50 years of change that matters

2019 was a special year for Solidaridad. Exactly 50 years ago, on 30 November 1969, Solidaridad sprung to life. We’ve been working for the fairer distribution of wealth along food value chains ever since.

Half a century on, the challenges are greater than ever and there is still more than enough for Solidaridad to do. Nevertheless, we would like to share a few highlights from this special year as we look back with pride on some of the significant moments in Solidaridad’s history. And forward, as we continue to grow with a new executive director at the helm.


What’s a birthday without cake? We took the challenge of sharing cake with more than 700 people in over 40 countries around the world on 1 December. We tried to keep the party climate-neutral, so our staff gathered wherever they were and took a moment to celebrate – each in their own, specific tradition. It shows how our culturally diverse staff is united in joy and pride to work for Solidaridad. 


A video that’s guaranteed to make you smile! 


During a very special gathering of 300 Solidaridad staff and partners, former colleagues and friends, Nico Roozen handed over the management of the organization to Jeroen Douglas. An emotional moment for everyone who has worked closely with Nico over the past 30 years. Read more.

Nico Roozen passes the management of Solidaridad to Jeroen Douglas


The anniversary year had actually kicked off in India where Solidaridad celebrated its 50 years in combination with ten years of Solidaridad Asia. 

During the two-day gathering, more than 300 people including government officials, industry leaders, technical experts, foreign delegates and farmers attended presentations from various speakers. Read more.

Solidaridad Asia celebrates


Solidaridad’s first Fairtrade programmes in the 1980s were in Mexico with farmers in the Oaxaca area. Nico Roozen and Father Frans van der Hof took up the challenge to connect coffee farmers to the big retailers in Europe in order to get the farmers a better price. 

Nico Roozen continued with Fairtrade from the Netherlands, and Frans van der Hof stayed with the farmers in Mexico, closely involved with their lives. He rarely leaves the area, but made an exception to celebrate 30 years of Fairtrade in Mexico. This led to the reuniting of the concept's two founding fathers. 

The two fathers of fairtrade reunited

Environmental and social challenges are growing and so will our efforts"


Solidaridad has grown thanks to many individual long-term donors in the Netherlands, some of whom have been active supporters of Solidaridad since its inception. As they are such an instrumental part of our history, we organized a special golden anniversary event for them on 30 November.

Our Dutch supporters had the chance to learn more about our current work, talk to Solidaridad staff and even meet one of our beneficiaries. Mawuse Hotor – a Ghanian cocoa farmer and entrepreneur – told the audience about her life and how she has benefited from Solidaridad’s work. 

Ghanaian cocoa farmer Mawuse Hotor addressed the audience during the anniversary event in the Netherlands on 30 November (photo by Carlo van Stek)

Our colleagues from Solidaridad Europe also shared their expertise and told the audience about our work in palm oil, coffee, gold, cocoa, soy, textiles, sugarcane, dairy, and about our history. It was a true pleasure to receive our Dutch supporters at this event and to discuss with them the ongoing challenges in sustainable and inclusive development. 

Annelot van Leeuwen talking to Dutch Solidaridad supporters about making the coffee supply chain more sustainable (photo by Carlo van Stek)


Our special anniversary year now comes to a close. But we are by no means slowing down our work to make this world a better place for this and future generations. On the contrary: environmental and social challenges are growing and so will our efforts.

In 2020, we plan to launch our new strategy to increase the speed and scale of our impact as we help to build a more sustainable food supply chain.

> Read more about Solidaridad’s ongoing impact