5 + 1 results of the Finnish Red Cross’s work

Photo: Terjo Aaltonen / Suomen Punainen Risti

The work of the Red Cross would not be possible without the support of its donors and sponsors. Read here how we helped in 2021.

In 2021, the Finnish Red Cross carried out long-term development cooperation in nine African countries and three Asian countries.

We improved health services, promoted the sexual health and rights of girls and women and helped communities to fight against climate change and prepare for disasters.

We reacted to crises or disasters by offering humanitarian aid. The coronavirus pandemic, conflicts and extreme weather phenomena, such as droughts caused by climate change, increased the need for aid. 

The international aid work of the Finnish Red Cross is made possible by the support of the Disaster Relief Fund donors, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the European Union and companies. Read about the results of our work last year below.

We fought climate change with communities

Climate change takes its worst toll on the most vulnerable communities and people who are least responsible for causing it.

The Finnish Red Cross helped communities to fight climate change and prepare for its impacts, such as extreme weather phenomena.

  • In Kenya, 477 farmers joined farmers’ groups that were trained to practise climate-smart farming and set up nursery gardens. Training was also provided for 172 students and nine teachers.
  • In Sierra Leone, 62 communities received support to set up early warning systems.
  • In Zimbabwe, 4,000 wood-saving stoves were built and communities were trained in their efficient use. In total, 27,825 people received information that is essential to climate change adaptation.
  • The early warning model was also supported in Zimbabwe, including training the local Red Cross in how to utilise the weather forecasts and prepare for disasters. As a result of this work, it was possible to better prepare for two tropical storms.
Young people in Kenya planting crops in school uniforms.
A plant nursery at Kiarukungu school in Kenya. Photo: Aapo Huhta / Suomen Punainen Risti

We helped the victims of crises and conflicts

We delivered life-saving humanitarian aid for sudden crises and conflict situations around the world. We worked in partnership with the international Red Cross organisation.

  • The Finnish Red Cross directed over 2.5 million euros in funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Disaster Relief Fund to the work of the International Red Cross in Afghanistan. Food, cash aid for families suffering from a drought, hygiene supplies, winter equipment and household items were delivered to the country.
  • We supported the hospitals, clinics and mobile health units of the Afghan Red Crescent and paid the salaries of healthcare workers.
  • In Myanmar, we responded to the unrest caused by the political crisis, by distributing aid supplies and supporting services such as first aid and basic healthcare services.
  • On 14 August, a severe earthquake occurred in Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people. The Finnish Red Cross sent the country a field hospital, which treated more than 5,400 patients during the autumn. 61 Finnish Red Cross aid workers worked at the hospital.
A young Afghan collecting Red Cross aid supplies.
Afghanistan is suffering from a serious humanitarian crisis. Photo: Meer Abdullah Rasikh / Afganistanin Punainen Puolikuu

We improved the health of girls and women

In 2021, the Finnish Red Cross’s work to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls reached over 200,000 people.

Sensitive issues were approached in different ways in different countries, involving opinion leaders, community groups and volunteers. The work also involved preventing sexual and gender-based violence.

  • In Kenya, traditional birth attendants were trained as birth partners to support pregnant women and direct them to health services. 170 religious leaders received information on sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as sexual and gender-based violence.
  • In Niger, 3,420 volunteers and opinion leaders were trained in the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse.
  • In Sierra Leone, a total of 32,948 people received information on sexual and reproductive health.
  • In Burundi, roughly 19,400 people received reproductive health information and other health information. 4,870 young people were taught in schools about sexual and reproductive health and period hygiene.
  • In Somalia, seven health clinics and six mobile clinics received support. Health services reached roughly 294,200 people in Somalia.
Eunice Sulubu advising families on childbirth.
Birth partner Eunice Sulubu offers advice in Kenya. Photo: Aapo Huhta / Suomen Punainen Risti

Health improving in communities – Malawi case in point

In partnership with the Malawian Red Cross, we continued our long-term work to improve communities' overall health, water and sanitation services, disaster risk management and the life skills of young people.

  • 777 community healthcare volunteers made 248,695 home visits and distributed information on topics such as family planning, malaria prevention and nutrition. Child healthcare services have improved significantly.
  • The healthcare volunteers received bicycles, which also improved their access to remote areas.
  • 140 members of the mother's groups were educated on period hygiene and taught how to sew sanitary pads. The mother’s groups taught 563 women and girls to sew sanitary pads.
  • 35,000 new saplings were planted.
Two children eating porridge in daycare.
Malawi also supports community-based daycare centres. Photo: Björn Udd / Suomen Punainen Risti

We continued the fight against coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic continued in 2021, with its effects exacerbated by conflicts and droughts. In many countries, coronavirus restrictions were relaxed, but a new problem emerged: vaccine inequity.

African countries, in particular, were well behind other countries in terms of vaccination coverage at the end of the year. The Finnish Red Cross supported vaccine operations.

  • The Kenyan government started a coronavirus vaccination campaign in March 2021. The Finnish Red Cross supported the Kenya Red Cross Society in starting the vaccinations. Support was also provided for training volunteers and spreading information. The messages reached 424,214 people and over 100,000 people received the vaccine.
  • In Kenya, we supported an EU-funded coronavirus vaccination operation in nine counties. The work also includes fighting against misinformation.
  • Coronavirus briefings were held in Somalia, attended by 3,626 people.
  • In Zimbabwe, volunteers were trained to produce coronavirus communications and provide psychosocial support. We also supported a vaccination campaign, in which more than 7,000 people received the vaccine.
  • In Afghanistan, 768,000 euros from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland was directed to the international coronavirus operations of the Red Cross, which included the delivery of protective equipment and hospital beds to Afghanistan.
Vaccine syringe.
In 2021, Red Cross actively participated in the coronavirus vaccination efforts. Photo: Aapo Huhta / Suomen Punainen Risti

We are helping in Ukraine

The conflict in Ukraine created an unprecedented need for humanitarian aid in Europe. The Finnish Red Cross supports the work in Ukraine with funds from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Disaster Relief Fund.

The Finnish Red Cross has provided financial assistance to the International Red Cross. We have also sent material aid to Ukraine and its neighbouring areas, including accommodation supplies, medical supplies, a logistics unit and a healthcare clinic. Professionals in logistics, healthcare, psychosocial support, communication and organisational development have been sent to the area.

Our key objective is to meet people’s basic needs: offer food, water and healthcare to people suffering from the conflict and provide shelter for people who have fled their homes. The need for aid will continue for years to come. The Finnish Red Cross takes part in the work in cooperation with the Ukrainian Red Cross.
Read more about our work in the Ukraine crisis

A person in Red Cross uniform carrying a box of Red Cross aid supplies to a van half full of aid supplies.
Misha Haiduzok, a volunteer driver for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, loading food and hygiene supplies into a van. Photo: Ville Palonen / Suomen Punainen Risti
1,145,000 people
received help through the development cooperation of the Finnish Red Cross in 2021.
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See how the Red Cross helps people around the world stay healthy and safe as well as prepare for disasters and cope with them. Video: Apua ympäri maailmaa (video)
Development cooperation
Development cooperation
The international aid of the Red Cross
International aid