Schooling for Refugees and a Surplus Food Supermarket in Finland
For Finn Church Aid, 2018 was a year of great action and new innovations. We continued our work as the largest Finnish development organisation and provider of humanitarian aid, while reforming our work and introducing new tools.
In September, we opened a surplus food supermarket, WeFood, in Helsinki, which received substantial media attention. As of the fall of 2018, the store managed to reduce food waste in Finland by more than 10 000 kilograms.
The principles of sustainable development guide FCA’s operations and we support work toward the achievement of the Agenda 2030 goals in our programme countries. The involvement of the private sector is in line with the principles of sustainable development. Working with the private sector for job creation and livelihoods is a growing priority in Finn Church Aid’s work.
Strengthening the entrepreneurial skills of young people and refugees is one example of FCA’s focus on job creation. Another, is the continuing work of the Women’s Bank, which supports women’s micro-entrepreneurship, and has been expanded to include small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans and technical support.
Negotiations between FCA Investments Ltd (FCAI), established by FCA in 2017, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) concluded, and the parties signed an agreement with the State Treasury for a loan of EUR 16 million.
At the same time, FCA and the Women’s Bank prepared for new social enterprise activities in Uganda. In 2019, a laying house with 15 000 chickens will be built near Kampala directly employing 30 people and indirectly creating income for several hundred people (mostly women) in the production of fodder and the sale of eggs.
In 2018, we also began exporting Finnish entrepreneurship qualifications. We invested efforts in the training of refugees and youth exposed to the risk of social exclusion and exported the first Finnish vocational degrees in business management, placing them within the reach of refugee youth in Uganda.
The role of vocational education and training – particularly in entrepreneurship – has proven successful. FCA promotes the concept of “From Learning to Earning” – for all of our livelihood work, and we focus especially on women and young people.
In accordance with our strategy, we continued to focus our activities on the world’s most fragile and challenging operating environments.
Globally and locally, we entered into new partnerships with UN organisations, multilateral development banks, civil society organisations (CSOs), and governments. We launched activities with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and UN Women. In addition to Finnish development cooperation support, the development cooperation authorities of several other countries funded our operations. Among the new donors in 2018 were the states of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
We also invested efforts in developing the involvement of people with disabilities especially in the field of humanitarian assistance. We adopted guidelines aiming for child protection and received the prestigious Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance (CHS) certification to describe the quality of our work.
Our operations continued to grow. At the end of 2018, Finn Church Aid employed almost 500 people in 15 different countries located mainly in war zones and fragile areas. Additionally, approximately 1 500 teachers were employed in Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda aid programmes.
From time to time, difficult security situations and unexpected disasters (mainly conflicts) slowed down the implementation of the long-term programming in fragile countries, including the Central African Republic and Syria. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of people in different parts of e world received vital support through FCA and our partners.
Once again, we also received a tremendous amount of private contributions, for which we are grateful. So a big thank you.
Executive Director, Finn Church Aid
In 2018 FCA adopted a special guideline to protect children.
In all its operations, Finn Church Aid has begun to pay special attention to the assessment and prevention of risks to children. In a crisis situation, children may become separated from their families or they may have otherwise traumatising experiences, such as sexual harassment or exploitation. Children may be used as objects of trade or as sources of child labour. In armed conflicts, children are recruited to become child soldiers or to perform auxiliary military tasks.
In 2018, we adopted a special guideline to take account of the need to protect children. The guideline is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and humanitarian principles, such as “Do no harm”, meaning that at least our operations will not cause any harm.
Each FCA employee signs a commitment to observe the Code of Conduct of Finn Church Aid upon hire. When recruiting personnel, FCA conduces reference checks along with an extract of the criminal record if the job involves direct contact with children.
We provide our employees with training as well. As we engage in programme work and plan our projects, we pay special attention to the assessment and prevention of risks to children. We constantly monitor and evaluate the projects and change our operating models if necessary.
This applies also to communications. The decision to publish an image is made with the best interest of the child first and foremost in mind, by hearing the child and obtaining a written consent from the child’s guardian. Finn Church Aid partners and subcontractors commit to these rules as well.
