana)Member
Kamau Kuria (Kenya)Member
Graham von Maltitz (South Africa)Member
CSB ASIA
Shahamin Zaman (Bangladesh)Chair / ISB representative
Mumunusamy Subbramaniam (Mr. Subbu) (India)Member
Mahesh Haribhai Mehta (India)Member from 16 June 2016
CSB LATIN AMERICA
Roxana Barrantes (Peru)Chair / ISB representative
Roberto UgazMember
Marina Stadthagen (Nicaragua)Member
CSB NORTH AMERICA
Kannan Pashupathy (USA)Chair / ISB representative
Arlene Mitchell (USA)Member
Jeroen Douglas (Argentina)Member
CSB EUROPE
Jan Karel Mak (NL)Member from 2016 / Chair from December 2018
Gerrit Meester (NL)Chair till Dec 2018
Carlos Alva Nieto (NL)member from 2016
Katrien Termeer (NL)Member from 2017
Claire Kouwenhoven-Gentil (NL)Member from 2017
Harriet Lamb (NL)Member from 2018

From left to right: Roxana Barrantes, Jan Karel Mak, Mariam Dao Gabala, Kannan Pashupatty, Shahamin Sahadat Zamin

The Continental and Supervisory Board’s work in their respective regions set the parameters for growth, determine the future direction, and ensure a strong national and continental presence. The boards strive for an optimal composition of five members, respecting a balanced composition in terms of gender, regional representation and areas of expertise and knowledge. In accordance with Solidaridad’s articles the members of the Supervisory Boards receive no remuneration of any kind.  

Regional Management

The Executive Board of Directors (EBoD) is the main policy-making body, ensuring coherence between international commodity strategies and regional programs. The EBoD is also responsible for the overall implementation of the international policy and commodity strategy. It consists of the managing directors from each regional expertise centre. In 2018, the chair of the EBoD was former  Executive Director of Solidaridad Network, Nico Roozen.

The members of the Solidaridad Executive Board of Directors in 2018 were: Shatadru Chattopadhayay (Asia), Mandla Nkomo (Southern Africa), Michaelyn Baur (Central America), Isaac Gyamfi (West Africa), Sebastian Teunissen (North America), Heske Verburg (Europe), Gonzalo la Cruz (South America) and Karugu Macharia, replaced by Rachel Wanyoike per 1 December 2018 (East and Central Africa).

From left to right: Jeroen Douglas, Nico Roozen, Sebastian Teunissen, Isaac Gyamfi, Heske Verburg, Michaelyn Bauer, Gonzalo la Cruz, Rachel Wanyoike, Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Mandla Nkomo.

The Executive Director is surrounded by staff who work at the Solidaridad Network Secretariat, based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Network Secretariat fulfils several functions within the global organization. It facilitates global policy development and acts as a service centre for the nine regional offices. The Network Secretariat provides support related to Solidaridad’s quality assurance systems, as well as maintaining standards for financial management, accountability and control, planning, monitoring and evaluation, ICT infrastructure and human resource management. It is also responsible for global communication, which includes managing the international website, and developing communication guidelines, tools and standards for global branding.

REMUNERATION

In accordance with Solidaridad’s statutes, neither the members of the International Supervisory Board nor the Continental Supervisory Boards of Solidaridad receive remuneration of any kind.

Remuneration of Solidaridad Directors entails a base salary, which is bounded by the VFI’s Guidelines for the Remuneration of Directors in Philanthropic Organisations (e.g. Adviesregeling Beloning Directeuren Goede Doelen). This scheme has been developed by Goede Doelen Nederland and sets maximum standards for annual income (e.g. gross annual salary, holiday pay, any end-of-year bonus and other income components). This scheme takes into account, among other things, the size and complexity of the organization. Furthermore, the Wet Normering Topinkomens (2015) determines the absolute maximum for annual income, amongst others. Solidaridad complies with both standards, which provide simplicity and consistency.

