2019 ANNUAL REPORT

Global 2019

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2019. It’s remarkable proof of the success of our approach, but the milestones went well beyond it. We brought two million hectares of land under good management practices this year. That’s double the amount in 2018. We also worked with 700,000 smallholder farmers – helping them to build better livelihoods using climate-smart methods – surpassing our target of 670,000. Most gratifying of all, we saw our impact increase exponentially thanks to the mainstreaming of sustainability. As thought leaders, Solidaridad collaborated with governments around the world to regulate oversight of supply chains beyond voluntary certification schemes. That’s the way forward to ensure farmers and other workers get a fair share of the value of what they produce. And to feed the growing population while protecting the earth.

ASIA

This was the first full year of operations for Solidaridad Asia following the merger of Solidaridad South and South East Asia, and China. In 2019, we expanded our market-based approach to clean water to two new locations. We also adopted Fair Data – a unique solution beyond certification – for our Tea and Sugarcane programmes. And on the sustainable palm oil front, we supported a much-awaited consensus between Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.

CENTRAL AMERICA

We signed multiple agreements and led the development of high-impact programmes such as the Zero Deforestation Declaration in Honduras. Ongoing drought spotlighted our climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives. Against a backdrop of economic and social instability, we facilitated the implementation of good practices in supply chains. MESA, our integrated landscape management strategy, drove the development of business models for landscape transformation.

EAST AND CENTRAL AFRICA

In 2019, we accelerated and deepened our market-based interventions with a focus on 2020 and beyond. With multiple key projects reaching maturity, we extracted lessons and best practices. For instance, we are learning from the outcomes of multiple projects in Kenya and Ethiopia which have trained farmers in good dairy practices. We increased our business development activities and developed a strong opportunities pipeline. We also expanded our efforts in Central Africa, particularly in Cameroon.

EUROPE

Fortunately, awareness of the importance of a living income for smallholder farmers and workers grew this year. Our pop-up shop in Amsterdam in November exposed the low prices farmers receive for their products and drew significant media attention. Solidaridad played an active role in the conversation on how to achieve living incomes for people at the beginning of supply chains. We helped draft policy frameworks and regulations, and crafted meaningful initiatives with corporate partners.

NORTH AMERICA

This was a year of transition and reflection. We progressed on building meaningful partnerships, and brought together stakeholders to address pressing issues in supply chain sustainability. With the onboarding of a new managing director, our lean team assessed the current internal and external landscape and rebuilt its strategy for 2020 and beyond. This included an analysis of the unique position we have to pursue opportunities for impact globally.

SOUTH AMERICA

Focused on landscape restoration and low-carbon agriculture, we reinforced engagement with companies and smallholder farmers in 2019. In Brazil, some of our cocoa programme participants sold their premium product at triple the price of standard cocoa. In Paraguay’s vulnerable Chaco region, dairy farmers decreased their greenhouse gas emissions by 62% while increasing productivity, and beef producers increased volumes by 60%, all using climate-smart methods.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Solidaridad Southern Africa helped craft a new continental vision for Africa, and convened a dialogue on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Implementation initiatives continued on the ground, albeit under challenging circumstances. Political turmoil and climate change-related events devastated smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. In response, we brought more than triple our target of land under good agricultural practices, helped rebuild lives after Cyclone Idai, and grew our gender-inclusive Soy programme.

WEST AFRICA

By working with a range of partners, we aligned with and contributed to national development agendas in the region. Some 26 initiatives improved practices in cocoa, gold, coffee, cashew, and oil palm. Our work enhanced the quality of life of more than 60,000 smallholder farmers, workers, and small and growing businesses providing agricultural services. Our programmes harnessed partnerships, mainstreamed climate-smart practices, and delivered digital innovations to assure high-performing, impactful interventions.

Growing impact

Executive summary

50 years of Change that Matters

Solidaridad reached 700,000 smallholder farmers in 2019 – more than ever before. It was also the year in which we celebrated our 50th anniversary and several other important milestones in our drive for more equitable supply chains and a greener planet.

I would like to begin by welcoming Jeroen Douglas, who was appointed Solidaridad’s executive director in May. Jeroen had already served Solidaridad for a quarter of a century. Among his achievements are helping to create our network of Regional Expertise Centres which ensure we have a truly global presence.

While he will ensure the continuity of Solidaridad’s successful approach, I know he also has some transformative ideas about the next steps for this organization. The International Supervisory Board and I very much look forward to working with him in his new capacity. In succeeding Nico Roozen, Jeroen has some remarkable shoes to fill.

Our heartfelt thanks to Nico for his 33 years at the head of Solidaridad. He made us a player on the global stage, and ensured Farmers First has become far more than just a motto. He has strived tirelessly to deliver a fairer deal for smallholders and other workers, while always upholding high sustainability standards.

He couldn’t have done it without the remarkable people that make up the Solidaridad team. Please know that I am deeply grateful to you all. It was wonderful to meet some more of you – and our beneficiaries – at the anniversary celebrations this year.

The focus in this annual report is, as ever, on the hundreds of remarkable programmes we run on five continents. Read on and discover more about them, as well as the strategy and innovative methods that underpin them. From optimized use of data, to prize-winning initiatives for more inclusive agriculture, our impact was greater than ever in 2019.

2019 was a year of acceleration for Solidaridad, as confirmed by our overall impact. The number of farmers and workers we trained to adopt good practices grew from 520,000 in 2018, to 700,000. It was all the more important in a year marked by low commodity prices and drought in many regions.

I am especially proud that we brought almost 2 million hectares of land under more sustainable management practices in 2019: a small victory for nature and increased biodiversity. 

