The Embassy of Finland has granted 400 000 euros (N$7,6 million) to four Windhoek-based civil society organisations through the Embassy’s Fund for Local Cooperation.

The four beneficiaries, namely Namibia Media Trust, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Dololo Innovation Hub and Hanns Seidel Namibia, are run and managed by Namibians from the white segment of the community.

In response to the question why only white-owned civil society organisations were given the funding, Ms Hannele Hupanen, the Finnish Embassy’s programme coordinator said:

“The Finnish Local Cooperation (FLC) grants are selected solely according to the eligibility criteria and the FLC priorities mentioned in each call for proposals.

“We received 221 applications, of which 190 did not meet the minimum eligibility criteria. The remaining proposals were evaluated strictly based on the criteria outlined in the 2019 call for proposals.

“With a total of EUR38.1m applied for and a budget of EUR400 000, only the very best proposals could be selected.

“Additionally, all FLC recipients must be committed to implementing their projects with a human rights-based approach, meaning that there is zero-tolerance for all kinds of discrimination and racism.”

Meanwhile the funding has simply reflected the pattern of donor funding over the years, whereby only a select few organisations which are run by whites have been receiving the bulk of the funding from donor partners.

The Embassy of Finland uses the FLC funding instrument to support local civil society projects and to promote values in accordance with Finnish development policy as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030.

The four projects were selected based on their contribution to FLC’s priority areas. Outlined in the call for proposals, a successful project was expected to contribute to one or more of the following thematic areas: creating a fair, equal and inclusive society, promoting innovation, advancing youth employment and livelihood opportunities or strengthening climate resilience and sustainability.

“The FLC is a great way for our Embassy to strengthen ties with Namibian civil society. These four projects exemplify the priorities of Finnish development policy while advancing a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable Namibia,” stated Ambassador of Finland, Ms Pirkko-Liisa Kyöstilä.

“Our Embassy has partnered with many passionate and competent actors through FLC over the years and we value them greatly.”

Each project was awarded a grant of 100 000 euros (N$1,9 million) over the period of 2020-2021.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) received funding to continue their work in monitoring the legislative agenda of parliament and building connections between civil society and policymakers.

Namibia Media Trust (publisher of The Namibian Newspaper) is a forerunner in building capacity on issues of access to information in Namibia. NMT received the FLC grant for its work in empowering youth and supporting them to transform the right of access to information into real action, knowledge and power.

The Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia received the grant for their aquaponics system pilot project. The project contributes to a climate resilient and sustainable Namibia by establishing aquaponics systems in selected communities as well as training community members on this climate-smart agricultural production method and implementing an information campaign on aquaponics.

Dololo Innovation Hub provides supporting networks to young entrepreneurs. Their Extra Tekno-project received the grant to establish a space to teach coding and software development. They also plan to start an international exchange program to transfer skills and knowledge in the technology sector.

The project contributes to a dynamic and thriving Namibia by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship as well as building private-sector ties and partnerships between Namibia and Finland.