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News, 2/9/2018

Programme-based support for CSOs granted for 2018–2021

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 206.8 million for Finnish civil society organisations' development cooperation programmes in 2018–2021. Programme-based support is granted to 22 civil society organisations (CSOs), which are engaged in extensive development cooperation in several countries.

The size of the programmes ranges from EUR 350,00 to EUR 5.4 million per year. The recipients in descending order by size of the programmes: Finn Church Aid; Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission; Fida International; Plan Finland; Finnish Red Cross; Crisis Management Initiative (CMI); Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland (SASK); Finnish NGO platform Kepa, Save the Children Finland; World Vision Finland; Abilis Foundation; International Solidarity Foundation; WWF Finland; Finnish Refugee Council; Disability Partnership Finland; Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights; Fairtrade Finland; Siemenpuu Foundation; Political Parties of Finland for Democracy — Demo Finland; Operation a Day’s Work Finland (ODW Finland); Kehys, Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU; and Free Church Federation in Finland.

All the 22 organisations have received funding from the Foreign Ministry also before. Half of them were granted more funding than previously, six of them were granted the same amount of funding than in 2017, and funding for five organisations is now smaller than it was in 2017. None of the programmes were granted the whole sum that had been applied. The general level of programme-based support remains at the same level as in 2017.

A wide spectrum of themes

CSOs are important partners for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in promoting Finland's development policy objectives. In many countries, the space for civil society has been shrinking, making it difficult for CSOs to operate. The cooperation between Finnish and local CSOs strengthens civil societies in the developing countries.

"The CSOs operate also in regions and fields in which there are no public and private actors.  These are often the most challenging environments. In addition, their activities focus on the most vulnerable groups of people," says Riitta Oksanen, Deputy Director General of the Department for Development Policy in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Two thirds of the funded programmes are implemented in the least developed countries. Geographically, the majority of the programmes are carried out in East Africa, where the biggest partner countries are Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and South Sudan. Other focal areas are South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

As regards the themes of the programmes, they respond to a variety of development challenges. They improve people's opportunities to find employment and livelihoods and to get education and health care services. In many programmes, the beneficiaries are refugees and their host communities. The work also addresses the root causes of migration: poverty, lack of prospects, and challenges related to disaster resilience. The recipients of programme-based support include organisations that have expertise in conflict resolution and the promotion of democracy. Additionally, the programmes advance sustainable management of natural resources. Climate change is taken into account in all activities.

In the decisions to grant funding, the Ministry paid attention to the development policy themes to which the CSOs will be able to bring added value. These include, for example, the rights of women and girls, the rights of people with disabilities, support for human rights defenders, the rights of various minorities, conflict resolution, and democracy support.

Reforms are put into practice

This is the first time that the call for proposals was organised so that discretionary government transfer was applied simultaneously by all organisations. The previous three-year period of funding was also extended to four years. The objectives and selection criteria were updated in cooperation with the CSOs.

In the qualitative assessment of the proposals, attention was directed to the objectives and suitability of the programme in relation to the Ministry's development policy objectives, the programme's operating environment, methods and actors, results-based management, communications, and management and budget. Elements that played a role in the overall consideration included the Ministry's previous experience of cooperation with the CSO, the organisation’s self-financing base, and the relation of the whole programme and its approach vis-à-vis the objectives and the available appropriation. The background material used in the process consisted of the CSOs' own reports and evaluations and an external evaluation commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in which the CSOs' results-based management systems and development cooperation programmes were assessed.

Programme-based support is the main form of funding granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the development cooperation activities of CSOs. Programme-based support is discretionary government transfer for the implementation of development cooperation programmes. The next call for proposals for programme-based support will be opened in 2021, and all CSOs will then be free to apply for funding.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants discretionary government transfers not only to fund programmes but also for individual projects carried out by small and medium-sized organisations and for communications in Finland and for global education. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs also contributes to the national share of Finnish organisations' EU-projects.

Recipients of programme-based support 2018-2021:

pdfRecipients of programme-based support 2018-2021

Questions and answers on programme-based support:

pdfQuestions and answers on programme based support

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