We brought almost 2 million hectares of land under more sustainable management practices this year”

OUR 2019 MILESTONES

Other milestones this year included: 

  • Facilitating the investment of 3.15 million dollars in Kayonza, a tea grower-owned packing facility in Uganda, just one of the projects in our impact investing portfolio 
  • developing digital tools enabling smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia to improve their productivity and income
  • advising governments in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas on mandatory standards to impact farmers’ lives beyond voluntary certification schemes
  • co-developing the Zero Deforestation Declaration in Honduras
  • helping 10,000 youth in Ghana to achieve good livelihoods in the cocoa industry rather than migrate to cities

Solidaridad has supported 10,000 youth in Ghana to find livelihoods in the cocoa industry through the MASO programme

SOLIDARIDAD GROWS

Our reach has expanded, and so has our staff. We went from 718 employees in 2018, to 915 by the end of 2019. As a growing organization, HR, learning and internal communication became increasingly important in 2019.

We upgraded our internal systems. These now collect high-quality data about our work using standardized indicators across the network. Clearer insights into results worldwide, mean programmes can be planned more efficiently. We’ve also rolled out one system of financial accounting for the whole organization to enable better monitoring and reporting, again at a network level. 

OUR FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Speaking of finance: Our Network continues to grow. The operational budget reached a record €66,2 million in 2019, a growth of 19% in relation to 2018. In one decade of Network existence, the organization grew from a bare 18 million turnover, to where we are now. 

Writing this summary in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year feels like a long time ago. But despite the fact that the world as we know it has gone for now, 2019 was a remarkable year for Solidaridad. 

We celebrated our 50th anniversary at our offices around the world. Pictured here is the Solidaridad Europe team

AN ANNIVERSARY YEAR

Highlights of the year were the anniversaries we celebrated. Not just our 50th birthday – we began before the year even started, with the tenth anniversary of Solidaridad Asia in New Delhi in November 2018, followed in January with our 20 years in West Africa.

In May, we gathered old and new friends for our official 50th birthday party in the Netherlands. And the autumn saw us celebrating a decade of Solidaridad in Brazil as well as the 30th anniversary of Fairtrade in Mexico.

It is my ambition in this new role to connect continuity with innovation”

CHANGE OF THE GUARD

Energy and inspiration characterized all these events, though the Fairtrade commemorations had a poignant flavour. It reunited the founders of Fairtrade – Nico Roozen and Father Frans van der Hof – for the first time in decades. Nico, who led Solidaridad for 33 years, was there in his new capacity as honorary president.

My own highlight this year was succeeding Nico as executive director. I am only the third person to lead Solidaridad, just as it enters its sixth decade. I believe I am well placed to do so, having worked for this incredible organization for 25 years, setting up our network of regional offices across five continents. It is my ambition in my new role to connect continuity with innovation. 

Nico Roozen hands over the executive directorship to me, Jeroen Douglas

A LOOK AHEAD

While we reflected on our rich history in 2019, then, the year was far more focused on looking forward. We began developing our vision for 2021 to 2025, writing our new five-year strategy. 

Extending beyond the fairtrade agenda to craft policy change, we will strive to achieve lasting benefits for the communities around farmers and workers, financially and environmentally. We will be leveraging our five decades of experience and expertise. And bringing together stakeholders from across the value chain. 

I hope you will continue to support us in that ambition. Global solidarity will be much needed in the times to come. 

Jeroen Douglas

Executive Director

Planning the next step in our journey

The Solidaridad Network is registered as a foundation at the Chamber of Commerce in Utrecht, the Netherlands, under the number 51756811.

Solidaridad
Network Secretariat
‘t Goylaan 15
Utrecht 3525 AA
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 (0)30 275 94 50
Email: info@solidaridadnetwork.org

Let our Executive Director Jeroen Douglas take you through our annual report over 2020

Strategy

How we deliver global change

Solidaridad is an international civil society organization working on five continents. Solidarity with smallholder farmers and other workers has motivated us for 50 years and will continue to do so. We work with all actors in the food, garment, and mining supply chains, to strive for production that respects people and the planet.

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

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

TACKLING INTERLINKED CHALLENGES

One of the most pressing issues our strategy addresses is the impact of climate change, compounded by fast increasing consumption. Ecological challenges are increasingly interlinked on a global scale due to the extreme demands on land, water, and energy. Holistic good landscape management practices are essential to keep this process in check. To date, Solidaridad has brought 2 million hectares under these practices. 

Growing inequality is our other key concern. The richest 42 multi-billionaires hold wealth equal to the annual income of the 3.7 billion poorest people. Through our strategy, we seek a 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. 

TRANSFORMING MARKETS

Most market processes exacerbate these problems. That’s why our strategy seeks to transform business practices and make them part of the solution. The driving concept behind this is market transformation. We believe markets can produce more equitable outcomes. However, this requires a combination of three enabling factors: 

  • good governance
  • high standards of corporate social and ecological responsibility
  • innovative contributions by civil society. 

For instance, voluntary certification schemes like Fairtrade and UTZ raised awareness among consumers about inequality. They gave birth to the concept of corporate social and ecological responsibility. And they led to valuable partnerships between Solidaridad (and organizations like us), corporations, and other key players in the supply chain. However, they have failed to solve

farmer poverty, even as other groups have achieved a measure of prosperity, and the destruction of ecosystems because of overconsumption.

FROM VOLUNTARY SCHEMES TO MANDATORY STANDARDS

Because of these limitations, Solidaridad is now looking beyond voluntary schemes. Instead, we are focused on public-private sector partnerships and mandatory sustainability standards. We are thought leaders on how to formulate legislation that reduces inequality and environmental damage. As such, we advise governments around the world on structuring policy frameworks to leverage change.

