Our organization

A solid structure provides opportunities for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. Solidity as opposed to rigidity, because the pace of change in the world, new insights and discoveries require a preparedness to make changes where and when necessary, so that we can serve those in need effectively, responsibly and in a sustainable way.

Our staff

Staff composition

NLR’s head office is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Staff there comprised 27 employees working in 4 departments. Management and execution of field activities is delegated to 7 professional regional offices with a total of 110 femployees in the 11 countries in which the organization is active.

NLR 2016 in a nutshell

24,7 FTE in Amsterdam
7 regional offices in Africa, Asia and South America, 110 employees in 11 countries
47,186 donors and 1,000 volunteers
In 2016 our programs reached 48,672 beneficiaries

Employee representative body (PVT)

The ERC is entitled to advise the Executive Director on planned changes in the organization, labour conditions and terms of employment that affect more than 25% of the staff at the international office. The ERC was actively involved in advising on the consequences for NLR staff of the planned budget reductions due to decline of revenues from legacies that would affect employment and terms of employment as per 2017. In consultation with its constituency, the ERC advised negatively concerning immediate implementation of the proposed plan and suggested to involve staff members in advisory committees on various aspects of employment and daily practices in the office. The results of these working groups will be discussed early 2017. Pending the outcome, the Executive Director decided to suspend planned measures affecting employment and terms of employment until the first quarter of 2017.

Governing board and supervision

Supervisory Board

In NLR the highest body is the Supervisory Board. It oversees the Executive Director’s performance, as well as policy and general affairs. The Executive Director is responsible for managing the organization under the supervision of the Supervisory Board. In the bylaws, the division of responsibilities between supervision and management is worked out in detail.

In 2016 the Supervisory Board consisted of the following members:

  • Mr A. van Ojik (Chair)
  • Mrs G.C. Anbeek (HRM and Governance), until end 2016
  • Dr M.R.A. van Cleeff (Programs)
  • Mrs D. Go-Feij (Communications and fundraising)
  • Mr R.I.J. Greveling (Finance)
  • Professor Dr. P.R. Klatser (Scientific research)

Other positions held by members of the Board and management team can be found here, as well as other relevant information on the Board. None of their positions pose any conflict of interest with the functions of the Supervisory Board or the Directorate of NLR.

The Dutch Act on Management and Supervision (Wet Bestuur en Toezicht) stipulates a certain gender diversity in the Supervisory Board. At least 30% of the seats should be occupied by women and at least 30% of the seats by men. In 2016 our Supervisory Board met these criteria; with the ratio of 2 female and 4 male members.

Proceedings of the Supervisory Board in 2016

At the regular annual visit to the office and meetings with the staff in September 2016, the Supervisory Board collected additional information and impressions about the culture and activities at the international office. This supplemented the information provided by the Executive Director.

Every year, the Supervisory Board evaluates its own functioning, the Executive Director’s performance, and the cooperation between the Board and the Executive Director. The 2016 evaluation was discussed in the Board meeting in December 2016. The Board concluded that it has access to sufficient information to supervise the Executive Director. The Board planned the agenda for its 2017 meetings.

The Supervisory Board met 6 times in 2016. Besides the regular quarterly meeting, two special meetings were held to discuss proposals from the Executive Director for the NLR 2020 project and the budget reductions following the decline in revenues from legacies respectively.

Proceedings of the Supervisory Board in 2016

  • The Executive Director reported progress on the execution of the annual plan and budget to the Board on a quarterly basis.
  • The Board discussed the progress on the NLR 2020 Decentralisation project in each quarterly meeting.
  • In its March meeting the Board approved the NLR strategy 2016- 2018.
  • In a special meeting in August the Board discussed the progress of the NLR 2020 Project and the outline for governance of the new local NGOs and the new NLR Alliance.
  • In the September meeting the Board approved the plan to focus the NLR strategy on 4 Key Priority Areas and appointed a new Auditor for NLR and the LRI.
  • In its special meeting in October the Board discussed and approved the Executive Director’s plan for budget reductions, due to the structural decline of revenues from legacies. The approved plan included the decision to withdraw NLR funding from Mekong Region and Nigeria and a temporary budget to facilitate transition or phasing out in both regions in 2017/2018.
  • In December the Board approved the annual plans and budgets of NLR and LRI for 2017.

Executive Directors' remuneration

The Supervisory Board determines the remuneration policy and the Executive Director’s salary. NLR follows the Regulation for the Remuneration of Directors of Charities, in Dutch Regeling beloning directeuren van goede doelen (van Goede Doelen Nederland). The remuneration policy is updated and revised every 3 years. The most recent update was in 2015, when the Board concluded that the remuneration policy is performed in accordance with the Regulation.

