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SNV Annual Report 2018

Logo https://interactive.snv.org/snv-annual-report-2018

A year in review

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CEO message

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Some of my most joyous moments in my first year with SNV have been meeting women and men who have directly benefited from our projects. Some show me how they have improved their livelihood. Others tell me about new or improved services they now have access to, such as energy, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and nutritious food.   

While meeting these women and men is a great inspiration, I am convinced that our most important impact is often less tangible. The changing of systems from within - so that many can work their way out of poverty - is a far-reaching result that goes well beyond the immediate scope of our projects.

My first year in SNV has convinced me that our 1,300 staff around the world are our unique strength. Our extensive local presence means we know how governments work, which written and unwritten rules exist, and how relationships are built. Our staff are regarded as honest brokers. We adjust our approaches when circumstances change on the ground. And we generate know-how that we share among ourselves and with our partners. 

SNV is an organisation that renews itself constantly. In 2018, we took stock of the lessons learned from the previous strategic period to position ourselves for the future. As a Managing Board, we welcome what the future will bring and look forward to working with colleagues across the globe, to consolidate progress, to step up on implementation, and to scale up our impact.

Meike van Ginneken, Chief Executive Officer
On behalf of the Managing Board



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2018 in numbers

2018 was a year of renewal. It was the last year of our three-year strategy period 2016-2018, during which we improved the lives of 16.9 million people living in poverty. We developed the new Strategic Plan 2019-2022 as a basis to solidify our position as a global premium development organisation with a strong local presence.
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In 2018, SNV helped to improve the lives of 4.4 million people living in poverty through increased incomes and access to basic services. In agriculture, energy and WASH we developed locally-owned approaches, strengthened governance systems and improved markets for people living in poverty.

Over the past three years, we reached 94% of the target set out in our 2016-2018 Strategy Paper. While we are proud of the impacts we have made, we also realise that we fell short of the target we set ourselves. Results in agriculture were lower than expected due to challenges in the accurate data on income and climate resilience.

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Our footprint

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In 2018 we worked in 27 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
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2018 was a year of strong growth. Our income grew to €124 million, a 15% year-on-year increase after two years of stagnation.

The agriculture sector accounted for 65% of total project expenses, WASH for 21%, and energy for 11% (with 3% of order intake being categorised as other).

We made a considerable loss of €2.7 million. This is of concern, especially in a year in which we grew our revenues. The 2018 loss is explained by write-offs to resolve legacy issues. We also took an additional provision against receivables and future expenditures.

We signed €152 million of new contracts in 2018.



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In 2018, the number of staff worldwide increased by 7% and at the end of 2018 we were 1,308 people strong.

This team of specialists and generalists, nationals and internationals, males and females, young and more seasoned colleagues are the backbone of SNV.

Our staff expanded fastest in East and Southern Africa. Only 6% of our team is based in The Netherlands, the country where SNV was established 53 years ago. In addition, we have a small office in Washington DC, USA.
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We apply practical know-how to support people living in poverty. We use our extensive on-the-ground track record to apply and adapt our expertise to local contexts.

Our long-term in-country presence is the basis of our local credibility and our alliance building with and between stakeholders. We extensively collaborate with partners, we invest in market-based approaches and work extensively with the private sector. We are a trusted partner to local and national governments.
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SNV sectors

Our continued focus on agriculture, energy, and WASH allowed us to expand our approaches within the three sectors and improve the quality of our work. Many of our projects span across sectors and have an integrated approach to sustainable development.

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Our agriculture programme helped to improve the lives of 1.3 million people in 2018. Over the past three years, we reached 82% of our agriculture target: we improved the lives of 4.9 million people against a target of 6 million lives.

Reducing poverty through increased sustainable agriculture and resilient food production systems spans multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SNV agriculture programme contributes to the SDGs through a private sector, market-based and innovation driven approach.

In 2018, 1.1 million people benefitted directly through increased income from our projects on inclusive value chain development. 
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SNV integrates its interventions across agriculture value chains, nutrition and climate adaptation. Our food and nutrition security programme matured in 2018 and improved food access and nutrition security for 85,000 people. We stepped up on our climate and business programme. The bulk of impacts will be created in years to come.

In 2018, we helped make the livelihoods of 98,000 people more climate resilient. Alongside these direct results, SNV projects also built the capacity of private firms, governments, and civil society. The improved business models and networks of these actors will help sustain and expand the impact of these projects in years to come.

Our new order intake in agriculture exceeded expectations which provides a good basis for future growth including in climate and business, youth employment, and food and nutrition.

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Our energy programme helped to improve the lives of 628,000 people and reduced greenhouse gas emission by close to 600,000 tonnes.

Over our three-year strategic planning period, SNV reached its revised target to provide energy access for 2 million people, contributing to the SDG 7 target to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.


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We increasingly provide people with off-grid electricity while continuing to build on our track record in biogas.

In addition to these direct benefits, our energy portfolio helped develop sustainable energy markets. Our new order intake in energy was below target which limits future growth.
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Our WASH projects reached 2.5 million people in 2018. Our projects resulted in 1.9 million people gaining access to, and use of, sanitation, and 620,000 people gaining access to basic drinking water supply services. In addition, close to 750,000 people commenced handwashing with soap.

The aggregated results over the period 2016 to 2018 were in line with our three-year target of 10 million people. Our contribution to SDG 6 (ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) goes well beyond the number of people who benefit directly from our programme. 
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Our programme supported the development of public institutions and built markets that will ultimately provide many more people with WASH services. Our commitment to leaving no-one behind translates to a focus on universal access.

Sustainability remained key to our work in 2018 as we implemented local solutions and deepened our experience of what it takes to pragmatically ensure lasting results in all settings. We explicitly focused on schools, health facilities and last mile provisions. We strengthened the exchange on rural sanitation between Asian and African experiences.

Our focus on small towns and city-wide urban sanitation services intensified. New order intake in WASH was below target and needs more attention.
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From 2016 to 2018, our operating environment evolved and we adjusted our modus operandi as we transitioned from core funding by the Dutch Government to project financing. 2018 was the third year that we generated our income entirely from business revenues acquired on a project basis.

The majority of our projects are financed through grants from public development agencies, but we increasingly implement service contracts with governments, multilateral donors, and other entities.

Our 2018 financial results show that we are still learning and we need to continue focusing on implementation.
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2018 was a year of strong growth. Our income grew to €124 million, a 15% year-on-year increase after two years of stagnation. We signed €152 million of new contracts in 2018. While this is 10% below target, we are well on our way to our average €170 million annual target when taking into account unavoidable yearly variations.

The agriculture sector accounted for 79% of the total 2018 order intake, WASH for 11%, and energy for 8% (with 2% of order intake being categorised as other).

We made a considerable loss of €2.7 million. This is of concern, especially in a year in which we grew our revenues. The 2018 loss is explained by write-offs to resolve legacy issues. We also took an additional provision against receivables and future expenditures. The loss underlines the need for continued focus on uniformity and conformity in the execution of our projects.

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