Solidaridad’s model of sustainability impact. We are increasingly focused on the bottom tier for maximum impact in the drive for better livelihoods for farmers and workers

  

A SHIFT IN GLOBAL TRADE

The last decade has witnessed an existential change in trade across the globe, away from North-South thinking. Thanks to phenomenal economic growth in Asia, South-South, regional, and local solutions and trade are increasingly the answer to building sustainable livelihoods. That’s why we are encouraging farmers to look beyond international supply chains, in which the inequalities are only growing.  

As we move into the 2020s, then, our work is more important than ever. However, it is time for a new paradigm. The focus must be on building resilient communities and better conditions for all workers. We will need a new balance between local economic development and globalization to make it work. Solidaridad is now building Strategy 2021 – 2025 to help achieve this as part of our ongoing mission to build economies that work for the poor. 

SOLIDARIDAD’S MISSION

Underlying this strategy is 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.

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

We defined four result areas as part of our 2016-2020 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 agriculture practices will remain a focus point for Solidaridad’s work in the years to come. We can only make a difference in the field by working directly with farmers.

GOOD PRACTICES

To support the adoption of good practices at scale, we set up multi-stakeholder partnerships and public-private partnerships. We also provide digital solutions to access knowledge and support. And we enable impact investment, mobilizing a blend of grants, equity, and credit to obtain sustainable financial support. 

In 2019, we provided good practices support to over 700,000 small scale farmers and workers. This translated into bringing 1.9 million hectares under sustainable management practices. We also supported 350 local companies in good social and environmental management at the mill and factory level. Employers began implementing and enforcing health and safety measures, providing personal protective equipment, formalizing contracts, regulating working hours and payments and incorporating grievance procedures. To support the adoption of good practices at scale, we set up multi-stakeholder platforms and public-private partnerships. We also provide digital solutions to access knowledge and support. By 2019, most of our projects embraced digital solutions, such as remote sensing, a cattle grading app, and our business solution to record farm investments and costs. These digital solutions reached about 130,000 people, helping them manage their businesses and make informed decisions.

ROBUST INFRASTRUCTURES

This year, we directly supported 791 service providers. They included individual entrepreneurs, small and growing businesses, producer groups and cooperatives, and extension agencies. This directly increased access to inputs, knowledge, credits and other agri-services for about 270,000 producers.

As in previous years, our Robust Infrastructure intervention strategy aimed at providing and enhancing producers’ access to necessary services, inputs, knowledge, and capital as well as markets. We developed new service infrastructure, including rural service centres in Ghana and Liberia, and individual (youth) entrepreneurship in service delivery, such as haulage and planting services in South Africa, and a women’s resource centre in India. Producer groups and cooperatives continued to play an important role in aggregating demand for services and inputs, and aggregating supply, thereby creating important economies of scale for small-scale producers. We supported existing producer organizations and cooperatives to develop services such as formalization support, cluster farming, and collective selling. Where national extension services existed, we engaged with them to develop and adapt to new support methodology and proven concepts.

ENABLING POLICY ENVIRONMENT

Solidaridad is committed to policy engagement. We have a number of approaches available to us, depending on the context, the existing relationship between the decision makers and the stakeholders, and the sensitivity of the issue being addressed.

We built and empowered networks – we enabled civil society, producer organizations, and local government authorities to participate meaningfully and contribute to the dialogue by improving their knowledge and understanding, negotiation skills and resources. We also provided advice, support, and practical tools to public and private decision makers to improve policy making and enforcement. Establishing multi-stakeholder platforms and other structures which facilitate dialogue was another crucial focus area. We brought together key stakeholders to increase mutual understanding and recognition, and to identify opportunities to commit to joint action to address (pre-competitive) sustainability issues. In 2019, we convened, participated and joined stakeholders in about 142 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 grassroot organizations and governmental institutions.

LANDSCAPE

We address policy related, environmental, and finance issues prevalent in landscapes. We bring together stakeholders who are either contributing to these issues, or experiencing the consequences. In 2019, we piloted solutions related to water management, deforestation, and land degradation.

This year, we succeeded in improving management practices on over 1.9 million hectares of land, both on the farms and across the wider landscapes where we work. We brought together 202 stakeholders and piloted a wide variety of solutions. For example, in the Kilimanjaro Landscape programme in Tanzania we piloted a land governance assessment using a scenario modelling tool designed by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). This predicts future trends and trade-offs in land use, and recommends improved governance arrangements for sustainable land and water management. We also focused on capacity building for our own landscape specialists and external partners. Training opportunities included a ‘Securing rights in landscapes’ workshop developed in partnership with Wageningen University’s Centre for Development Innovation.

Innovation is in Solidaridad’s 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 2016 – 2020 strategy, we’re working in four innovation areas where we seek to increase our expertise to expand our impact.

Tracking yields on a smallholder farm in Mexico using Solidaridad’s app 

Globally, we are facing complex challenges regarding sustainability and inclusivity. To address these, we need to implement smart and holistic solutions. We must 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. In one of our most prestigious programmes, we are exploring how the use of data and digital tools can help scale our interventions and give farmers more ownership. Last but not least, we are introducing new types of financial models, such as impact investment, to accelerate sustainable production.

CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPES

In 2019, we conceptualized our climate approach for the third phase of Solidaridad’s 2016 – 2020 strategy and worked on the tools to implement the approach. Probably the most important project was the ongoing development testing of the climate risk and vulnerability guidelines and the Climate Smart Index.

The Climate Smart Index is a tool to measure farmer progress on adaptation and progress towards climate resilience and measuring the effectiveness of the interventions we recommend. The guidelines are a crucial first step to understanding climate risks for specific regions, commodities, and farmers. We tested the Climate Smart Index with data from more than 50,000 farmers in four different projects – Sugarcane in Brazil and India, Coffee in East Africa, and Palm Oil in Nicaragua – in partnership with Datakind, a UK-based data analytics firm. In 2020, we will continue the testing of delivering on the proof of concept and prepare the tool for implementation. We also developed commodity-specific definitions of climate smart agriculture for coffee, cotton, palm oil, and tea (cocoa, livestock and soy specifications will follow in 2020.) These will inform the Solidaridad programme designs and support our positioning in the climate arena. Solidaridad is increasingly positioned as an effective and trustworthy recipient of climate finance, thanks to our growing track record of supporting farmers to become climate resilient and adopt low-carbon agricultural practices. Working with the Green Climate Fund (the largest global climate fund), the first proposals and partnerships with governmental entities began to take shape this year.

DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

Solidaridad developed more than 26 digital tools in 2019. They are being deployed across 50 programmes, enabling 300,000 farmers to access knowledge and support, and to track yields. We also began creating protocols to share these tools across our network and scale the most successful ones.

We are increasingly working towards a model where communities themselves adopt and manage digital systems, adapting them to local needs. This sparked a number of initiatives: systems in West Africa to help farmers without smartphones interact and obtain advice. Following successful rollout tests, the application is now being scaled to the tens of thousands of farmers Farm Diary, a tool that helps smallholders in Central America manage their plots and keep records, while collecting data and monitoring project outcomes a community-led model in Southern Africa where local micro-entrepreneurs manage small digital businesses including soil testing, delivery of advice, and data collection for market players direct payments through digital wallets and targeted advice by phone for women in our SaFaL project in Bangladesh, through an initiative funded by a USAID grant to combat gender imbalances in the dairy chain. In order to help guide these efforts and combine them into propositions that can engender systemic change, we collaborated with the Qoin Foundation, a Dutch entity specializing in community currencies. We aimed to create a new paradigm of development intervention, led by communities and using local incentive mechanisms to drive investment and foster behaviour change, delivering an inclusive, ethical data economy to smallholders and miners.

IMPACT INVESTMENT

Solidaridad engages with financial institutions to develop investment policies and products with a positive social and environmental impact. Through investible business propositions and pilot projects, we aim to demonstrate how financial institutions can move beyond the do-no-harm principle to a do-more-good approach.

In 2019, we developed PlusPlus, an innovative crowdfunding instrument. The first strategic partnerships were established around it with Lendahand, Pan African Savings and FMO, the Dutch development bank. The partnerships are geared towards developing financial instruments and the delivery of technical assistance support during both the pre- and post-investment phase. Solidaridad facilitated an investment in a satellite plant for the Kayonza Tea Growers’ Factory in Uganda. We worked with external partners including the UNDP, as well as tapping into internal expertise across our regions. A tea expert from Solidaridad India visited the plant to assess the business plan and advise on best practices. This resulted in OikoCredit, a worldwide cooperative and social investor, investing 3.2 million dollars in the new plant. We also supported 80 small and growing businesses in professionalizing their operations, working towards investment readiness, and introducing them to potential investors. These businesses supply smallholder farmers with agricultural inputs and other services. By providing them with funds and expertise, we help them to grow and help more farmers and their communities achieve sustainable livelihoods.

GENDER INCLUSIVITY

In 2019, we developed a gender knowledge platform as the main resource hub for gender inclusivity across the Solidaridad network. All tools, data, research, and impact stories will be integrated in the platform to use in support of effective gender mainstreaming at project level and in the internal organization.

The gender task force co-created a gender readiness tool for project managers which assesses how gender inclusive a project is and gives recommendations for making projects more inclusive during the design and planning phases. The tool was piloted in South Africa, where we also co-hosted the 16 Days of Activism, a worldwide annual campaign to support and strengthen efforts to end gender-based violence. Other initiatives in the regions included: training 4,200 women in India in financial literacy, savings, access to finance, and entrepreneurship identifying and training 70 model couples to be gender champions within communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda who will promote more balanced decision making, division of labour, and access and control of resources training 750 women in East Africa in financial literacy who consequently joined village savings and loan associations where they can save and borrow small loans training 180 managers and employees of palm oil company Grupo Jaremar in Honduras in gender inclusion and masculinity awareness, and revising its gender inclusion protocol in accordance with Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) requirements revising the indicators and verification system of the new RSPO principles and criteria in relation to the protection of the human rights as well gender inclusion for producers, workers and communities.

ORGANIZATION

People, Learning and Innovation

Solidaridad believes in the strength of an interconnected organization, which is open for and has trust in the talent and knowledge of its staff. This is captured in our Human Resources strategy. As an entrepreneurial network organization with an international, culturally diverse staff, sharing knowledge, experience, and expertise are key to our success.

Solidaridad believes in the strength of an interconnected organization, which is open for and has trust in the talent and knowledge of its staff. This is captured in our Human Resources strategy. As an entrepreneurial network organization with an international, culturally diverse staff, sharing knowledge, experience, and expertise are key to our success.

200 members of our staff gathered in May to mark our 50th anniversary

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIZATION

Each region contributed to build further on our ongoing HR agenda focused on the development of our people. The key milestone was our 50th anniversary, when hundreds of colleagues came together to celebrate, learn, inspire, and be inspired. We compiled the learnings on all aspects of our organization in a handbook to improve our work for the most vulnerable farmers and other workers.  

We also enhanced our HR policies and instruments. The policies supported the recruitment of new staff members, ensured all new employee agreements included our code of conduct and good practices and the whistleblower procedure, and refined onboarding.

In 2019, Solidaridad’s net growth in the number of employees was 119. See table below.

At the end of 2019, Solidaridad employed 915 people: 284 (31%) women and 631 men. (By comparison, at the end of 2018 we employed 226 women and 492 men.) See below for the gender balance in staff composition.

The chart shows that Europe, South America, and Southern Africa employed the most women at 64%, 45%, and 44% respectively. Asia and West Africa employed the fewest, at 19% and 34% respectively. North America employed 2 staff in 2019 (both female). Due to the low number of staff, they are not visible in the charts. 

