A smiling African mother with a baby on her back on a sunny meadow.

Development cooperation

650,000 people
received help through the development cooperation of the Finnish Red Cross in 2023.

Long-term development cooperation allows the Finnish Red Cross to build healthy and safe communities and strengthen the activities of the local Red Cross or Red Crescent.

The Finnish Red Cross focuses on helping the most vulnerable people, such as children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, elderly people and people with illnesses or disabilities.

More than 60 per cent of our development cooperation is targeted to Africa and more than 30 per cent to Asia.

In areas suffering from disasters, conflicts or other crises, development cooperation and humanitarian aid are closely linked. 

The development cooperation of the Red Cross promotes the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

The most important help is near

The Finnish Red Cross always plans and implements development cooperation together with the local Red Cross or Red Crescent, whose volunteers know their country and culture the best.

Depending on local needs, the development cooperation can involve a variety of activities. The Red Cross e.g. increases people’s hygiene and health awareness, improves the preparedness of communities and schools, arranges first aid training, helps communities prepare for the impacts of climate change, offers people food and basic supplies through cash distribution, supports access to clean water and builds proper toilets and sewers.

Health for everyone

The Finnish Red Cross is involved in long-term, preventive health work among the most vulnerable people. We place special focus on mother and child health and the improvement of sexual and reproductive health.

The local volunteers trained by the Red Cross play a key role in informing and training the members of their communities about health-related themes.

The volunteers can also monitor the growth and development of children, help prevent malnutrition, diarrhoea and infectious diseases as well as guide people to health care and healthy ways of living.

Preparedness for risks

Disaster preparedness work strengthens the knowledge and skills of people and communities for identifying various risks and preparing for them as well as for alleviating the impacts of crises.

The Finnish Red Cross helps communities prepare for disasters in several African and Asian countries. Preparedness work can include risk mapping, alarm system development, training and communication.

The improvement of local preparedness is important, since the most valuable help is nearby. When disaster strikes, the first people on the scene are neighbours and regional helpers, such as Red Cross volunteers. The employees of the national Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies and international aid workers join the chain of aid as required.

Learn more about the results of development cooperation funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland: Annual Development Cooperation Report of the Finnish Red Cross (MFA)

The Finnish Red Cross is a partner of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). EU Humanitarian Partnership Certificate 2021 (PDF).

The development cooperation of the Finnish Red Cross is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the EU and private donors and company cooperation partners.
Countries, where the Finnish Red Cross does development cooperation.
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid
How to become an aid worker abroad
How to become an aid worker abroad