Public administration, higher education institutions, research and the media

Local governments, various central government agencies, and higher education institutions are engaged in a number of joint projects with institutions in developing countries and have different kinds of exchange programmes. The media and researchers strengthen Finns' knowledge of developing countries and promote public debate on development matters.

A man and two women are watching a computer screen in Nepal.
Kalpana Gyawali (in the middle) instructs teacher educators to use distance teaching methods in a joint project between the University of Tribhuvan and the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. Photo: Marja-Leena Kultanen / Kehityslehti

Development cooperation conducted by central government bodies strengthens public sector expertise within developing countries

Finnish ministries and government bodies and agencies cooperate with their public sector counterparts in developing countries. The objective is to strengthen public officials’ skills and knowledge and support the functioning of organisations in developing countries. 

The Foreign Ministry funds cooperation carried out by central government bodies through the so-called Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI). ICI funding may be used for projects supporting various kinds of skills and expertise. 

The ICI instrument also opens up opportunities for young Finnish professionals to participate in development cooperation activities. The instrument is a good example of how development cooperation strengthens stakeholders’ competencies in both partner countries and Finland. 

The Finnish Meteorological Institute is one of the organisations implementing ICI projects.  Read about the experiences of experts representing the Finnish Meteorological Institute from the Institute’s blog Meteorologiaa maailmalla (in Finnish)(Link to another website.).  

Detailed information about the application of funding for ICI projects

Cooperation between Finnish higher education institutions and those in developing countries supports learning from each other

Finland supports cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs) in Finland and the partner countries to improve skills and knowledge in Finland and the partner countries.  The cooperation is based on needs identified by the HEI in the partner country and on the principles of reciprocal learning and equal partnership. The partner HEIs commit themselves to implementing the projects and invest their own resources in them.

The programme supporting collaborative projects between higher education institutions is called HEI ICI. It is an acronym formed from the initials of the name of the programme, Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument. The objective is to strengthen the provision of higher education in developing countries.

The projects aim to develop the HEIs’ expertise in their educational fields, methodologies, pedagogy and administration.  At least two higher education institutions must take part in a project, one of them located in Finland, one in a developing country.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs allocates funding to the projects from its development cooperation appropriations. The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for the administration of the programme.

The Foreign Ministry has granted EUR 12 million for HEI ICI projects to be used during the current programming period from 2017 to 2020. The funding covers 20 projects in 16 countries.  

University of Tampere strengthens management and administrative skills in HEIs in East Africa

Since 2011, the University of Tampere’s Faculty of Management has coordinated and implemented a project aiming to develop more modern management of higher education institutions(Link to another website.). The Academic Research and Education Unit of the University is responsible for the project.

The project was piloted in Uganda. The ongoing project focuses on Ethiopia, where the number of higher education institutions has markedly increased in the past few years.  

An example of the results of the activities is a continuing education programme in the University of Makerere in Uganda. In addition, doctoral and master’s degree programmes have been developed by building institutional capacity in leadership and management of universities in Uganda and South Africa. The cooperation project has also contributed to the development of quality assurance in the management in HEIs, and led to the establishment of an African Network of Centres for Higher Education Research and Development (Ancherd). 

The funding for 2017–2020 is EUR 699,000. For the previous programme period, 2013–2015, the funding was EUR 483,000.

More detailed information about the HEI ICI can be found on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education(Link to another website.).

Finnish local government supports the development of local administration in developing countries

Finnish municipalities and joint municipal boards are also involved in Finland’s development cooperation activities. Their joint projects support municipal democracy development and local governments’ expertise in developing countries. 

The projects promote citizen participation and increase developing countries’ capacity to provide services effectively, economically and in a manner that takes account of the different population groups’ needs and possibilities for participation. Other stakeholders, such as education institutions or companies, may also participate in these projects.

Municipalities can apply for funding in connection with the application round for civil society organisations (CSOs)

Research communities boost knowledge about development

In order to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals, new information and fresh perspectives are needed. Both decision-makers and citizens need information. Development policy research is a means for researchers to influence future trends in development policy and development cooperation. 

The Foreign Ministry funds research focusing on development and developing countries, which helps to understand poverty and development as well as their cause-and-effect relationships. At the same time, researchers are supported to maintain and develop contacts and networks in Finland, in developing countries and in international research institutions. 

The Foreign Ministry and the Academy of Finland jointly fund the Academy’s development research. The research projects are usually multi-annual. The application instructions are available on the development research pages of the Academy of Finland’s website(Link to another website.).

The Foreign Ministry also provides funding for international research institutions and their projects. They include the Nordic Africa Institute(Link to another website.) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)(Link to another website.).

In addition, the Foreign Ministry supports research institutes and programmes of various multilateral organisations, such as the World Bank’s Knowledge for Change Programme (KCP)(Link to another website.) and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)(Link to another website.). Development research is also supported as part of the country strategies and regional programmes of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Journalists and photographers provide information about development questions 

Journalists and photographers play an important role in enhancing people’s knowledge of and understanding about developing countries and development questions. The Unit for Communications on Sustainable Development and Trade at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs helps Finnish media professionals to get familiar with the implementation of development policy and development cooperation in practice by organising an introductory programme on development questions for journalists (Development Academy)

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