The base salary equals the total guaranteed annual income (e.g. monthly salary, including holiday pay and fixed 13th month). Remuneration of Solidaridad Directors complies with the salary scales as applied by the government for civil servants, the so-called BBRA scales. The Executive Director salary fits within BBRA scale 17. The Managing Directors salaries range from BBRA scale 15-16.

Remuneration of employees is embedded regionally, based on policies and regulations that can vary per Regional Expertise Centre.

Remuneration of all employees that are based in the Netherlands (the Solidaridad Network Foundation and Solidaridad Europe) is based on the BBRA scales.

Solidaridad aims to achieve high quality on all fronts. External auditors provide independent evaluations of the quality of each aspect of its operations. The four largest regional expertise centres are certified under the ISO 9001:2008 norm (Solidaridad West Africa, Solidaridad East and Central Africa, Solidaridad South America and Solidaridad Asia).

Solidaridad Europe, the largest regional centre of our network, is entitled to use the quality mark of the Central Bureau on Fundraising (CBF) and complies with its requirements. The CBF monitors all philanthropic bodies in the Netherlands and evaluates their management and policy, in order to increase the transparency of the charity sector.

While Solidaridad’s employees and partners work on the basis of reciprocal trust, management guards against individual abuses of this trust. Risks – and their consequences for strategy – are continually assessed. The Executive Board of Directors is aware that economic conditions can change quickly, politics can be unstable, and markets volatile.

Solidaridad is committed to transparency and the effective deployment of resources. It monitors project progress and the use of funds with a cloud-based project management system. Operations are audited and outcomes are discussed with management and supervisory boards. 

The internal risk management and control systems of each regional expertise centre provide reasonable assurance that financial statements are correct and that these systems have worked properly during the year under review. Each expertise centre has their financial statements audited annually before 15 April, all financial statements have received unqualified audit statements.

The main risks for Solidaridad are: 

  1. Reputational damage resulting from partnerships with companies. Solidaridad has internal guidelines for non-disclosure agreements and memoranda of understanding with companies.
  2. Illegitimate use of grant funds, which requires repayment obligations to donors. The budget is approved by the managing director of each regional office and the segregation of duties in the project management is appropriate.
  3. The economic climate and the willingness of private donors to donate. Solidaridad maintains quality marks and periodic external audits ensure compliance.
  4. The unpredictability of government policies. Political decision-making – and available funding – are hard to predict, as are the political forces which affect partner companies. Solidaridad defines thematic areas and targets policy makers with highest chance of success for the period to come.

Solidaridad produces a long-term strategic plan, which translates its mission and vision into operational objectives. This plan is drawn up by the management of all regional offices and approved by the International Supervisory Board. The annual plans of each regional office are a translation of the multi-annual strategic plan into more specific objectives, desired results, activities and budgets. A context analysis and evaluation of the previous annual plan serve as guidelines in preparing the next annual plan. External reporting includes an annual report and accounts, which are verified by an auditor and accompanied by an auditor’s opinion. The auditors discuss their findings with the managing director and financial controller of each regional office and may also call the attention of the CSB to any matters that need to be addressed, or where improvements could be made.

INTEGRITY 

Solidaridad remains fully committed to creating a safe and sound work environment for all staff, partners and beneficent and to building an organizational culture of integrity and equality. The Solidaridad Code of Conduct, including codes for issues of sexual intimidation, makes clear misconduct is not tolerated and neither is not-acting upon any violation. A Partner Code requires the same good conduct from contracted partners. 

In case of a complaint or report an email address and phone number are published on the website. In each region, a person of trust has been appointed to support people with complaints and help them with procedures for further steps. The whistle blower procedure clarifies the internal procedure for complaints and grievances and protects the whistle blower.  

Solidaridad has integrity high on its agenda. The Executive Board of  Directors manages, promotes and enables the agenda on integrity for all  Solidaridad staff members, partners and beneficiaries.    

In 2018, Solidaridad continued giving more attention to internal awareness building around the code of conduct. Instruments such as communication campaigns and informal debates were developed and implemented. 