As the salary had not been indexed since 2011, the Board decided to follow the Regulation in March 2016 and applied for the calculation of the salary of 2016 an index over the salary of 2015 of 4.25 %. For more detail, see page 21 of the Annual Accounts of NLR

The 2016 annual salary of the Executive Director Mr. Jan van Berkel was €113,843 (1 FTE/12 months).
Van Berkel donated his remuneration of €
2,500 as chair of Goede Doelen Nederland to NLR.

Learning organization


In order to be able to better relate to our local context and to raise funds in the countries in which we are working, we have designed the NLR2020 project; a project that aims to transform our offices into local organizations that will keep on working together in an NLR Alliance.

In 2016 the most important element of this project was to strengthen the capacities of our country offices. A plan to strengthen their program management capacity, institutional fundraising capacity, skills in communication and networking was agreed with each office. Trainings were organized and new staff was attracted.

Based on each country’s context, the speed of the process differs. Brazil will be the first office to transform into a local organization. In 2016, together with the German leprosy organization GLRA which has teamed up with NLR in this process, big steps were made to find the right Board Members, develop the structure of the local organization and the legal structure, strengthen program management and institutional fundraising. The office is expected to officially change into a local organization in 2017.

In addition to establishing local organizations, NLR will also set up an Alliance in which the organizations will be working together and with the international office. The new way of working together, learning from one another, do joint advocacy and fundraising work, will be applied to the 4 new Key Priority Programs (KPPs). Once this way of working together works well, the next step is to establish an Alliance.


NLR strives to maintain good contacts with its donors. An important aspect of this is an appropriate and timely complaints handling, as complaints are considered an indication that people are concerned with our work. Our complaints procedure is in accordance with the stipulations of the Central Bureau on Fundraising (CBF). In 2016 we received 65 complaints. Some complaints concerned the Executive Director’s salary (5) and some donors did not like the mailing (11). About 39 complaints were about a too high frequency of appeals for a donation. In response, the frequency for future appeals was adjusted as requested. All complaints were promptly dealt with and, depending on the origins of the complaint, either explained or investigated. In most cases heartfelt apologies were sufficient.

Risk analysis and control

From the annual risk analysis that all NLR offices make, shortage of revenues is the largest risk that threatens the continuity of NLR operations. Training in institutional fundraising is aimed at acquiring more diverse sources of income for our regional offices. Intensive support in training, donor mapping, proposal writing and actual applications for funding is provided by the international office.

The second largest risk has to do with staff security: the high incidence of traffic accidents in many countries with NLR operations in relation to the amount of road travel of our staff. In Nigeria, political violence and terrorist threats add extra concerns. Strict security procedures for staff travel are continually updated and maintained.

Risks relating to data security are covered by following strict procedures that are in accordance with the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act (Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens).
In 2016 progress was made in ISO certification preparations and certification is expected in 2017.

NLR’s field projects are regularly monitored and evaluated by the regional offices, external experts from the KIT and other centres of expertise as well as head office staff to ensure that spending is in line with our strategy and accountability principles. All regional offices undergo an annual financial audit carried out by an external auditor appointed by the head office. No major flaws were found in 2016. Recommended improvements were immediately implemented in the regional offices concerned.

Social responsibility (MVO)

NLR operates on a carbon neutral basis. In 2016 the CO2 emissions due to air-travel and printing were compensated by contributions to sustainable energy projects. In accordance with the guideline ‘Financial Management of Fundraising Institutions’ issued by Goede Doelen Nederland, our starting point in management of our reserve funds is preservation of our capital. We invest our reserve funds exclusively in investment products offered by governments and companies that respect human rights, reject child labor, and manage their operation in a sustainable fashion.

Partners & Collaborations

NLR is a relatively small player in the field of international development aid. To keep the fight against leprosy high on the agenda, collaboration is vital.

NLR is an active member of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP): our Executive Director was reappointed by the members as ILEP President and we actively contributed to the International Technical Committee. NLR contributed to the development of the ILEP Triple Zero campaign: Zero Transmission, Zero Disability, Zero Discrimination. In addition we work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Neglected Tropical Disease Non-governmental Development Organization Network (NNN).

In the Netherlands, as an active member of the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD), we lobbied for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) by the Dutch government. This was a landmark success, and together with other parties in development co-operation we continue to lobby the Dutch government for the Convention’s active implementation. In several meetings with embassies the rights of persons with disabilities were tabled, and this has contributed to increased attention for these groups in the Dutch government programs.

Our collaboration with the Liliane Foundation was extended from the Mekong Region to Indonesia, and a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed to that effect. The collaboration aims at achieving efficiency and synergy in our work by combining projects and support work in the field of disability and inclusion.

In addition, we were happy to continue our cooperation with long-term funding partners such as the Dutch National Postcode Lottery and the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Achmea Foundation, Novartis Foundation, Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, Peerke Donders Stichting, Fondation Mérieux, the Our ILEP partners such as Lepra UK and effect:hope are also funding programs that are carried out by NLR Offices in Mozambique and Indonesia