The HR team worked closely with the International Supervisory Board to coordinate the recruitment process for our new executive director. This process was successfully concluded with the appointment of Jeroen Douglas as of 1 June. 

Within the Network Secretariat, we reviewed and updated all essential HR processes. Working with the global HR teams, a new policy on HR and Learning was developed, and the next steps were taken for implementation from 2020 onwards.

Plans for 2020 also include continuously improving HR quality standards. For example, we will clarify the roles and mandates needed to harmonize performance and talent management. Finally, HR will enhance the integrity framework and code of ethics to foster a culture in which people feel safe to work and to speak up. 

Communications are a key function at Solidaridad. They support the organization in attracting new donors, informing current donors, and paving the way for collaborations with local governments, NGOs, farmer cooperatives, academia, and other partners. Communications – and particularly campaigns – also play an important role in creating and growing demand for sustainable products.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS

This was a special year for Solidaridad as it marked our 50th anniversary. It gave us the opportunity to look back at our history, and to examine present-day challenges more thoroughly. We used it to engage all our stakeholders and partners in dialogue about the future. We did this throughout the year, in all eight regions we work in, through multiple meetings and events. 

We hosted a flagship conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in May. We invited over 300 global partners to the event, and asked them to share their vision with us on challenging themes such as access to finance, climate adaptation, youth employment, and public private partnerships to transform supply chains. 

It was at this event that Nico Roozen officially stepped down from his role as Solidaridad’s executive director. He handed the baton to Jeroen Douglas to lead the next evolution of the organisation. Our anniversary and the leadership change both received widespread media interest, and resulted in 40 reports in both Dutch and international media sources.

EVENTS AS A TOOL FOR ENGAGEMENT

We were highly visible as thought leaders at debates and conferences this year, with over 70 appearances. For instance, Mawuse Hotor, a cocoa farmer from Ghana who participates in one of our programmes, answered questions from the public at the World Cocoa Conference in Berlin.  

We attended the 15th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), and at the OECD meeting on responsible minerals, where we drew special attention to the position of women in artisanal and small-scale mining. 

At the OECD meeting, we launched our exhibition around women working in small-scale mining, financed through the Golden Line programme.

MEDIA

In 2019, we reached over 210 million potential readers through engagement with the press. Most visibility came from articles in Dutch newspapers, such as Trouw and NRC Handelsblad, and TV performances, such as Hart van Nederland, and RTL Live. Outside the Netherlands, we worked on featured articles in general media like Euronews and AllAfrica, and trade media such as Global Coffee Report, FoodNavigator, Confectionery News, Ecotextile News, Fibre2Fashion, BEEF magazine and Undercurrent News. 

We attracted extensive media interest around the launch of a range of palm oil-free margarine products on the Dutch market. The brand, Flower Farm, spread misleading information about palm oil. Together with the industry association for margarine and oils, we filed a complaint with the Dutch Advertising Code Authority, which found in our favour, and ordered Flower Farm to change its branding and advertising.

We also drew attention around a consumer campaign which we launched in the Netherlands on 29 November, Black Friday. This campaign aimed to raise awareness about the unequal distribution of value in the supply chain. We opened a one-day pop-up store in the offices of one of our partners, True Price, on a busy shopping street in Amsterdam. 

Inside our anti-Black Friday pop-up shop in Amsterdam, which raised awareness of low prices paid to farmers

We sold coffee, bananas, and chocolate bars at bargain prices, equal to the value that farmers earn by selling these products. Through a special online tool, we showed visitors how value in the three supply chains is currently divided, and we asked them to choose a more equitable division. 

The campaign was one of the first ‘anti-Black Friday’ campaigns in the Netherlands, and echoed the negative sentiment in Dutch society around buying huge amounts of deeply discounted products on one day. National and regional newspapers, TV programmes, and social media influencers were eager to report on the campaign, which ensured over 24 million potential views, and an advertising value equivalency of 180,000 euros (exclusive of TV and radio).

ONLINE 

We posted no less than 123 articles in 2019: an average of over two a week. In addition, we posted various publications, stories, and innumerable social media messages. As a result, we saw a 27% increase in website users, an 83% increase in page views, and a 25% increase in website visits. 

Engagement online grew, with over 4,000 new followers on Linkedin, 800 new followers on Twitter, and an exponential growth to the number of subscribers to our global e-newsletter. 

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

We continued to invest in internal communications in 2019. Multiple new internal sites were set up for knowledge sharing and existing sites were updated and improved. We started producing internal webinars around technical topics by experts, for example on how to optimize our internal tools.

Solidaridad’s intranet stands out for being truly democratic. While the Communications team assures overall quality, everyone can contribute and start a site or a community. In 2018, we tallied 23,000 intranet visits. In 2019 this has doubled to 46,000. 

This year saw an impressive internal gathering in May for our 50th anniversary. More than 200 staff from all over the world came together for three days to meet, share experiences, define progress needed within the current (2016 – 2020) strategic period, and discuss the way forward for our new strategy. The effect of this event on internal cohesion and collaboration – particularly between different regions – can not be underestimated. 

200 of our staff gathered in May 2019 to mark our 50th anniversary

At the anniversary event, Jeroen Douglas took over from Nico Roozen as Solidaridad’s executive director. The Communications team supported him with the production of digital vlogs shared with the whole organization. The vlogs are short and digestible and always relevant to all staff. They have proven to be a very effective way of liaising with staff. 

For Solidaridad’s real anniversary in December, we made a special video with ‘cake moments’. Our offices across the world had filmed themselves taking a moment to share some birthday cake: very inspiring and fuelling the energy of the network. 

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 our journey, we have identified four pillars for our planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning work: Systems for Action, Evidence for Change, Capacities for Measure, and Communication for Resources.

