Fundraising at Rikolto

A new programme

In 2021, we focused heavily on preparing to launch our new programme 2022 – 2026, in which we want to further develop, a systems approach for making selected commodity sectors, more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient, and address the broad challenges of the urban food system. It goes without saying that we will do this, as always, together with solid partners, for cooperation is in Rikolto’s DNA.

Therefore, in 2021 we collaborated with Connective Impact to identify and contact leaders within around 50 different donor and partner organisations as part of a process to seek long-term strategic partners and funding for Rikolto’s programmes.

What are we looking for? Partners that can fill in the gaps in fields where Rikolto doesn’t have the specific expertise (e.g., nutrition, climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection, consumer engagement…) but that are equally important for achieving our mission: a sustainable income for farmers and nutritious, affordable food for everyone. This type of collaborations will open up new opportunities for Rikolto to amplify its voice.

What do we offer? Towards our new (structural) donors we want to offer value: investment-ready programme ideas that align with the donor’s ambitions (e.g., locally relevant economic development, evidence for living income generation for cocoa and coffee farmers; sustainable rice transformation); a trustworthy programme implementation making sure that granted or invested resources are efficiently and correctly spent, and, of course, proven and demonstrated impact through our close connection to the field.

In 2018, Rikolto has developed a policy and process to ensure that we can manage ethical risks associated with partnering up with and receiving funds from companies, corporate foundations and government actors. We wish to be a responsible and ethical organisation, implementing our programmes in a way that is honest, decent and truthful, and mindful of our responsibilities towards the communities we work with, our main stakeholders and the environment.  

Heleen Verlinden International Fundraising And Communication

Engaging in partnerships with private companies

Private companies are important partners in the accomplishment of Rikolto’s mission. If we wish to change food systems and how specific agricultural value chains function, we have to team up with companies. We believe that companies are a driving force for society, and that they are essential to achieve sustainable food systems.

In 2020, we worked with:

  • Cocoa-processing companies and wholesalers, including, Colruyt Group, Mars, Pacari, Conexión Chocolate, Tcho, Chocolats Halba, Puratos, Lidl, Olam, Mason Gourmet Chocolate, Obolo Chocolate, Sucafina Specialty…

  • Coffee-processing companies and wholesalers, including ECOM, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Olam, Lavazza, Saveur du Kivu,

  • Local and international rice buyers such as Superindo, Natural Farm, Tan Hong Rice Company, SWT rice, Bongomin Group, YARA and Bralima, …

  • For the Good Food for Cities programme, we work with local private sector partners such as local chambers of commerce, supermarkets, catering companies, sectoral associations, business incubators, SMEs active throughout the food chain and business development service providers.

We also partner with some of the above-mentioned companies in multi-actor platforms, such as the Global Coffee Platform, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), the Sustainable Rice Platform, Beyond Chocolate, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the Living Income Community of Practice, AMEA, … to jointly formulate policy proposals.

Finally, Rikolto also connects its local partners with social impact investors willing to take risks and share our vision of fair business, long-term income security for farmers and guaranteeing a stable demand for their products. Access to commercial financing (loans, investments…) for the small and growing businesses we work with is crucial for them to be able to invest in improving processes, quality, or infrastructure.

In 2021 we were financially supported by Belgian private companies UMICORE, Aperam, Mathieu Gijbels NV and Sioen Industries through the Belgian association Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO). With OVO and its private company members, Rikolto’s relationship is also gradually evolving from grant-making to impact-investing. Thanks to a loan from Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO) in 2021, entrepreneur Leonard Shayo in Tanzania could kickstart the production of pre-cooked beans in Tanzania. Financing comes from several business angels who volunteer at OVO as well as from its Acceleration Fund.

Partnering with governments and multilateral agencies: changing the recipe

Rikolto believes in dialogue as an essential tool for change. For example, in our Food Smart City Programme we facilitate urban/peri-urban multi-actor platforms with direct participation of the city authorities. Together we formulate strategies and action plans to create a local food policy. At national level we partner with governmental actors, where we contribute to the development of new policies, based on our experience from the field. This way we want to create enabling environments for specific value chains or for innovations in the food system.

Governments also support our programmes financially. The Belgian Development Cooperation is our main funder (DGD, but also Enabel); the Swiss, Dutch, Canadian and Australian governments are also among our funders. In some cases, we are sub-contracted by a local or national government for specific actions for which our added value is recognised.

