2017 is almost over. We hope you have had a good year – both personally and professionally.
As you know, ICCO is very much part of the world we live in. And in 2017 a number of issues dominated our world: climate change, a fact that can no longer be ignored, migration and the future of the young people in the world, urbanization, the growing demand for jobs and healthy food, not to mention continuing inequality in income and the worsening position of minorities and civil society organizations.
Fortunately, however, it’s not all gloom and doom. There is much good news in the world too, like the trend toward increasing prosperity and welfare. And we see many people and organizations all around us who are successfully working to change and improve the living conditions of vulnerable citizens of the world. But that doesn’t just happen automatically. It involves hard work and ICCO too has to continually adapt itself to new situations and developments.
Fortunately renewal is in our blood, and has been since we started in 1964. In recent years we have changed course considerably. From being primarily a funder of local civil society organizations we have become a social enterprise that connects the non-profit sector with for-profit instruments and expertise. But our objective remains unchanged: strengthening local communities and entrepreneurship so that jobs and incomes are created, and rights are respected.
We want to share four examples of our work in 2017 that we are proud of:
1- In the AgriSkills4You program we have trained 2,700 Ugandan young people to start a business and 10,000 small-scale farmers have made the transition from self-sufficiency to commercial farming.
2- In Vietnam and Indonesia we are the lead organization for G4AW (Geodata for Agriculture and Water) projects. These are public-private partnerships in which farmers are boosting their productivity by using satellite data and mobile phones.
3- In Mali ICCO has trained 38,000 women who grow and process shea and has helped them gain access to new international markets.
4- In Bolivia and Colombia ICCO has set up the social enterprise Manq’a, which has trained almost 2,000 young people in gastronomy and food business.
2018 is nearly here
A new year, during which we will continue to pour effort and passion into our work. Not long ago it was said that a time would come when development cooperation is no longer needed. But that time is not yet near. As mutual relations and dependency between countries and people of the world continue to grow, living together in peace and prosperity requires even more cooperation.
Marinus Verweij and Wim Hart
Board of Directors