FOUR PILLARS TO OPTIMIZE DATA USE

The first of our pillars is Systems for Action. Here, 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 and visualize data. 

Evidence for Change is our pillar for defining our monitoring and evaluation methods. We collect data through ICT and rigorous methodologies, and organize internal and external evaluations. We also develop dashboards that can be utilized to both efficiently track progress for ongoing monitoring, and to provide content for communications. 

Capacities for Measure refers to building capacity of project and programme teams, facilitating and documenting learning sessions, and institutionalizing learning.

Last but not least, the Communication for Resources pillar ensures we provide evidence-based communication.

PILOTING OUR NEW DATA COLLECTION MODEL

In 2019, we developed a standardized data collection model around core prioritized indicators in order to improve the quality and consistency of our data. During the pilot, we collected granular data in three regions: India in Asia, Mexico in Central America, and South Africa, Zambia, and Mozambique in Southern Africa. 

The results showed that simple surveys make it possible for us to collect similar data across all regions and to aggregate and compare it. This puts Solidaridad in a good starting position for the next strategic period (2021-2025). 

Collecting farm data in Mexico for the pilot of our standardized data collection model

TRACKING PROGRESS BENEFICIARY BY BENEFICIARY

Standardized surveys will be deployed across all regions in order to track the progress of each individual farmer, miner or worker, and compare and aggregate data so that we can use it for adaptive management and impact monitoring purposes. Most importantly, it can be shared with the farmer, miner or worker so they can monitor their own progress.

Using technology to collect, monitor and analyze data is becoming the norm and the implementation of open-source data collection tools is growing rapidly. Keeping pace with this trend, we progressed from conventional data collection on paper to digital methods in 2019, using mobile phones with integrated open-source tools such as ODK, Taro and KoboCollect. 

IMPLEMENTING THE LATEST IN MONITORING TOOLS

The latest technologies were also integrated into our monitoring work, such as remote sensing technologies (soil scanning), IoT weather stations, and satellite tools to monitor land cover change. This has improved farmers’ insights into their production.

While monitoring and gathering data is key for adjusting interventions during programme implementation, accountability towards our donors and partners is also of great importance. Collecting evidence that demonstrates impact on the target groups with whom we work (farmers, miners, workers, women and youth) allows our partners and donors to support result measurement. It also gives Solidaridad solid proof of concept in order to scale up. 

Gathering data in India

EXTERNAL EVALUATIONS 

External programme evaluations are a key source of evidence and an important input towards future programming. In order to assure the same principles are applied during all evaluations conducted across Solidaridad, we work with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee’s principles for the evaluation of development assistance. The principles are: 

  • relevance
  • efficiency
  • effectiveness
  • impact 
  • sustainability.

INTERNAL EVALUATIONS

Several internal evaluations were conducted across the regions in 2019. In Kenya, we used the Cool Farm Tool to carry out a Coffee Sector Emissions Estimates and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. This showed that the vulnerability of the coffee sector to the impact of climate change varies per region. The vulnerability depends on the nature and intensity of climate hazards, and the ability of the local systems to adapt to or mitigate related impacts.

An internal evaluation in South Africa surveyed 416 farmers from four countries (Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia). We wanted to assess which of 11 good practices were being embraced by farmers: crop rotation, water management, fertilizer application, rotational grazing, intercropping, seed selection, use of pesticides, soil testing, weeding, local gap, and mulching. 

The results of the survey showed that on average, 21% of the farmers adopted at least seven of the good practices. Adoption is a gradual process that peaks towards the end of projects. Given that most projects in Southern Africa started in 2018, the 21% average is therefore a fair rate. The highest adoption level was in Soy, at an average of 36%. Farmers practising intercropping as part of our Soy project increased from 48% at the project start to 58% after two years. The use of pesticides grew from 19% to 24%. 

MEASURING OUTCOMES IN GHANA

We conducted a study in Ghana to document the benefits of mainstreaming gender in the Next Generation Cocoa Youth Programme (MASO). Adopting a mixed-method approach, data was captured from 2,757 respondents across all implementing districts. It revealed that most of the young women benefited from knowledge and skills in good agricultural practices, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and sexual and reproductive health. 

Unemployment rates among the young women decreased from 28% to 13% and average annual income increased by 250 dollars. The survey indicated that young women can contribute to developing sustainable supply chains given the right knowledge and skill set. The study recommended that Solidaridad integrate women’s considerations into its Youth Savings and Loan Association (YSLA) approach in order to enhance their savings culture. 

Abigail Oblie, who opened her own business with support from our MASO youth for cocoa programme in Ghana

Solidaridad’s digital and data strategy comprises two key elements. Firstly, a gradual shift from traditional interventions and farmer assistance towards digitally supported programmes. And secondly, enhanced data collection for evaluation and reporting purposes. The uptake of digital devices and the coverage of mobile data networks is growing rapidly among our beneficiaries. This has enabled us to implement a growing number of mobile applications and tools in our projects in recent years.

Our management information system: developing the user journey with the key users

Solidaridad envisions a digital landscape, supported by sophisticated IT infrastructure, with applications and tools to:

  • interact with farmers and provide services supporting the intervention strategies and deliverables by the means of tools and (mobile) applications (see also ‘digital solutions’ in our innovation chapter)
  • collect data in a continuous flow, through interactive applications and standardized tools and methodologies
  • store, retrieve, and exchange data through standardized and open procedures and protocols as the basis for data analysis
  • develop and implement analysis tools and capacity to provide expertise, and to support programme improvement, contribute to policy enhancement and fulfil reporting requirements.

With increasing volumes of data flowing in, the need for structured sharing, analysis, and visualisation increases. Exchange of data for cross-commodity, cross-regional and cross-thematic analysis requires solid IT infrastructure. 

