Finn Church Aid’s development cooperation will be cut by 43 % – Cut back directly affects the lives of over 300,000 people

Government cuts on Finn Church Aid development cooperation will leave hundreds of thousands without support beginning next year. Vulnerable young people, such as former child soldiers, are learning a profession at the ETN education centre. Photo: Ville Asikainen.
Government cuts on Finn Church Aid development cooperation will leave hundreds of thousands without support beginning next year. Vulnerable young people, such as former child soldiers, are learning a profession at the ETN education centre. Photo: Ville Asikainen.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has announced today it will cut development cooperation support for Finn Church Aid by almost 4.3 million euros, 43 % from the 2015 level. It means that over 300,000 people will be left without aid.

Cuts on humanitarian aid are yet to come. If they are done to the same extend and the cuts on development cooperation, a further 100,000 people struggling in humanitarian crises will be left without support. FCA estimates that in the worst case, the combined cuts might rise to 6-8 million euros.

“We haven’t yet decided where the cuts will be made, but the scale alone results in over 400,000 people in the poorest countries of the world suffering from their effects”, says Finn Church Aid Executive Director Jouni Hemberg.

“FCA operates in the world’s most fragile states, such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Myanmar, which are also the originating countries of many refugees. Shutting down our programmes will push more people to leave in search of security and livelihood.”

Most beneficiaries are those in the weakest position: women, children and young people. The cuts will be particularly harmful to the livelihoods, education and stability of the most vulnerable families.

The direct effects of the cuts will be accompanied by the knock-on effects: support to the self-development of communities will suffer and the progress gained will be lost. Initiated projects cannot be concluded.

Meeting such large scale savings will mean, for example, that operations must be shut down in 5-7 of the 20 countries FCA is currently operating in. They will unavoidably have effects on the FCA staff as well.

“The suddenness of the cuts and shutting down operations quickly mean that we are in danger of wasting decades of work”, Hemberg says.

“I’m disappointed that the quality, efficiency and transparency of our work have not been taken into account in these cuts in any way.”

Finn Church Aid is an internationally renowned organisation. It has a staff of approximately 300, working both in Finland and abroad. Annual budget for 2015 is about 40 million euros. FCA works in cooperation with, among others, governments and numerous UN organisations. The credibility of Finn Church Aid and Finnish development cooperation is now in danger.

Further information:
Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, p. +358 50 325 9579, jouni.hemberg@kirkonulkomaanapu.fi