Each employee also has the duty to report any inappropriate conduct or activity, following a set procedure in a system created for this purpose.
Finn Church Aid is a global organisation and its operations reach around the world. As our operations expand and the number of our personnel increases, air travel also increases. We invest efforts in a variety of electronic conference and training options, but telecommunications connections in fragile operational environments pose challenges of their own. Travel by air is inevitable in carrying out our work.
Since 2014, the carbon dioxide emissions from the flights taken by FCA personnel have been compensated by FCA through Klima-Kollekte – Kirchlicher-Kompensationsfonds gGmbH, a joint CO2 compensation fund of church organisations, based in Germany. All projects funded by Klima-Kollekte have Gold Standard certification, established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other non-governmental organisations. The GoldStandard takes the local social impact of projects into account and sets particularly rigorous requirements for the verification of emissions reductions.
FCA operates ethically and ecologically. FCA is the first organisation in Finland to be granted the international Core Humanitarian Standard, which evaluates quality and responsible practices. Our operations are audited by independent auditors annually.
Funding remained stable
The interest of international funding bodies in FCA’s operations continued to grow.
The development of Finn Church Aid’s funding base continued to see growth in 2018, even though operations were slightly reduced compared to the previous year. The number of private donations continued to show strong growth. International funding bodies continued to show interest in the operations of FCA.
FCA’s operations and funding structure have changed significantly over the past ten years. Most of of FCA’s income is acquired from international donors.
Examples of international funding bodies include the EU, UN organisations, other international organisations, the development authorities of other countries, and multilateral development banks. The growth of international funding leads to a growing need for internal funding.
We should continue to pay attention to ensuring the availability of unrestricted internal funding in order to cover the mandatory FCA contribution to international funding. Additionally, we must be able to continue to channel our resources to the development of new programme work.
Collaboration with several significant international funding bodies has allowed FCA to expand its operations and enabled growth in many country programmes. The governments of fragile states have also begun to recognise the value of Finn Church Aid’s operations. This has enabled collaboration with new kinds of funding partners, such as development banks.
Contributions by private donors continued to grow even though in addition to the natural disasters in Indonesia and the Philippines there were no sudden large-scale disasters.
The deficit for the 2018 financial year was EUR 0.5 million. Income for the financial year came to near EUR 40.0 million, corresponding to a decrease of 9.7% over the previous year. Funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and from Finnish and international institutional funding bodies totalled EUR 19.3 million, of which the Ministry for Foreign Affairs allocated EUR 6.3 million to development cooperation work and EUR 2.9 million to humanitarian aid work.
Budgetary allocations from the parishes totalled EUR 4.1 million. The Common Responsibility Campaign resulted in the income of EUR 1.4 million while the subsidy from the Church Council was EUR 1.0 million. Income from the private sector, including private donations from the parish accounts totalled EUR 13.8 million.
Expenses for the financial year totalled EUR 40.5 million, corresponding to a decrease of 8.4% over the previous year. Aid work expenses accounted for EUR 35.1 million, including EUR 2.8 million in programme planning, monitoring and development costs. Aid work support functions, i.e. communications, fundraising, stakeholder contacts and general administration, generated the expenses of EUR 5.4 million.
The proportions of operating costs used for aid work and support functions in relation to all expenses were 86.6% and 13.4% respectively.
Global structural changes taking place in development cooperation will have a significant impact on the operations of FCA in coming years. The organisation is developing new operating models and exploring new financial instruments in order to fulfil its mission, vision and objectives.
For example, the prioritisation of funding from the private sector will grow. At the same time, we will continue to deepen our alliance with international actors, such as UN organisations, development banks, ACT Alliance.
Right to livelihood
Finn Church Aid’s Right to Livelihoods theme aims to reduce poverty by promoting sustainable economic development that involves people who are marginalised in different ways.
In particular, we seek to support the livelihood, entrepreneurship and employment of women, young people, and refugees. We engage in cooperation with the private sector and influence the structures that produce social and economic inequality.