We evaluated the Solidaridad data framework and management information system in the second half of 2019. This resulted in a programme to standardize data exchange across the network, and to improve the functionality and user-friendliness of our management information system. 

The current finance and accounting system will be connected to the management information system. This progress towards one shared financial, project management and reporting system is of great value to Solidaridad Network, as it will enable equal and consistent management information. Actuals versus budget will be available real-time and on a continuous basis. Information about operational costs and overheads will be available and can be compared between countries. High standards of data governance, and the implementation of procedures to comply with national and international privacy standards, are integrated into the programme.

Implementation of the systems will start in the second half of 2020 and is to be finished by the end of the year. As Solidaridad has grown rapidly in recent years, the systems are a fundamental part of our critical organizational infrastructure. 

Capacity enhancement and implementation of standardized processes for user support, maintenance, and additional development of IT infrastructure will be organized in line with our needs.

Solidaridad is an international network organization with offices across the globe. The interconnected network emphasizes decentralized responsibility and implementation by regional teams. Local knowledge, experience, and vision are our guiding principles. Connections between the teams are 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 regions, enabling them to take control of supervisory tasks and to manage the programmes themselves.

The regional Solidaridad teams cooperate with their own partners on the planning, implementation, communication, and evaluation of programmes, 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 programmes are developed and implemented by the regional centres, each locally registered and with its own 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 programmes 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 of local ownership and governance, Solidaridad set up legal entities in Panama City, Nairobi, Hong Kong, San Francisco Bay Area, and Utrecht for its regional expertise centres. From these legal entities, funds are received for, and allocated to, the country programmes in the region. 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 other things, that we have a board with a two-tier structure, emphasize 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. Further more, 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) has the highest level of international oversight. The ISB monitors policies, programme quality, financial control, and the performance of the Executive Board of Directors (EBoD). Direct supervision of the regional offices is organized per continent. Each Continental Supervisory Board (CSB) is represented on the ISB by its chairman, thus enabling the ISB to focus on the interests 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 GabalaChair since June 2015. Appointed per December 2014, representing the CSB Africa.
Jan Karel MakMember. Appointed per 10 December 2018, representing the CSB Europe.
Shahamin Sahadat ZamanMember. Appointed per 19 December 2016, representing the CSB Asia.
Roxana Maria Irma Barrantes CaceresMember. Appointed per 11 July 2018, representing the CSB Latin America.
Kannan PashupathyMember. Appointed per 5 June 2014, representing the CSB North America.

This year, the ISB met for the first time on 1 February. Postponed from December 2018, it addressed Solidaridad’s innovation approach and the appointment of Jeroen Douglas as the new executive director.

The first meeting relating to 2019 took place on 29 and 30 June. It was also the first meeting where Jeroen Douglas participated in his new role. The Network Secretariat’s financial statements for 2018 were approved and the annual reports of the regional offices discussed. There was also a review of Solidaridad’s 50th anniversary event in May.

The second meeting of 2019 was adjourned until 1 February 2020 and was held in Côte d’Ivoire. Topics included the annual plans and budgets, Governance, multi-annual strategic planning, and HR and Integrity procedures.

The members of the International Supervisory Board together with Executive Director Jeroen Douglas and Executive Assistant Maru Maldonado during their meeting in Côte d’Ivoire. From left to right: Shahamin Sahadat Zamin, Kannan Pashupatty, Maru Maldonado, Jan Karel Mak, Mariam Dao Gabala, Jeroen Douglas, and Roxana Barrantes.

Continental Supervisory Boards

Regional operations are supervised by Continental Supervisory Boards (CSBs), which are legally registered in the same place as the continental legal entities. Solidaridad’s five CSBs provide direct supervision of the regional centres and country offices. The CSBs consist of leaders in business, civil society organizations, or academic institutions from each continent: North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Each of these continental organizations is connected to 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 from December 2014
Audrey Gadzepko (Ghana)Member from 3 November 2014
Kamau Kuria (Kenya)Member from 19 December 2012
Graham von Maltitz (South Africa)Member from 19 December 2012
CSB ASIA
Shahamin Zaman (Bangladesh)Chair / ISB representative from 19 January 2017
Mumunusamy Subbramaniam (Mr. Subbu) (India)Member from 17 August 2010
Mahesh Haribhai Mehta (India)Member from 16 June 2016
Sato Kan Hiroshi (Japan)Member from January 2017
Liang Xiaohui (China)Member from 3 November 2018
CSB LATIN AMERICA
Roxana Barrantes (Peru)Chair / ISB representative from 14 November 2012
Roberto Ugaz (Peru)Member from 17 May 2018
Marina Stadthagen (Nicaragua)Member from 13 December 2011
Bernhard Roehs (Guatemala)Member from 28 March 2019
CSB NORTH AMERICA
Kannan Pashupathy (USA)Chair / ISB representative from June 2014
Arlene Mitchell (USA)Member till April 2019
Jeroen Douglas (Netherlands)Member from June 2014
Chris Wolz (USA)Member from November 2019
CSB EUROPE
Jan Karel Mak (NL)Member from 2016 / Chair from September 2018
Martin Staehle (Germany)Member from 1 March 2019
Carlos Alva Nieto (NL)member from 1 January 2016
Katrien Termeer (NL)Member from 1 January 2017
Claire Kouwenhoven-Gentil (NL)Member from 9 June 2017
Harriet Lamb (UK)Member from 1 January 2019
Marian Kappeyne van de Coppello (NL)Member from 1 August 2019

The Continental Supervisory Boards’ work in their respective regions sets the parameters for growth, determines the future direction, and ensures 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. 

Regional Management

The Executive Board of Directors (EBoD) is the main policy-making body, ensuring coherence between international commodity strategies and regional programmes. The EBoD is also responsible for the overall implementation of the international policy and the commodity strategy. It consists of the managing directors of each regional expertise centre. Jeroen Douglas is the executive director of Solidaridad Network.

