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.