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Development cooperation produces results

Finland has the capacity and possibity to help. In its development policy and development cooperation, Finland emphasises areas that are essential for poverty reduction and sustainable development and in which it has special expertise.

Finland pursues development policy and cooperation that yield sustainable results with positive long-term impacts on society. Development is the sum of many factors. Development cooperation is just one instrument to effect change.

Clean water and proper toilets for millions of people

Finland has been engaged in development cooperation in the water and sanitation sector since the 1980s in, for example, Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya and Ethiopia. Thanks to projects supported in 2011–2015 by Finland, 2.4 million people have been provided with access to clean water and 2.7 million people have got proper toilets.

Finland has a long record of development cooperation in the water sector in Nepal. Picture Milma Kettunen
Finland has a long record of development cooperation in the water sector in Nepal. Picture Milma Kettunen

Cooperation in the water sector strengthens good management of water resources, local authorities' service provision, and local communities' participation.

In Ethiopia, a model developed by Finland ensures sustainable water programmes. Ethiopia provides half of the financing while the local communities save the required nest egg. A well and a toilet in a village cost about 10 euros for each villager. The rest of the funding comes from Finland's water programmes.

The villagers build and maintain the wells themselves. The model has proved to be so successful that other donors and the Government of Ethiopia have copied it for their own activities.

In Nepal, proper toilets have become increasingly common, which means that sanitation has improved effectively. Nearly 70% of the Nepalese had access to sanitation facilities in 2014 compared to 27% in 2001.

When communities become aware of the advantages that toilets bring, they start to build them in homes and schools using their own funding – without Finnish or Nepalese tax resources. Improved hygiene has decreased child mortality: the mortality rate among children aged below 5 years has dropped to a third from 1990.

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Nepal.

Girls and boys to school

Education makes people better equipped to become aware of their rights, to manage their own lives, to gain employment and to improve their wellbeing and livelihoods. Finland has supported children's and youth's right to education through development cooperation in, for example, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

The evolution of primary education in Ethiopia is a success story. While in the mid-1990s less than one child in four were enrolled in primary education, today more than 95 per cent of Ethiopian children start school at the age of seven. This was the result of making primary education free, building more schools and providing more teacher training.

Together with several other donors, Finland funded in 2009–2013 a programme aimed at enhancing the quality of education in Ethiopia. Finland's support to this project amounted to EUR 19.9 million.

The results are quite promising:

  • A new curriculum and over 78 million new textbooks available in schools;
  • Nearly 92,000 teachers with new qualifications;
  • Over 31,000 schools have benefited from school grants;
  • The share of girls completing primary school has grown significantly.

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, Finland has supported a programme that improves the quality of education. Picture Kirsi Pere
In Ethiopia, Finland has supported a programme that improves the quality of education. Picture Kirsi Pere

In the past ten years, Mozambique has made a huge leap forward in the level of education.

  • Currently 90 per cent of children start basic education. School attendance has doubled compared to 2004.
  • Girls' education has increased the most.
  • The school network has expanded rapidly and that has benefited especially girls.
  • More teachers have been hired, and the regional inequality of education has declined.
  • The number of qualified teachers is clearly higher than before.

Finland addresses the quality of education and education in the mother tongue, too, which improve educational attainment.

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Mozambique.

Development cooperation creates markets, work and networks

Finland has strengthened the preconditions for economic activities and foreign trade in many developing countries, for example, by developing business environments, production and economic infrastructure, including the availability of energy and the information society.

Ethiopian shopkeeper Siraje Nisron. Picture Milma Kettunen
Ethiopian shopkeeper Siraje Nisron. Picture Milma Kettunen

In 2014, Finland's support helped in:

  • creating about 36,500 new direct jobs, of which 43 per cent for women
  • creating more than 25,000 indirect jobs
  • providing vocational training for over 16,000 young persons
  • giving access to clean energy services to over 50,000 households in southern and eastern Africa.

The development of business and investment environments benefits Finnish companies, too.

Read more about Aid for Trade and instruments of private sector support. (in Finnish)

Healthier mothers

Finland has supported Afghan mothers' health through the Marie Stopes International (MSI) since 2003.

Finland has supported Afghan mothers' health. Picture Laura Rantanen
Finland has supported Afghan mothers' health. Picture Laura Rantanen

In 2014:

  • 170,000 women and 122,000 men used the organisation's family planning services
  • 96,000 unplanned pregnancies and 41,000 dangerous abortions were avoided

  • maternal mortality started to decline after trained birth attendants were hired to delivery wards.

Over the past 14 years, equality and opportunities for education have clearly improved in Afghanistan.  Only about a million Afghan children went to school in 2001 compared to 8.3 million in 2014, of whom about 40 per cent were girls.

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Afghanistan.

More equal distribution of income

In Zambia, Finland supports a programme which offers basic security to the poorest and reduces sharp internal inequalities. Income transfers are provided to about 190,000 families.

Thanks to basic security:

  • the poorest Zambians' quality of life has improved
  • families have money for food and healthcare, children's clothes and renovation of housing
  • children are ill less often than before and more often fit to attend school
  • agricultural productivity has risen and farmers buy more cattle
  • local economies have picked up
  • unemployment has decreased.
A Zambian farmer presents a chili pepper cultivated by himself. Picture Hanna Öunap
A Zambian farmer presents a chili pepper cultivated by himself. Picture Hanna Öunap

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Zambia.

Sustainable use of forests

In Vietnam, healthy natural forests are rare. Some of the forests were destroyed during the Vietnam war. Illegal logging, forest fires and clearing of forests for agriculture have also caused forest loss.

Finland's support has contributed

  • to the development of a forest information system and related applications. These are used to produce systematic and verifiable information in support of a sustainable use and protection of forests, needed in decision-making by the forest authorities.
  • to survey endangered species and identify protection needs in protected forest areas in central Vietnam.
A forest information system has been developed in Vietnam by means of Finland's support. Picture Juho Paavola
A forest information system has been developed in Vietnam by means of Finland's support. Picture Juho Paavola

Read more about Finland's development cooperation with Vietnam.

Exerting influence via international organisations

In international development policy, Finland is a bigger actor than its size suggests. Finland supports development via UN agencies and international development finance institutions also in countries where it does not have a mission.

Finland contributes to the position of the world's children for example through Unicef. Picture Hanna Öunap
Finland contributes to the position of the world's children for example through Unicef. Picture Hanna Öunap

When Finland chaired the Executive Board of UNICEF in 2013, it was able to promote issues which it holds important: human rights, child protection, gender equality and effective working methods.

During Finnish chairmanship, the goals for UNICEF humanitarian aid were defined and indicators for measuring goal achievement were set.

In practical work, Finland has underlined the importance of devoting attention to children with special needs and child-friendly learning environments.

Finland works with UNICEF in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal, Zambia, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

Read more about Finland's work in international organisations and development finance institutions.

Mine clearance saves lives and promotes economic development

Finland has supported humanitarian mine clearance and education in Somaliland through the HALO Trust organisation since 2003. In 2015, Finland supported the activities by EUR 2,625,000.

Deminers at work in Somaliland.  Picture HALO Trust
Deminers at work in Somaliland. Picture HALO Trust

Demining saves lives, improves the quality of life, promotes economic development, and supports peacebuilding.

To date, the results of Finland's support include

  • over 1,400 hectares of demined land
  • 350 cleared minefields, which means that more than 4,300 mines and more than 247,000 projectiles have been destroyed.

The HALO Trust estimates that the mine clearance in Somaliland will be completed by 2017.

Read more about Finland's humanitarian activities.

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