In 2019, the members of the Solidaridad Executive Board of Directors were: Shatadru Chattopadhayay (Asia), Mandla Nkomo (Southern Africa), Michaelyn Baur (Central America), Isaac Gyamfi (West Africa), Rebecca Kaduru (North America), Heske Verburg (Europe), Gonzalo la Cruz (South America), Rachel Wanyoike (East and Central Africa) and Jeroen Douglas (ED and chair of the EBoD).

From left to right: Rebecca Kaduru, Heske Verburg, Jeroen Douglas, Gonzalo la Cruz, Isaac Gyamfi, Mandla Nkomo, Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Rachel Wanyoike, and Michaelyn Bauer

The executive director is supported 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 eight 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 of the Continental Supervisory Boards of Solidaridad receive remuneration of any kind.

Remuneration of Solidaridad’s directors entails a base salary, equal to the total guaranteed annual income (monthly salary, holiday pay and fixed 13th month). Base salary levels adhere to the Guidelines for the Remuneration of Directors of Philanthropic Organisations (Adviesregeling Beloning Directeuren Goede Doelen), set by the Dutch Association of Fundraising Organisations (VFI). The guidelines were developed by Goede Doelen Nederland and set maximum levels of annual income (gross annual salary, holiday pay, any end-of-year bonus, and other income components). The guidelines take into account factors such as the size and complexity of the organization.

Remuneration of Solidaridad directors complies with the Dutch Standards for Remuneration Act (Wet Normering Topinkomens 2015) which determines maximum annual incomes. Solidaridad also complies with the salary scales as applied by the Dutch government for civil servants, the so-called BBRA scales. The executive director’s salary fits within BBRA scale 17. The managing directors’ salaries range from BBRA scale 15 to 16.

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

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

Solidaridad aims to achieve high quality results on all fronts. External auditors provide independent evaluations of the quality of each aspect of our operations. The four largest regional expertise centres are ISO 9001: 2015 certified: Solidaridad West Africa, Solidaridad East and Central Africa, Solidaridad South America, Solidaridad Europe (Stichting Solidaridad Nederland), and Solidaridad Asia.

Solidaridad Netherlands is approved by the Dutch Fundraising Regulator (CBF) and complies with its requirements. The CBF monitors all philanthropic bodies in the Netherlands and evaluates their management and policies, in order to increase transparency in the charity sector. We have also been awarded Declaration 20015 (version 2018) by Partos, the Dutch association for organisations working in international development.

While Solidaridad’s employees and partners collaborate on the basis of reciprocal trust, management guards against potential 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, political situations 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 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 its financial statements audited annually, and all financial statements have received an unqualified audit opinion.

RISKS

The main risks for Solidaridad, and how we address these, are: 

  1. Reputational damage resulting from partnerships with companies. Solidaridad has internal guidelines for non-disclosure agreements and signs 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 becomes unfavourable and the willingness of private donors to donate decreases. Solidaridad is externally certified 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 the highest likelihood of success for the period to come.

PLANNING AND REPORTING

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 is 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 Continental Supervisory Board to any matters that need to be addressed, or where improvements could be made.

INTEGRITY 

Solidaridad remains fully committed to creating a safe and pleasant work environment for all staff, partners, and beneficiaries, and to building an organizational culture of integrity and equality where people feel safe to work and speak up. 

The Solidaridad Code of Conduct, including codes for issues of sexual intimidation, and makes clear that misconduct is not tolerated and must always be addressed. A Partner Code requires the same level of conduct from all our contracted partners. 

The website lists an email address and phone number to report instances of misconduct. A communication plan is in place to ensure key stakeholders are kept informed. It also supports improvements to the integrity system.

In each region, a person of trust has been appointed to support people with complaints and help them with further steps. The Whistleblower procedure clarifies the internal procedure for complaints and grievances and protects the whistleblower.  

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

RAISING AWARENESS 

In 2019, Solidaridad continued to give more attention to internal awareness building around our 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 to act if misconduct is signalled. 

In 2020 we aim to complement the instruments already in place and strengthen our integrity framework. This will include appointing an HR and Governance subcommittee reporting to the International Supervisory Board. From that solid foundation, we will build additional instruments that support our staff in dealing with any ethical dilemmas they may be confronted with during their work.

ANNUAL ACCOUNTS

Our results have only materialized thanks to the generous support from many companies, donors and governments all over the world. Our operational budget reached a record €66,2 million, a growth of 19% in relation to 2018. In one decade of Network existence, the organization grew from a bare 18 million turnover, to where we are now.

The revenue of Solidaridad Network increased with € 9.6 million from € 55.6 in 2018, to € 66.2 in 2019. The average growth over 9 years, from 2011 to 2019 was 33% per year from € 18.3 million in 2011 to € 66.2 million in 2019.

Aggregated income Solidaridad Network (x1000)

It is estimated that for the coming years, Solidaridad will have a slightly less steep growth path and work towards an income of 100 million Euros by 2020. 

From the total revenue of € 66.3 million in 2019, € 36.7 million (55%) was generated by the regional office of Solidaridad Europe. The three regional offices on the African continent generated € 20.6 million (31%) and Solidaridad Asia generated € 5.3 million (8%).

A little more than half of Solidaridad’s income in 2019 came from government grants. The governments of the Netherlands and Norway were the biggest contributors. Non-profit organisations (22%) and companies (21%) also contributed significantly. 

The total direct expenditure by all Solidaridad entities amounted to € 64 million. This was spent for the largest part in West Africa (38%), Asia (19%) and Europe (13%). 

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. 

N.B. Some of the officially audited financial statements have been delayed because of COVID-19. They will be added as soon as they are available. 

EUROPE

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

AFRICA

ASIA

NORTH AMERICA