Evaluation report: Catalysing Change – Finland’s Humanitarian Assistance 2016–2022

An independent evaluation concluded that Finland’s humanitarian assistance is relevant to beneficiaries and adapts to their changing needs. Significant results have been delivered on gender equality and disability. Then again, human resource constraints pose limitations and aid management system does not support Finland’s ‘adaptive capacity’.

The evaluation assessed the relevance and effectiveness of Finland’s humanitarian assistance, including the functioning of different partnerships from the influencing point of view.  It also studied interconnections with development and peace interventions (triple nexus). An important point of reference was Finland’s Humanitarian Policy (2019). Management arrangements for humanitarian assistance in light of their effectiveness were also included to identify room for future improvements. Evaluation team made eight recommendations based on its findings and conclusions.

According to the evaluationt Finland’s humanitarian assistance takes a strongly needs-based approach, which is operationalized in its management systems and operational practice. Stakeholders value Finland’s efforts to promote gender equity and rights of persons with disabilities, visible already in the strategies of the main partners.

However, the annual increases of Finland’s humanitarian aid have not kept pace with global humanitarian requirements, raising risks for relevance going forward, and highlighting the issue of focus for Finland’s future humanitarian assistance.

The evaluation drew evidence from across the corporate systems of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), as well as the experience of humanitarian assistance delivered in South Sudan, Bangladesh and to the Syrian regional crisis. The case studies yielded a snapshot of the results, most tangible of which have been delivered on the provision of basic commodities, services and facilities to civilian groups, and on ensuring the protection of people affected or threatened by a humanitarian crisis.

Evaluation also points out areas for improvement. While the Humanitarian Policy contains strategies for intended results measurement, these in reality do not deliver robust results reporting. MFA trusts its partners to provide evidence of results, but the shortcomings of this expectation have been widely documented. Consequently, Finland’s achievements (and under-achievements) of its humanitarian assistance are not fully reflected in available data.

Finland has played a leading role in some key global humanitarian forums. At country level, Finland is a relatively low-profile actor, even where it has a strong country presence.

Evaluation report

Catalysing Change: Evaluation of Finland’s Humanitarian Assistance 2016–2022, Volume 1, Main report (PDF, 150 pages, 7.7 MB)

Catalysing Change: Evaluation of Finland’s Humanitarian Assistance 2016–2022, Volume 2, Case studies (PDF, 99 pages, 5.5 MB)


Catalysing Change: Evaluation of Finland’s Humanitarian Assistance 2016–2022; Selected Highlights (PDF, 4 pages, 385 KB)

Ministry's response to the evaluation

Management response (in Finnish, PDF, 2 pages, 1.8 MB)

Webinar recording and presentation of evaluation results

PowerPoint presentation of evaluation results - Webinar 15 September 2022 (PDF, 15 pages, 1.9 MB)

Please contact eva-11@formin.fi if you would like to have the webinar recording.