Rikolto's governance structure

Our organisational and governance structure has undergone a total makeover and we have become an international network organisation, effective as of 1 January 2017. Almost a year later, we also changed our brand name from Vredeseilanden/VECO into Rikolto.

A Belgian Public Interest Foundation since 2017, Rikolto International s.o.n. is now operational and is managed by an International Board of Directors and an International Management Team composed of the directors of the different programmes in the various regions. International programme teams (clusters) focus on specific topics to work towards common goals and share expertise, and the international office takes on the support functions (finance, communications, fundraising, planning, learning and accountability etc.).

This Public Interest Foundation operates alongside the non-profit organisation Rikolto Belgium vzw (previously Vredeseilanden vzw), which has ultimate responsibility for all funds raised from Belgium donors.

Rikolto International - Board of Directors

In October 2016, an International Board of Directors was formed, based on the members’ complementary individual expertise (finance, HR, mission-related content) and background/stakeholder representation (civil society, public sector, private sector), their knowledge of Rikolto and a geographical distribution over the Rikolto regions.

The directors are appointed for a maximum period of four years with a one-time renewal. The Chair and all other Board members are volunteers. They receive no payment for their services, nor do they have an executive function within the organisation. The Board delegates operational responsibilities to the Executive Management of the organisation.

The Board of Directors of Rikolto International meets four times a year (virtual meeting) and – based on proposals from the Management Team – defines the general policies and strategies of the organisation. The Board follows up on the implementation of these and on the results and impact achieved. In this context, through our monitoring and evaluation system, on a yearly basis, stakeholders and partners are invited by our staff at regional level to give their input on the planning of our actions as well as on their evaluation. Social, economic and environmental concerns form the core of these strategic conversations. The results of these exercises are compiled and presented to the Board as input for the decisions it has to take.

Rikolto International - Board of Affiliates

As determined in the statutes, we established an International Board of Affiliates to monitor and advise the International Board of Directors. The members of this Board of Affiliates are people who are familiar with Rikolto's work and stakeholders in a specific region, and as such are delegated by national (or regional) advisory boards. Currently, there are five members: Mamadou Goita (West Africa), Saartje Boutsen and Marianne Vergeyle (Belgium), Eduardo Sabio (Vietnam) and Tatiana Gudiño (South America).

Rikolto International - International Management Team, Executive Directors and international office

As of 1 January 2017, the regional Rikolto managers became the executive directors of their regional programmes and at the same time members of the International Management Team, which steers the daily operations of the whole network organisation. Global financial reporting standards and quality control are the responsibility of the Finance department of the international office. This international office will also take on many support functions to increase our global impact and improve our way of working, e.g. communications, fundraising, designing tools for planning, learning and accountability, etc.

Two executive co-directors, Chris Claes and Madeleine Tsimi, are leading Rikolto on its journey towards becoming an effective network organisation.

Meet the team...

Rikolto Belgium vzw - General Assembly

The General Assembly consists of 88 members representing our key stakeholders. They are volunteers, experts from various organisations or private companies, people working for governmental institutions, public administration, members of the Board of Directors and former staff members. In total, our GA comprises 37 women and 51 men (as at 31/12/2017).

Anyone may apply to become a member of the General Assembly. Applications are presented at the next General Assembly. Membership is valid for an indefinite period. The Articles of Association stipulate that current staff of Rikolto cannot be a member of the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is the supreme body of Rikolto Belgium vzw (non-profit organisation). It appoints the Board of Directors and ratifies the annual accounts and the annual report. Within the General Assembly there is a Financial Committee that thoroughly studies the financial reports ahead of each General Assembly.

Rikolto Belgium vzw - Board of Directors

Members (as at 31/12/2017): Hilde Van Ongeval, Marc Bosmans, Kristof Debrabandere, Koen Dolphen, Winanda Nuyttens, Karel Bolckmans, Marnix Somers and Toon Martens. The Chair of the Board of Directors is Kristof Debrabandere.

Meet the current Board members on our Dutch website...

The directors are appointed for a maximum period of four years with a one-time renewal. The Board of Directors is responsible for general management and determines the strategy of the organisation. In its choices, it takes the values of Rikolto as its starting point: inclusive thinking, dialogue, participation and sustainability. The Board monitors the organisation’s sustainability performance. This concerns practical decisions as well as choices within the programme.

The Board delegates operational responsibilities to the Executive Management of the organisation. The Chair and all other Board members are volunteers. They receive no payment for their services, nor do they have an executive function within the organisation.

The Board has incorporated the principles of good governance into its Articles of Association and Rules and Regulations, based on the "Good Practices and Recommendations for the Management of Social Profit Organisations" of the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation (Goede praktijken en aanbevelingen voor het besturen van Social Profit organisaties).

Rikolto Belgium vzw - Executive Management

Jan Wyckaert was appointed as the new Executive Director of the Rikolto programme in Belgium as from 1 January 2017.

Quality Improvement

How does Rikolto rate in terms of management and efficiency, compared with other organisations? How do we set out our strategy? Are our partner organisations sufficiently involved? How do we score in terms of leadership? There are various ways and tools to gain insight into these questions. In 2011, the Belgian NGOs agreed to adopt EFQM as a model for quality care. This is a model that stimulates organisations to constantly question and improve themselves. The focus is on achieving good, balanced results that meet the expectations of all stakeholders: the target groups (partner organisations and farmers worldwide), staff, society and the core stakeholders (Members of the General Assembly and Board of Directors, volunteers, private and institutional donors). In 2015, we received the EFQM “Recognised for Excellence” label.

Additionally, in 2016 the Belgian government (through the consultancy agency Deloitte) screened all Belgian NGOs on their governance and management. Rikolto achieved an excellent result and is now recognised as “programme NGO” for the next ten years, allowing us to apply for long-term funding from the government.