In disaster situations, we support a quick return to normal life when it comes to livelihood opportunities and a speedy recovery of local, small entrepreneurs.
The creation of businesses and jobs is a key indicator of the Right to Livelihoods. In 2018, the projects supported by FCA reported 1 087 new businesses and over 600 new jobs.
In addition to this, 637 existing businesses received support for developing their business operations.
Development work increasingly rests on re-search results. Market and value chain reports are an integral part of planning livelihood projects. Entrepreneurship training and various short-term courses promoting livelihoods were offered to those who established a business, or were planning to do so. FCA also offers business coaching and advisory services at the critical start-up phase.
In the field of vocational education and training, FCA applies an action model, which supports moving directly to working life after graduation. FCA monitors this process for six months after graduation.
The results are encouraging. Of 706 graduates, whose progress was monitored, 71% are earning a living of which 39% are working aspaid employees, 31% are self-employed, and 1% are entrepreneurs. The men in all the age groups and the young women established themselves very well in working life, whereas women over the age of 25 found employment less successfully. Only 45% of them were earning an income during the follow-up period. In other groups the percetage was 70-80%.
In the vocational education and training group, the distribution of men and women was even (50% each), which is in line with FCA’s objectives. Of the men, 50% sought paid work, whereas most of the women be-came self-employed. Research results show that in our areas of activity there is less paid work available to women compared with work available to men. In such a situation, entrepreneurship training targeting women is a particularly effective channel to begin earning.
During the year, 1 087 new business activities were launched, of which 85% by women. Nearly 50% of these (249 businesses) can be counted as auxiliary agricultural activities and a similar proportion (278 businesses) can be counted as a means of self-employment.
Women established a total of 71 micro-enterprises or small businesses, most of these in Nepal. That is where the development of female entrepreneurship is most deeply rooted, thanks to the Women’s Bank. By comparison, male business activities are related to agriculture considerably less often, but like women, men most commonly found self-employment (184 businesses). In addition to this, men established 17 micro-enterprises.
The hybrid model of vocational and entrepreneurship training developed by FCA triggered 20% (227) of the new businesses.
FCA also seeks to influence the operational environment of the businesses in a manner compatible within each context. In Jordan, FCA is an active member of a network that is driving changes to the stringent working life restrictions imposed on Syrian refugees. In December of 2018, the Jordanian Government conceded to open a few small entrepreneurship sectors to Syrians as well.
In Cambodia, FCA is working in line with the Ministry of Agriculture for the development of services offered to agricultural cooperatives and for opening markets for their products.
The Cambodia country programme is an FCA forerunner in the process of mapping and preparing for climate change.
Right to peace
Women, young people, and refugees, as well as religious and traditional actors, are at the core of FCA’s peace work. These stakeholders are often left out of decision-making and peace processes even though they play a central role in conflict resolution and peace building. FCA supports their active role at the local, national, and international level, in order to ensure that the voice of community and grass-root actors is heard in decision-making processes.
In 2018, FCA supported peace at the national and local levels in Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.
This work is in line with the UN’s goals for sustainable development and UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 2250 on youth, women, and peace. Support for the role of young people’s influence is a growing theme in many FCA programme countries. In 2018, FCA supported the cooperation between young people and decision-makers in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal, and Uganda.
FCA supports the peaceful resolution of conflicts. In Kenya and South Sudan, FCA provided support for setting up women’s and young people’s peace committees.
The work of women’s peace committees in South Sudan supported dialogue in eight villages, which led to a decline in violence. In Kenya, more than 1 500 people from formerly belligerent communities gathered for a prayer of peace. Representatives of the local and regional government participated as well.
In Cambodia, FCA provided support to local village committees in resolving issues, such as land disputes. A total of 434 disputes (70%) were peacefully reconciled in a manner that was satisfactory to the parties concerned.
In Nepal, FCA has supported the ending of caste-based discrimination. In 2018, three municipalities committed to strengthen the role of the members of the Dalit community in the local government.