Reflecting on our integrity policy, Solidaridad has effective instruments in place to prevent and signal inappropriate behavior, and when misconduct is signaled, to act. The challenge in 2019 is to complement instruments in place, and to build moral prudence based instruments that supports staff in dealing with ethical dilemmas they are confronted with in their work.

ANNUAL ACCOUNTS

Overall direct income for Solidaridad increased in 2018 from 39.2 million euros to 56.7 million euros. An increase of 45%. This is one of the results of new sources of funding Solidaridad was able to attract. But we also notice significant regional differences in the ability to diversify our funding base.

MULTI-ANNUAL FIGURES

The graph above shows the growth of Solidaridad Network from 2011 to 2020. Aggregated income in 2011 was 18.3 million euros which has grown to an aggregate income of 56.7m euros in 2018, a growth of 210% or an average of 30% per year.

This growth rate was realized when regions other than Solidaridad Europe started to contribute to the aggregated income. Between 2007 and 2011 Solidaridad set up entities outside of the Netherlands, but only from 2011 onwards did Solidaridad start to work under one governance system. 

2018 FIGURES FOR THE SOLIDARIDAD NETWORK

Solidaridad Network Income Statement 2018
in €1,000

INCOME2018 Actual2018 Budget2017 Actual2016 Actual
Solidaridad South America2,5163,1001,5964,969
Solidaridad Central America34809514
Solidaridad West Africa15,1894,7003,4324,594
Solidaridad Southern Africa1,0353001,5694,132
Solidaridad East & Central Africa1,3641,9001,2862,772
Solidaridad Asia5,5397,1008,1118,016
Solidaridad Europe30,61925,66922,85918,541
Solidaridad North America880217322
Total income56,69822,23139,16543,360

The table shows actual income in 2018 per region against budget (-13%) and against previous year (+45%). The regional offices only budget income that has already been contracted. In addition, the budget for 2018 included a forecasted income of 22.2m euros which set the total target for the year at 65m euros. The target of 65m euros was deliberately set at this ambitious level. Despite the lower actual income than budgeted, the increase against previous year is significant. 

The growth in income occurred mostly in Solidaridad Europe (+34% against 2017) and in Solidaridad West Africa (+343% against 2017). 

The growth in Solidaridad Europe occurred because insufficient funds were spent in 2017, and thus recognized as income on two large grants from the Dutch government. 2018 saw a catch-up in spending and thus in recognition of income from these grants. Besides, new grants were contracted that were not part of the contracted budget for 2018, but were represented in the budgeted pipeline for 2018. 

The growth in Solidaridad West Africa is largely due to grants from the Dutch Embassy, the Swiss Embassy and the European Union for cocoa and oil palm programs. These grants were not yet contracted at the end of 2017 and therefore they were not represented in Solidaridad West Africa’s 4.7m euros budget, but were in the pipeline.

WORKING TOWARDS CONSOLIDATION

Because of intercompany balances, it is not yet possible to provide consolidated expenditures for the Network. Solidaridad Network is in the process of working towards the production of consolidated figures. A set of accounting principles has been developed that comply with the Dutch accounting guideline 640 for non-profit organizations and, at the same time, render as much justice to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as possible. Where relevant, Solidaridad will comply with the stricter set of standards, for example in the area of related parties (IAS 24). For ease, we call this combined set of standards ‘Solidaridad Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (Solidaridad GAAP). 

As much as possible, the regional figures below are based on these combined set of standards. This means that they can deviate from the audited financial statements that have been prepared and audited on the basis of local laws and regulations. 

OFFICIAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Solidaridad is a true network where each region has its own supervision and financial statements. All financial statements are externally and officially audited. Below you will find the links to the official audited annual accounts. Note that legal entities and regional financial reporting requirements may deviate from the eight regions that we work with in practice. Some regions (e.g. Central America and South America) are integrated in one financial statement, while others (e.g. Southern Africa) report in separate financial statements per country. 

EUROPE

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

AFRICA

ASIA