2021 was the year that all the Rikolto colleagues worked very hard to develop a new 5-year programme proposal (2022-2026) to the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD). The programme encompasses 21 outcomes that focus on sector transformation for coffee, cocoa or rice and transformation of urban food systems. The programme was approved by DGD for a total amount of 33,453,273.64 EUR, which secures structural funding for our programmes in 17 countries (amongst which 4 new countries: Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guatemala and Rwanda).

The Belgian governmental development agency Enabel is also becoming more and more of a structural partner of Rikolto. In 2021, Rikolto started or continued working as an implementing organisation on 3 Enabel-funded projects in West-Africa (Burkina Faso and Benin). Other than that, we are jointly exploring how to work towards sustainable food systems and commodity sectors in Africa. In that sense, we have also collaborated on a funding proposal towards the EU in Ivory Coast and are looking into other opportunities to join forces.

At the same time, we also gaining foothold with the EU as a major donor. Next to the ongoing projects in Tanzania, Uganda (with IITA as a lead agency) and Honduras (with Ayuda en Acción as a lead agency) we succeeded in getting funding for two new projects: the CREA project in Ecuador (Camino a la Reactivación del Ecuador Agroalimentario) and the project for strengthening agricultural CSOs and social cohesion of farmers in the cocoa, palm oil and rice sectors in Mai Ndombe and Tshopo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (with TRIAS as a lead agency). Together with numerous partners we also developed several proposals for the Horizon Europe ‘Farm to Fork’ programme, of which the project on school food in Europe was awarded a grant.

We intensified our relationship even more with multilateral agencies like UN Environment and the FAO. We consider these institutions as our allies and partners on the path towards sustainable food systems. We collaborate with them within platforms like the One Planet Network, we co-create funding or investment proposals, or we jointly place the need for sustainable and inclusive food systems in the public spotlight. We implemented a project with FAO in Ecuador and concluded letters of agreement with them for 3 global projects to be implemented in 2022.

In July 2021, Rikolto also joined the RUAF Global partnership with the aim to increase our impact on transforming food systems and support each other to achieve common goals.

Partnering with like-minded organisations: working in synergy

We have also strengthened our relationships with other international development actors and research institutes, such as Lutherian World Relief (LWR), NCBA-Clusa, Technoserve, Preferred by Nature, Rainforest Alliance, Solidaridad, IDH, Africa Rice Center, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, KULeuven and University of Ghent, …

As part of our initiative to seek long-term, mutually enforcing, strategic partnerships we also had fruitful discussions with organisations like DAI, Corus, Gain, Tetra Tech,Tropical, Landscape Finance Facility, Asian Development Bank, International Trade Center, Farmers Voice, …

In the framework of the new Belgian Development Cooperation funded programmes 2022-2026, Rikolto has taken the lead in formulating a comprehensive Joint Strategic Framework between Belgian Non-Governmental development actors both for Tanzania and for Ecuador. This has enabled us to get a thorough understanding of potential areas for collaboration and synergies between BNGAs. Moreover, together with 3 other Belgian NGOs (Iles de Paix, Trias and Bos+) we have agreed on a common objective to support the transformation of the food system in the Arusha region in Tanzania, where we will ensure geographical complementarity and efficiency of our respective activities.

Rikolto also worked together with the associations of cities and municipalities of Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels and Echos Communication to formulate a thematic joint strategic framework on Sustainable Cities. It allows us to further engage in cooperation - not only within certain countries, but also supranationally and around ‘overarching’ themes such as urbanisation, governance, and decentralisation - and to work with other Belgian actors around themes like health, water, agriculture, children’s rights or education within a context of local governance and urbanisation.

Support from forward-looking private foundations

Private foundations have a strongly value-driven mission. Therefore, it is very enriching to be able to work with them when we see strong similarities between both our missions and values. Rikolto has the honour of collaborating with and receiving funds from DOEN Foundation, which supports our pioneering work on the Generation Food initiatives in Tanzania and Uganda. Foundation Gilles who does the same in Burkina Faso. Collibri Foundation supports activities for strengthening young people’s capacities and job chances linked to the value chains on which Rikolto and Colruyt group collaborate. Currently they support our work on the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire, as they have done for the last five years in Central America.

Private fundraising

2021 was a year of new beginnings for Rikolto’s private fundraising department. Covid-19 challenged our fundraising efforts and forced us to choose new paths. For the first time in four decades, no Rikolto-volunteers were found in Belgian supermarkets or on the streets to sell gadgets in the second week of January.

In 2021, our income from private fundraising rose to €1,876,356, as compared to €1,382,618 in 2020. This is in large part due to the bequests.

