Funding allocated to Finnish civil society organisations for reducing poverty and inequality

Programme-based support for Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) is allocated for the implementation of Finland’s development policy objectives to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and promote human rights. The work is carried out in close cooperation with developing countries’ own CSOs. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted approximately EUR 276 million for Finnish CSO’s multiannual development cooperation in 2022–2025.

The granted support is part of the budget for development cooperation undertaken by civil society organizations.  The annual amount of programme-based support is approximately EUR 69 million.

“The civic space is shrinking globally. This trend threatens the realisation of human rights and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Programme support allows Finnish CSOs and their partners to engage in strengthening civil society in developing countries,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

The work of Finnish civil society organisations contributes significantly to the achievement of Finland’s development policy objectives and supports the implementation of the Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy. This work has specific impact on for example advancing the status and rights of women and girls, including preventing female genital mutilation, child marriages, gender-based violence, and advancing the employment of women with disabilities.

In addition, quality education, school attendance of children with disabilities, native language education and the development of vocational training are emphasised in the programmes. CSOs’ programmes also support equal participation in society, increase people’s awareness of their rights and strengthen the capacity of local communities. The programmes place greater emphasis than before on climate change mitigation and adaptation and in addition support the conservation of biodiversity. Funding is allocated also for improving the position of human rights defenders and environmental defenders.

The majority of the work funded through programme-based support is implemented in the least developed countries. Geographically, the programmes focus on Africa, especially East Africa. In addition, programme-based work is carried out in Asian, Latin American, Central Asian and Eastern European countries.

Programme-based support enhances the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the central principle of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

“We need reliable and competent partners to bear global responsibility. CSOs’ long-term commitment  to advance the rights of the persons in the most vulnerable position is of particular importance. CSO’s work is the means to contribute to, for example, quality education for children, maternal health, disaster preparedness, adequate livelihoods and support for entrepreneurship. The importance of CSOs’ work has been further emphasised during the COVID-19 pandemic and due to other global challenges,” says Skinnari.

Programme-based support is granted to the following 23 Finnish CSOs for their development cooperation:

Abilis Foundation, CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, Fida International, Finnish Development NGOs – Fingo, Deaconess Foundation, International Solidarity Foundation, KIOS Foundation, Finn Church Aid, WWF Finland, YMCA Finland, Save the Children Finland, Plan International Finland, Fairtrade Finland, Siemenpuu Foundation, Trade Union Solidarity Centre Finland SASK, Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM), Finnish Refugee Council, Finnish Red Cross, World Vision Finland, Operation a Day’s Work Finland (ODW Finland), Disability Partnership Finland, Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) and Family Federation of Finland.

The Call for Proposals for programme-based support was carried out in two stages. Programme-based support is discretionary government funding laid down in the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers and allocated to Finnish CSOs’ multiannual comprehensive programmes, which have clearly defined performance targets and a long-term development impact. During this programme period, a part of total government grant  can be allocated more flexibly than before, for example, to specific measures related to the operating environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the development of cooperation with private sector or other multi-actor cooperation models, or to cover the CSOs’ self-funding share required by international or private funding.

Call for proposals of the programme-based support 2021, grants for years 2022-2025 (PDF)


  • Mikko Autti, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 295 350 034.
  • Riina-Riikka Heikka, Director of the Unit for Civil Society, Department for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350 204
  • The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format