Changes around us are happening fast. Each day seems to come with new surprises, both positive and negative.
Finn Church Aid is needed now more than ever. As the number of wars and conflicts around the world rises, so does the need for aid. Political shifts and diminishing resources of global actors like the UN are creating a situation where there is a great need for professional organisations in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, such as FCA.
Organisations like us must also be able to renew themselves and find new ways of fulfilling their purpose. Last autumn, FCA released its new strategy. At the heart of our strategy are people’s wellbeing and ability to recover from disasters, and the realisation of human rights. With global migration on the increase, these issues become more and more important.
Finn Church Aid continued to focus its operations on the world’s most fragile and challenging environments. The postconflict situation in Central African Republic, the new conflict in South Sudan and the drought in East Africa all had a negative effect on FCA’s long-term programmes. Still, the results we achieved give reason for hope. Even in difficult conditions, FCA managed to bring about dozens of local peace agreements and secured access to education for tens of thousands of children and youth. Emergency relief has been delivered to the most vulnerable people in South Sudan, Somalia, Haiti and Syria.
The European refugee crisis continued to affect FCA’s work, and humanitarian assistance in European countries continued. FCA launched a humanitarian education projectin Greece. Work with immigrants in Finland was developed further. Our work focused on providing easily accessible assistance and preventing violent extremism. Cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior provides a basis for sustainable outcomes.
The major changes started last year in Finland continued. Cutbacks made in 2015 to official development funding entered into force and affected FCA’s work as well, as we were forced to shut down our operations in five countries and reduce our engagement in many others. Private donations continued to grow, however, and international donors continued to show interest in FCA’s work.
Despite these challenges, we continue to grow and develop our operations. We are happy about our successes, for example Cambodia launching student career counselling as a result of our long-term work; the hundreds of classrooms built in Nepal after the earthquake; and over 60,000 children gaining access to education in Central African Republic.
Quality work comes from efficiency and professionalism, but also from us utilising our volunteer networks. The volunteers of Women’s Bank, EAPPI, Teachers without Borders and Changemaker are an important resource for us.
But the most important resources are our donors and our partners. They make everything we do possible. So thank you to everyone who supported us in 2016.
Jouni Hemberg Executive Director Finn Church Aid
We did it together
CREATING CAMBODIA'S CAREER COUNSELLING SYSTEM
In Cambodia, national development is hindered by a lack of skilled labour which is caused by almost half of the children dropping out of school because of pressure to help support their families, and from lack of information on career choices that could lead to better jobs. Finn Church Aid trained Cambodia’s first ever student career counsellors, and in the schools involved in this pilot programme the number of dropouts went down rapidly. These initial positive results have led to career counselling being included in the national curriculum, and career counsellors are trained for nationwide needs.
FINN CHURCH AID WAS THE SECOND LARGEST SCHOOL CONSTRUCTOR IN NEPAL
In the two years following the Nepal earthquake, Finn Church Aid constructed 300 schools and safe school environments in the country for 44,000 children. Continuing normal education after a disaster is extremely important for children. This is why FCA began constructing temporary school facilities immediately after the earthquake. Last year we constructed semi-permanent classrooms with concrete walls, expected to last between 15 to 20 years.
STUDY REVEALED WHAT DRIVES PEOPLE TO JOI EXTREMIST GROUPS
Together with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, we conducted an interview study with former members of Boko Haram. The study had the largest sample size to date, and results of the study help us understand why people join extremist groups and how violent radicalisation can be prevented. The study was published during the UN General Assembly and received wide interest in international media. The study was sponsored by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
WOMEN’S BANK HAS RAISED 10 MILLION EUROS
Women’s Bank volunteer network, the Finnish innovation supporting female entrepreneurship in developing countries, reached a fundraising milestone of 10 million euros in August 2016. Women’s Bank’s funds are managed by Finn Church Aid which also implements its programmes. Women’s Bank, which was founded in May 2007, has proved that a strong bond between women in Finland and women in developing countries leads to tangible outcomes.
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO HAITI AFTER HURRICANE MATTHEW
In October, Haiti became victim of hurricane Matthew which destroyed crops and resulted in severe food crisis within the poor nation. FCA quickly distributed assistance to the hard-to-reach disaster areas. Careful planning and efficient cooperation with local partner organisations made relief deliveries possible immediately after the disaster. FCA distributed food relief to 12,500 people in the worst hit regions.
AMAZING DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS
We have 21,700 monthly donors and over 6,500 volunteers who support our work in different ways, for example by lending us their expertise, raising funds, participating in our campaigns or assisting with mailing. Together we are changing the world for the better. Without our donors and volunteers we could not continue our work.
Year of economic cutbacks
Cuts on government funding for development cooperation were applied fully in 2016. As a result, government funding went down from 15.5 million euros to 8.3 million. However, in terms of other financial resources, we continued to see positive developments.