The pandemic forced us to rethink all our private fundraising operations: from the annual campaign (a tradition of 40 years) to Rikolto Run and Classics. Re-inventing is a great challenge, and this is reflected in the private fundraising result. While we did better than in 2020, this is largely due to bequests. But our donors showed us their loyalty. We will invest in the relationship with them and our volunteers, ambassadors and supporters. We thank them for supporting us in these challenging times; the individuals, youth organisations, companies, local authorities and schools that want to be part of the solution.

Rikolto Limited

Rikolto Limited (Rikolto b.v.) is a limited liability company, established by Rikolto International s.o.n. and Rikolto Belgium v.z.w. Rikolto Limited was set up to scale the methodologies, methods and tools developed by the Rikolto family in its programmes. Its activities are financed by commercial contracts with third parties who seek its consultancy and advisory services, and all proceeds go to Rikolto International s.o.n. and Rikolto Belgium v.z.w. Through Rikolto Limited, additional funds can be accessed to finance our staff’s expenses worldwide.

In 2021, Rikolto Limited realised a total turnover of € 180,215. After deduction of operational costs, €85,447 in wage support for Rikolto International s.o.n. and € 18,185 in wage support for Rikolto Belgium v.z.w., Rikolto Limited is left with € 24,780 in profit before taxes.

In 2022, Rikolto Limited’s target is to grow towards a turnover of € 800,000 to further contribute to the objectives and financing of Rikolto’s global mission and vision.

These results were realised through the following assignments:

  • Mapping food chains (a joint project with HIVA) for KULeuven and UZ Leuven in Belgium
  • Advising on sustainable catering for the Flemish public broadcaster VRT (together with Sustenuto) in Belgium
  • Implementing an M&E framework for the Islamic Development Bank in West-Africa (together with Helvetas)
  • Managing the income improvement project and setting upa micro-savings system with cocoa farmer organisation Kuapa Kokoo for Lidl’s WayToGo chocolate
  • Developing a sustainable food strategy for the cities ofSint-Truiden, Sint-Niklaas and Antwerp
  • Organising learning trajectories for the Good Food labelof the city of BrusselsPerforming cooperative diagnosis and development of sector strategic work plans for UNIDO in Peru
  • Connecting local food producers to the supply chain of Aldi Belgium
  • Upgrading and implementing the Environmental & SocialManagement System (ESMS) at Alterfin

Principles that we hold dear when working with partners and donors

  • Transparency

Rikolto is committed to clearly and transparently communicating with all our partners and donors on how we spend our resources. We make our information accessible through:

  1. Clear programme descriptions on our website.

  2. Commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and compliance with its reporting standards: on our website you can find an overview of the activity files for each country.

  3. Our financial section in this annual report gives a clear overview of resources and expenses for all our programmes. 

Apart from the above, Rikolto endorses the Donor Bill of Rights, and we work with the following initiatives on transparency and accountability in Belgium: Belgian Association for Ethical Fundraising, (a private initiative), Goede Doelen (King Baudoin Foundation) and X-Bank (Belgian NGO-federation). Those websites publish the audited figures of Rikolto Belgium vzw. In this annual report we show you also the consolidated figures for the worldwide Rikolto group (Rikolto Belgium vzw and Rikolto International s.o.n). As accountability, transparency and qualitative reporting are key to Rikolto, checking the adherence to global financial reporting standards and quality control will continue to be the responsibility of the Global Finance Support Team.

  • Privacy

Rikolto uses personal contact data for administrative purposes and to inform people about our activities. We take the privacy of our donors very seriously and want to be 100% transparent about what we do with personal data. In 2020, we continued working on transparent workflows and elaborated (and updated) our privacy policy. The need for a user-oriented preference centre became more and more immanent. This project is currently in the hands of the privacy taskforce. This privacy taskforce also looks at possible data breaches and ways to upgrade our data management to ensure compliance with the European privacy legislation (GDPR).

We did not receive any formal complaints in 2021 through the GBA (Belgian Authority for Data Protection). The individual complaints, questions and recommendations we received via our own channels form the basis of workflow improvements and are all taken up by the privacy taskforce.

  • Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

Since 2018, we have a clear internal policy to manage the ethical risks associated with partnering with and receiving funds from companies, corporate foundations and government actors. Moreover, in 2019 our International Board of Directors approved an organisation-wide Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. These shared values and principles apply to all employees, volunteers, interns and third-party entities such as consultants, partners and donors.

You can read them here.