Finn Church Aid’s work expands to Eritrea

Teacher Luwanu Andou teaching mathematics class at Mai Nefh Vocational School. It is ordinary that there are 80 students in a class, due to the shortage of qualified teachers. The aim of FCA's programmes that will begin in January 2015 is to increase employment and entrepreneurship through teaching and learning skills. Photo: Laura Vanhanen

Finn Church Aid will begin to work in the state of Eritrea. The main goal is to develop the education sector in the country.

In practice, FCA will support planning of vocational education, strengthening the teacher training and supporting youth entrepreneurship. The goal is to develop local solutions in cooperation with Eritreans, for example in renewable energy production and in improving the quality of education.

The cooperation plan is currently being designed with Eritrean education officials and FCA’s partners. Today FCA’s team of education specialists returned from Asmara. The team also visited schools, vocational training centers and higher education institutions in different locations across Eritrea, such as in Dek’emhare and Mai Nefhi.

“Special Envoy Pekka Haavisto and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland have done substantial groundwork on opening up dialogue with Eritrea. It is exceptional that Eritrea has asked for an organisation, Finn Church Aid, to enter the country. This opens up an opportunity to seek solutions for the challenges faced by the Eritrea”, Antti Pentikäinen, the Executive Director of Finn Church Aid, says.

“Our vision is that by developing the quality of education, we can have a far-reaching impact. Finnish expertise has a lot to offer for developing the education system.”

FCA will start implementing the projects in January 2015.

The budget for the projects is 1,5 million euros for the next three years. The work is being financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Estimates of the population in Eritrea vary between 3,6 million and 5,4 million. No census has been conducted in Eritrea since its independence in 1991. Many are leaving the country.

“The lack of options that the Eritrean youth are facing has escalated the refugee situation. Access to quality education will create new opportunities for young people. Support in vocational and entrepreneurial skills can benefit in building brighter future for the country”, says FCA’s Education Specialist Laura Vanhanen.

For more information: Antti Pentikäinen, Executive Director, +358 40 53135 14