Changing the world through support for people in the most vulnerable situations. Finn Church Aid (FCA) will contribute to positive change by supporting people in the most vulnerable situations within fragile and disasteraffected areas. We specialise in supporting local communities in three priority areas: the right to peace, livelihood and education. We enhance our programmes through global advocacy.
Action for human dignity.
Unconditional love for our neighbours
Finn Church Aid has an exceptional role as a peace maker
Antti Pentikäinen, Finn Church Aid Executive Director, and Tarja Kantola, the Chair of FCA’s Board and discuss what the role of FCA is today, and what it will be in the future.
Tarja Kantola, the Chairs of FCA's board: "The fact that Finns too have joined extremist groups as fighters, and the events in Denmark have brought extremism close to us. Finn Church Aid has the ability to boldly raise issues. Now, different actors are actually getting together. Many different groups have to be taken into consideration."
Antti Pentikäinen, Finn Church Aid Executive Director until 30/4/2015: "In Finland, the Somalian diaspora also plays an important role in showing us the significance of traditional leaders and in helping us understand the complicated nature of conflicts. The diaspora also plays a role in stabilizing the Somalian state. There is plenty of work left to be done."
Favourable economic development continues
With regard to financial resources, the favourable trend continues. Cooperation with several significant international donors has made it possible to expand operations.
The deficit for 2014 was €239,028 and equity at the end of 2014 stood at €5.7 million. Current receivables totalled €3.5 million, and current liabilities €10.9 million. Of this total sum, €3.1 million comprised targeted donations for disaster and reconstruction work and for the Women’s Bank, whilst advance payments for projects, received from different donors, came to a total of €5.6
The organisation’s total revenue for the financial period stood at €33.9 million (€31.4 million in the previous financial period); an eight per cent increase from the previous year. The revenue from fundraising activities was €33.8 million.
In 2014, Finn Church Aid put a total of €34.1 million to use in international aid and domestic operations. Operational expenses saw a rise of ten per cent.
The expenses for aid activities totalled €27.7 million, including €3.1 million for the planning and monitoring of programmes. The expenses for aid work support activities, general management and fund-raising stood at €6.5 million.
Internal auditing improves transparency
In order to ensure that the funds entrusted to us are used efficiently and in accordance with the agreements, the internal audit of Finn Church Aid controls the activities of all of our offices regularly.
The auditing in 2014 paid special emphasis to risk management, compliance with good governance, appropriate financial administration and assessment of internal audits. The internal audit work is managed by an inspection committee that is independent from the strategic management.
Attention must also be paid to ensuring non-restricted equity in the future, so that excess for international funding can be covered and the resources continue to suffice to pursue new developments.
Finding and keeping competent personnel, in fragile operational environments in particular, must be emphasised, and similarly attention must be paid to good organisational and HR management.
Assessment of the operational method is in hand, so that we will able to find roles for country and regional offices that will complement each other and reduce expenses by decreasing overlaps. The number of countries of operation must also be critically considered in the preparation of the next strategy.
Further specialisation and focus continues to be necessary in the strategic themes; work for peace, education and livelihood.
What we do
Right to Education
With regard to education, Finn Church Aid is concentrating more and more on the development of education systems in fragile states and areas. Specific target groups include former combatants and women who have been left without education because of conflicts. With these groups, the aim is to provide education that will offer employment as soon as possible or work-based learning.
An educational quality development project initiated by the request of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Eritrean government is an example of the new opportunities opening up for Finn Church Aid. Similarly in Haiti and Cambodia, added value related to quality education is being discovered in ways other than just building schools.
Successful cooperation with the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Teachers Without Borders Finland network will expand the possibilities for making Finnish expertise in education available in developing countries.
Right to Livelihood
In the theme of Right to Livelihood, the focus is on the economic and social preconditions for life with human dignity – for communities and individuals alike. People must have the abilities, skills and opportunities needed to make a living in a sustainable way so that they can take care of their everyday needs, improve their well-being and put into effect their rights as equal citizens.