In Somalia, FCA supported the participation of civil society in the political and state-building processes, for instance, by raising awareness about the role of communities through a radio programme, which reached around 715 000 listeners, and by arranging a retreat for Members of Parliament and civil society representatives. Additionally, FCA and the peace network provided support to the Somalian government for the development of a reconciliation framework by arranging 14 consultations in various parts of Somalia.
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers gained a new Executive Director in 2018. Mohamed Elsanousi was appointed successor to Antti Pentikäinen who had held the tenure for four years. Meanwhile in 2018, Tarja Kantola, the Chair of the Finn Church Aid Board of Directors, was appointed co-chair of the Advisory Council to the UN Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development together with Faisal Bin Muaammari, Secretary-General of KAICIID.
Right to quality education
During 2018, Finn Church Aid efforts for the improvement of the quality of education continued to grow. Projects aiming to ensure the right of children and youth to gain high-quality education are being carried out in all FCA pro-gramme countries, as well as Bangladesh.
This work aims to ensure the implementation of the rights of refugee children and youth in particular, as well as those of internally displaced children and youth.
In 2018, we worked in many countries, including Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda, in order to ensure that children and youth living in the midst of crises have access to primary and secondary education.
In 54 schools situated in the Mingkaman, Pibor, and Fangak States of South Sudan, FCA supported the schooling of 32 502 children by distributing teaching and learning materials. At the same time, FCA strengthened the pedagogical and psychosocial skills of teachers and reconstructed classrooms.
According to UN Refugee Agency, 50% of primary school-age refugees and 75% of lower and higher secondary school-age young people worldwide do not attend school. FCA offers vocational education and training and entrepreneurship training so that these chil-dren and young people can build their future and gain employment already as refugees.
The vocational education and training offered by FCA seek to place new graduates directly in working life. In 2018, 4 020 learners received vocational education and training supported by FCA. More than 70% of them found employment within six months of graduation.
Through student counselling, learners are guided in their studies and questions on further education. A total of 2 483 students received student counselling in 2018.
Ensuring quality education depends on the competence of teachers. Teacher training is one of the most important areas of FCA’s educational work and it continued to grow in 2018. During the year, we trained a total of 6 947 teachers. Teacher training is being developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of each partner country.
New initiatives were also made in the field of educational work. Enabled by a joint project of FCA and the education export company Omnia Education Partnerships Ltd, 20 young people in Uganda earned Finnish vocational qualifications in business management. The requirements of this qualification correspond with Finnish secondary education qualifications, making the graduates eligible for further studies within the EU, among other places. This was the first time that Finnish qualifications were exported to a refugee context.
FCA is recognised as a sought-after cooperation partner by both major funding partners and key international educational operators. This is demonstrated by our role in UN cluster activities, as well as by UNICEF’s increased support for our programmes.
FCA reformed its results framework in 2018, so the figures presented here are not directly comparable with data from previous years.
Literacy and Psychosocial Support to Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar
Finn Church Aid has been working in the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh since the beginning of 2018. A joint project of FCA and DanChurchAid provides psychosocial support to those who have experienced gender-based violence, as well as education for women and teenage girls.
According to the UN, close to one million members of the Rohingya population fled from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar, located in the southeastern corner of Bangladesh, in September of 2018. Most of these people are women and children. They left Myanmar, fleeing violence, which the UN human rights observers’ report describes as comprising mass murders and gang rapes.
In the refugee camps FCA supports Education in Emergencies, which focuses on support to teaching reading, writing, and numeracy, life skills, and livelihood. This education was given in facilities intended for women and girls in the refugee camps as well as in homes around Cox’s Bazar.
The project provided women and girls with better chances of seeking services and sources of livelihood for themselves.
Before starting this work, we asked 313 women and girls within the sphere of our work what kind of information and education they especially hoped to get. Of the women and girls who responded to the survey, 68% had never attended school while 22% had only attended primary school. Some had completed secondary school and some had attended madrasa schools.