The deficit for 2016 was €286,255, and equity at the end of the year was €12.5 million. Of this, €7.4 million were targeted donations for disaster and reconstruction work and Women’s Bank. Current receivables totalled €4.0 million. Current liabilities were €10.3 million, of which €7.7 million were advance payments from different donors.
Total revenue for the financial period stood at €34.4 million, which represents a 19 per cent decrease from the previous year. Revenue from fundraising activities was €35.4 million.
In 2016, Finn Church Aid spent €34.7 million in international aid and domestic operations. Operational expenses dropped by 18.5 per cent from the previous year. Expenses for aid activities totalled €29.1 million, including €3.2 million for the planning and monitoring of programmes. Expenses for support functions for aid activities, general administration and fundraising were €5.5 million.
Internal auditing is independent and objective evaluation, monitoring and consultation of FCA work that adds value to Finn Church Aid and improves its operation.
Internal auditing supports FCA and its higher executives to achieve their goals by providing a systematic approach to evaluating and developing the organisation’s monitoring, management and administrative processes as well as the effectiveness of risk management.
In 2016, FCA drew up and approved a new global open-ended strategy, the application of which began in 2017. Its central goal is to further improve the effect of FCA’s work. FCA continues its specialisation in three connected themes; right to peace, right to quality education and right to livelihood.
Finn Church Aid will expand its strategic partnerships, particularly with the UN and other international organisations. Cooperation with other organisations of the ACT Alliance and with relief organisations of different religious backgrounds continues and grows. Direct cooperation with governments in developing countries should also help us secure increased impact for our programmes.
Changes in global development architecture will greatly affect operations in the coming years. New forms of operating and new financing instruments must be found. For example, strong prioritisation of private sector funding in certain countries will continue and be expanded.
Through its operation FCA must be able to express its clear added value and its experience of operating in developing countries, particularly in fragile contexts.
Right to Peace
Finn Church Aid and its partners continued to deepen and expand their peace work in 2016. The work is done on global, national and local levels. Peace and mediation processes between tribes and communities have been facilitated in Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
In South Sudan FCA facilitated dialogues between key church affiliated actors in cooperation with the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the state of Boma, tribes agreed on peace between each other and the neighbouring state of Jonglei. 40 leaders in key positions participated in the process. Over 90 per cent of participants said they were happy with the peace process which is a good indication that the peace is on a sustainable foundation.
In Somalia, peace work was expanded to efforts that support government structures. Women’s participation in the 2016 election was also supported.
Finn Church Aid and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers together released a study on former members of Boko Haram, an extremist group operating in Nigeria. The study was widely publicised. It delved into the reasons for joining and leaving the group, and the results raised interest in media and researchers. Finn Church Aid hosts the secretariat of the network.
In Finland, FCA has supported the Ministry of the Interior in work related to integration of asylum seekers. Members of municipalities and the Lutheran Church have been trained on issues relating to asylum seekers, violent radicalisation and meeting religious communities.
Late 2016, FCA launched a Reach Out project to supports grassroots efforts of different religious communities to battle prejudice and hate speech. A methodology for supporting former young combatants, young people at risk of radicalisation and their families is being developed within the project. The goal of the Reach Out is to prevent radicalisation by enhancing cooperation between government officials, religious communities and non-governmental organisations.
Right to Livelihood
Main focus remains on supporting vulnerable women and youth. People who have been forced to leave their homes, particularly young refugees, were taken up as a new group of interest.
Improving youth employment has become a primary goal in almost all FCA programme countries. Supporting employment complements our efforts in professional education and helps ensure that young people who have graduated from school either find work or are able to support themselves through entrepreneurship. In Uganda and Jordan, FCA worked with refugee youth. In Nepal, focus was on young people in danger of becoming marginalised because of their caste or ethnicity, and in conflict areas we focused on former child soldiers and children orphaned by war.
FCA improves the chances of young people and women to become successful entrepreneurs, and as their enterprises grow, to develop their businesses. In our Asian programme countries, cooperatives offer their members savings, financing and training services, and help women bring their products into the markets. Developing cooperatives doesn’t happen overnight, but when they are successful they strengthen an entire community. Education and advocacy on equality, land rights and ownership is also an important part of our work.
We built networks with the private sector in both Finland and our programme countries. The Women’s Bank’s Skills Donation programme was a success. Five professional entrepreneurs donated their skills to entrepreneurship projects in Nepal, Cambodia and Liberia. In Uganda and Jordan, Finnish and local businesses participated in developing education that will lead to employment.
More strongly than ever we are aiming to assist communities and families to maintain their livelihoods even in case of natural disasters or conflicts. Disaster preparedness reduces the need for emergency relief and the risk of becoming dependent on foreign assistance. We can already see these developments in our work.
Right to Education
School brings stability in life and provides hope for the future for children, youth and their parents.
In 2016, Finn Church Aid involvement in the education sector grew remarkably. We had 45 projects on quality education, which is almost twice as many as in 2015.
FCA aims to provide everyone with an equal access to quality education even under disaster and conflict conditions. One of the best ways to improve the quality of education is to train teachers. In 2016, FCA trained 4,693 teachers in its programme countries.
It’s important to motivate local communities and parents to support the education of children. The events FCA organised in 2016 covered topics such as the importance of education and particularly the importance of girls’ education.
FCA repaired classrooms in Central African Republic and South Sudan, both affected by ongoing conflicts, in Nepal recovering from a massive earthquake, and in Greece which had received large numbers of refugees. Thanks to FCA’s efforts, Cambodia is testing a student career counselling programme, which aims to direct young people towards higher education and better employment.
We are trying to link learning more closely to earning and employment. FCA supported professional education in six countries for over 3,800 people. Most young people in professional education are girls. In Uganda, professional education and entrepreneurship training was organised for young people at refugee camps. With the training they received young refugees can begin to earn their own livelihood.
First to deliver assistance to Haiti after the hurricane Matthew
Careful planning leads to smooth execution. Before the hurricane hit, we gave our partners a warning and mapped out routes for relief deliveries.
Because of these preparations, Finn Church Aid was able to quickly deliver emergency relief when hurricane Matthew’s destructive force hit south western parts of Haiti in October 2016. The hurricane destroyed crops resulting in a large scale food crisis within the poor country. FCA delivered emergency food assistance to 12,500 people, some of whom live in hard-to-reach areas.
“A week before the hurricane hit, when it arrived in the Caribbean, we made sure that all plans made by the ACT Alliance, the alliance of church affiliated humanitarian organisations, were still in effect. When it became clear that the storm was going to hit Haiti, I took a car and went around the regions that would be affected by it. I met with our local contacts who would help us get the relief deliveries to their destinations”, says Uluç Baslanti, FCA Country Manager for Haiti.
Resources allocated from the disaster fund and excellent local contacts made it possible to get everything moving quickly.
“People in need of assistance had already been identified when we arrived to the area so we were able to immediately begin distributing emergency relief. We had also been in contact with the UN World Food Programme well in advance to request their assistance in the delivery. With-out their help, deliveries would have been impossible. We were ready before any other organisation, so we had the soul use of WFP’s helicopter for over a week”, Baslanti explains.
“We received a lot of positive feedback. One elderly lady came to thank us for a well organised delivery and said it made the people feel valuable in this difficult time and that had not been the case before. It felt very motivating.”
FCA’s staff members worked in shifts to avoid exhaustion.
“Difficult conditions are a part of this work. But we are all happy to see we were the first ones on site to deliver assistance. We had to clear many fallen trees from the road to make our way forward.”
Humanitarian assistance in Uganda
South Sudanese refugees waiting to be relocated into refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. Photo: Cornelia Kästner /LML.
Finn Church Aid was among the first organisations to assist South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, after violence in South Sudan escalated into the worst refugee crisis in Africa.
FCA’s humanitarian workers supported refugees at reception centres, offered them warm food and helped them settle into refugee settlements in Northern Uganda.
As a result of this work, FCA was given a major responsibility in promoting education and livelihood as partner organisation to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR for 2017 and 2018. FCA’s education work for the refugees is also supported by UNICEF, ECHO and the AVSI Foundation.
Supporting refugee children in Greece
Fatima and 11-year-old Maryam became friends when they met at school activities supported by FCA in Greece. Photo: Ville Nykänen
8-year-old Fatima goes to school at the Finn Church Aid supported Dimitrion education centre in Greece.
Refugee children and youth who have arrived in Greece have been out of school, on average, for two years. At education centres they receive education that will prepare them for regular school, they have access to past-time activities, they are offered remedial lessons, they receive help with homework and language teaching in their native language.
Humanitarian assistance in 2016
Central African Republic: Education Support
1 704 000 €
Jordan: Education and Psychosocial Support for Syrian Refugees
1 594 000 €
Syria: Emergency relief and education support
396 000 €
Liberia: Ebola and food security
116 000 €
Myanmar: Livelihood and Education Support
466 000 €
Nepal: Education support in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake
1 179 000 €
Somalia: Facilitation of Voluntary Return
1 004 000 €
South Sudan: Humanitarian Assistance
806 000 €
Haiti: Emergency relief in the aftermath of hurricane Matthew
242 000 €
Uganda Education support for refugee children and youth
616 000 €
Drought relief in East Africa
150 000 €
Greece: Education support for refugee children and youth
531 000 €
European Refugee Crisis
110 000 €
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Emergency relief
108 000 €
General Support for the ACT Alliance Catastrophe Trust