Specific attention is paid to people and communities who are in a poorer situation in comparison to others, due to community or social inequality, conflicts or natural conditions. We put strong emphasis on promoting women’s livelihood and gender equality. We also strive to influence the structural reasons behind poverty and inequality.
Finn Church Aid supported vocational education for young people in eight countries where youth unemployment is a burning issue. Obtaining employment after training is gaining increasing importance as a development target in FCA’s livelihood activities.
We were forced to temporarily call off the rural area entrepreneurship projects that were ongoing in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the resources were focused on work against ebola. The projects have gradually restarted since the beginning of 2015.
Right to Peace
In 2014, Finn Church Aid continued to support communities in conflict prevention and finding non-violent solutions. Specific attention was paid to the roles of traditional and religious leaders as well as young people and women. This is in line with UN Security Council resolution UNSC 1325, which calls for a more central role for women in the peace process.
Following the positive experiences obtained around Somalia, successful conciliation and peace mediation activities have been carried out at the community level in North Kenya and South Sudan. Furthermore, FCA was more actively involved at the national level in unofficial negotiation processes.
Religious and traditional leaders possess authority in their communities and can influence people’s opinions. Finn Church Aid has worked in cooperation with leaders in Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic in particular. The positive experiences achieved make it possible for FCA to become one of the leading NGOs in the work for stabilisation of fragile areas.
At the international level, FCA has been an active follower and promoter of the New Deal process for fragile states and its implementation in Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic and Somalia in particular, as well as the more general level developments of people’s right to peace.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Alternatives project has created possibilities for positive change by combining local, regional and national forces and promoting them in achieving their goals.
In Kenya, Finn Church Aid has supported cooperation between traditional institutions, local authorities and local communities in solving tribal conflicts.
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, established in 2013, works to improve the success and longevity of peace meditation activities, by strengthening local ownership and contributing to the positive role of religious and traditional leaders in the peace meditation process. FCA is the secretariat of the Network.
The network promotes, in particular, local peace meditation, involvement of religious and traditional peace mediators, production of topical research and development of expertise as well as supporting cooperation between the various parties.
In 2014, the network produced a report on the role of religious and traditional leaders in the Central African Republic and Myanmar and a study on the recruiting process of al-Shabaab fighters. The network’s two main goals are the prevention of radicalisation and extreme violent movements and strengthening the role of women.
The network provided support for several local peace initiatives in South East Asia and sub-saharan Africa and promoted collaboration between operators at the grass-roots and international levels.
Classrooms destroyed by typhoon replaced with new ones in the Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded, struck the Philippines in November 2013. It left four million people homeless, killed eight thousand and destroyed practically everything in its path through the central part of the country. After the initial phase of emergency aid was over, Finn Church Aid decided to focus on supporting education.
FCA built temporary learning spaces in the regions destroyed by the super typhoon Haiyan.
The 26 schools selected for the rebuilding project were all completely or partially destroyed by the typhoon. In all, 47 semi-permanent classrooms were built, giving hundreds of school children in the peripheral regions of the country the opportunity to study in proper, weather-resistant facilities.
The building materials were selected to withstand local conditions: heat, heavy rains and storm winds. The walls made of fibre cement panels are heat, fire and mould resistant.
The school buildings have a lifespan of at least 15 years, and by renewing the wall panels, their service life can be extended. The classrooms have new chairs and desks for the students and teachers. The blackboards were painted on the walls with blackboard paint. First-aid kits and school materials were also distributed to the schools.
Marissa’s new school
Marissa Abulencia’s school was badly destroyed by the typhoon Haiyan.
“After the typhoon Haiyan, I went to school in a temporary classroom that was like a tent. It was very difficult, because we didn’t have enough room and it was very hot. Many children stopped coming to school”, sixth grader Marissa Abulencia, 11, says.
