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Finnchurchaid is the development aid agency for the global diaconal work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Its aim is to promote international responsibility within the Church and society and it stresses the fact that the global diaconate arises from the core of the Christian faith.

International programmes

Finnchurchaid participates in programmes implemented by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), local churches and communities as part of the global network of churches and church-related agencies. The funding is channelled mainly through the LWF and the World Council of Churches (WCC). A fifth of the assistance provided by the Finnchurchaid consists of bilateral co-operation in partnership with local churches.

Finnchurchaid gives assistance irrespective of the recipient's political opinion, religion, ethnic background or nationality.

In the programmes, the following principles are applied:

  • local responsibility
  • assistance to relieve the most acute need
  • assistance to the poorest
  • concern for women's rights
  • concern for the protection of the environment
  • promotion of justice, peace and human rights
  • equal partnership, mutual confidence between partners
  • shift from acute emergency relief to preventive action and reconstruction.


In development work Finnchurchaid puts the emphasis on long-term projects.

Development work done by local communities is sustained by paying special attention to unprivileged groups like the rural and urban poor, women and landless people.

Most of the programmes are integrated community development projects that improve leadership and management skills in the community. Finnchurchaid is mainly involved in promoting subsistence farming, providing water resourses, improving both institutional and non-formal education as well as community health. Another important goal is developing employment through skills training with revolving loan funds to encourage the generation of income.

These programmes aim at providing sustainable development. For this, Finnchurchaid has positive experience in using the participatory approach, where individual projects serve as learning tools for the whole community. By analysing the problems, and planning and implementing the projects, people can discover and improve their own resources. External assistance is provided mainly in the form of consultancy, technical expertise and material support. Financial responsibility is shared with the communities.

Humanitarian Aid

Finnchurchaid takes part in humanitarian aid programmes for the victims of natural and man-made disasters. Emergency programmes include direct food and water aid, projects for mini self-help and reconstruction.

Humanitarian needs alone determine the aid and it is carried out on a non-discriminatory basis according to international norms. Humanitarian aid is based on the local people being able to share responsibility in implementing the programmes.

Finnchurchaid is part of the Action by Churches Together (ACT) international humanitarian network. This is made up of relief agencies related to the LWFederation and the World Council of Churches. The network co-operates with other international humanitarian organizations, local churches and communities.

In 1996, Finnchurchaid assisted victims of the wars in the Balkans, Angola, Rwanda, Liberia and Chechnya, as well as those suffering as a result of floods in Southern Africa and East Asia.

Activity in Russia

In Russia Finnchurchaid supports projects and programmes both bilaterally and through the LWF and WCC. The main bilateral partners are the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia and the Christian Interchurch Diaconic Counsil in St. Petersburg, which receive funding for diaconic and educational projects. Through the LWF Finnchurchaid supports work with refugees. Through the WCC Finnchurchaid has contributed to the Round Table Education for Change of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).

Finnchurchaid has also supported a scholarship exchange programme between the ROC and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and some smaller project in the Theological Academy of the ROC in St. Petersburg.

In 1997 humanitarian aid is being provided with funds from the Finnish government to needy people in Russian Karelia through Lutheran and Orthodox parishes in cooperation with the local authorities.

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