“The people are very interested in education,” says Petra Weissengruber, Education Programme Manager at Finn Church Aid. “They are interested in sewing, knitting, and crocheting. Many of them already have these skills and they are hoping to share their know-how. The survey results show that the women are prepared, for example, to provide home teaching to their neighbours. In the area of life skills, they are especially interested in hygiene and nutritional issues. Women also hoped to get information on family planning, child marriages, and health in general.”
The results of the survey showed that in refugee camps, we should raise the awareness of women and girls about their right to education so that their participation would become more acceptable to their traditionalist communities.
At the refugee camps, we have created safe spaces intended for young women and girls in particular. In addition to this, we are working with the families of single mothers.
“The facilities intended for women and girls allow you to feel safe. It’s always nice to come here and spend time with others,” says a refugee woman who is serving as a volunteer teacher. In Myanmar, she taught Burmese and sewing.
FCA’s efforts in Bangladesh are being supported by collection funds and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Cash-based support was given to one thousand beneficaries in Old Fangak, South Sudan last year
Cash distributions empower beneficiaries
Cash distributions are among the most important humanitarian assistance tools. Humanitarian organisations use cash distributions extensively as a form of work in a variety of sectors. Cash is a market oriented solution and an alternative to the distribution of goods. It also gives the beneficiaries a chance to decide what their most urgent needs are.
There are an ever-growing number of studies on the cost-efficiency of cash. Its increasing frequency and appreciation are depicted by the fact that the recommendations from the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) advised humanitarian operators to give cash a key role in aid operations.
This worldwide trend is visible also in Finn Church Aid’s operations. Cash is an increasingly common form of aid in both the livelihood and education sectors.
Cash will have a different effect, depending on the sector. In the field of livelihood, it can be used, for example, to buy food and aid supplies or to revive livelihood. For retailers it may give a chance to reopen their shops.
In the education sector, cash distributions can cover, for example, tuition or transportation costs, allowing the beneficiaries to attend school.
FCA distributed food to around 3 000 families in the Philippines last year after Typhoon Mangkhut.
50 000 euros in Emergency Aid to the Philippines
Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines in September 2018, bringing on massive destruction. The storm caused losses to more than half a million people. Even though they had prepared for the storm with major evacuations and by protecting the buildings, the storm caused great destruction especially in the northern parts of the country. The power was out in many areas and the flood water and landslides made it difficult to move from one place to another.
The number of people at the evacuation centres peaked at almost 200 000. At least 66 people lost their lives. FCA granted 50 000 euros from its Disaster Fund to help the people affected by the typhoon. The aid was delivered to the Philippines together with a long-term Finn Church Aid cooperation partner, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).
Victims of the earthquake recieved clean water and food in Indonesia last year. FCA supported 2 443 families with shelter and 2 059 with care from mobile clinics.
50 000 euros to Earthquake Victims in Indonesia
In the autumn of 2018, Finn Church Aid donated EUR 50 000 from its Disaster Fund to help the victims of an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred in the Palu and Donggala city areas on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, also causing a tsunami on the city coasts. More than 2 000 people died. The destruction was estimated to have affected at least 300 000 people.
PROGRAMMES IN 2018
Uganda: Support in education, focus on refugee children and youth
4 752 682 €
Central African Repoblic, CAR: Support in education
2 025 190 €
South Sudan: Support in education and livelihood
1 800 602 €
Somalia: Support in education
913 149 €
Jordan: Support for Syrian refugees in education and psycho-social support
660 645 €
Kenya: Support in education and emergency aid
652 789 €
Syria: Support in education and livelyhood
590 881 €
Myanmar: Support in education
395 374 €
Greece: Support in education, focus on refugee children and youth
310 125 €
Bangladesh: Emergency aid and support in education and protection
303 561 €
Nepal: Support in education
121 962 €
Filippiinit: Hätäapua taifuunin uhreille
49 658 €
Philippines: Emergency aid
31 382 €
Development of disaster preparedness and risk reduction in Uganda, Cambodia and Nepal
162 015 €
Support to rapid response fund (ACT Alliance)
70 000 €
Support to the Global Education Cluster, Rapid Response Team