Marissa is an enthusiastic learner whose favourite subject is English. She is the student council president in the Santa Margarita Elementary School.
Marissa lives with her parents and siblings in a simple hut ten minutes from the school. Marissa’s father is a fisherman and mother is a homemaker.
“Now the new school building is completed and no one skips classes anymore. I love school!”
IDP children to school in Myanmar
In Rakhine state, Myanmar, FCA promotes basic education for children and young people in camps for displaced Muslim and Buddhist populations.
After ethnic tensions led to open conflict, approximately 140,000 people had to flee from their homes in the State of Rakhine, Myanmar. They are now living in camps for internally displaced people; Muslims with other Muslims and Buddhists with Buddhists.
With support provided by Finn Church Aid, temporary schools were built at the camp, teachers were trained, and students selected and provided with bags with school supplies.
The programme is funded by ECHO – EU Children of Peace
Food assistance to South Sudan
Finn Church delivered food assistance to the Mundri area in South Sudan in September 2014.
Finn Church Aid distributed food assistance in demanding conditions in the Mundri county of the Western Equatoria state, South Sudan, from September 2014 to January 2015. Food was handed out to approximately 12,000 displaced people so that they received two daily meals. The aid was funded by The Primate’s World Relief and Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The food crisis in South Sudan was the worst seen last year. The situation remains urgent in 2015.
Humanitarian Aid in 2014
General support for the ACT Alliance catastrophe trust
Angola: humanitarian mine-action
South Sudan: humanitarian aid
The Philippines: disaster relief for the areas devastated by the hurricane Hagupit
Iraq: support for Iraqi refugees in Syria
Jordan: education for refugee children and young people from Syria
Cambodia: humanitarian mine-action
Central African Republic: support for returnees
Central America: emergency aid to drought regions
The Democratic Republic of the Congo: humanitarian aid
Liberia and Sierra Leone: Ebola work
Liberia: secondary education and livelihood training for refugees from Côte d’Ivoire
“Finn Church Aid is an important partner for us, and has supported our activities since the beginning. We value the organisation very much, and enjoy mutual trust. We also share the same values: we value dignity and want to offer young people hope. FCA gives us freedom in our work and helps out, not only in educating young people but also in developing the capacities of our staff."
Pascal Badibanga Zabage
Head of the ETN Vocational Training Centre, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
“I feel that we are being trusted and we can carry out the project independently. It is rewarding. Communication is also open in all respects. It is great that the funder has a genuine interest in what is going on with the project. Receiving constructive feedback has been rewarding as has noticing that our reports really are read!”
Trak Socheat, Project Manager
CWCC, Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, Cambodia
“When Finn Church Aid contacted ECHO, we instantly noticed that there was a high need for the proposed project. By offering children and young people at refugee camps recreational activities and school instruction, the project creates a sense of ordinary life and gives hope for the future. I have made a number of visits to the location. Even though the project does not necessarily prevent the dreaded radicalisation of young people or decrease the number of refugees making dangerous boat trips to South East Asia, it has, for sure, put a smile back on the faces of those children and young people who have taken part in the recreational activities and instruction. I am deeply impressed by the employees, who are dedicated to their cause and the teenagers’ commitment to learning how to read and write."
Nicolas Louis, Head of Office
ECHO Yangon, Myanmar
“It is great to be a Finn Church Aid partner. FCA materials are up-to-date and topical. FCA is making great leaps forward.”
Diocese of Oulu, Finland
“Circus has made my life at the refugee camp so much better. I can concentrate better at school and I have been given responsibility for the practice sessions for younger kids. Circus helps young people to cope with the harsh conditions at the camp.”
Mona Alrifai, Circus Instructor,
Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
“I am very much impressed by the commitment Finn Church Aid has expressed to the ACT Alliance. I value it very highly, because the success of the ACT Alliance is dependent on its members’ commitment to the work. This is why I praise FCA’s long-term commitment to a strong alliance.”
John Nduna, General Secretary
ACT Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland