Perspectives from Africa,
engagement from Finland

Understanding Africa

Representing Africans


Fireworks at Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Fireworks in Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Aiming to change state structures
With 300 member organisations, KEPA is the umbrella organisation for Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) working with development cooperation or otherwise interested in global affairs. KEPA's members range from small voluntary-based groups to major national organisations.
KEPA was founded in 1985 to coordinate the Finnish Volunteer Service, through which dozens of professional volunteers were sent to work around the world. The programme was scaled down after 1995, and KEPA’s work today mainly involves strengthening civil society both in Finland and abroad, with the ultimate goal of changing the socioeconomic structures and processes that lead to impoverishment.

Connecting and contributing

By staying informed of developments affectng international networks and campaigns, and by joining such organisations and initiatives, KEPA and its membership seek a wider perspective on the questions of poverty and inequality, to increase opportunities to influence international decision-making at a global level, as part of the international development movement. In turn, the expertise and resources of KEPA and its membership help international networks to achieve their set objectives.
International participation support the effectiveness and credibility of the organisation's own work and also brings in new ideas. The growing opportunities for the membership to participate also increase interaction inside the Finnish development movement.

Principally, KEPA contributes to training, advisory services and development policy work. Its headquarters are in Helsinki, and it maintains country offices in Mozambique, Nicaragua and Tanzania - with a small regional office covering the Mekong region in Thailand.
KEPA is a politically non-aligned organisation, which receives funding from Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which makes grants to civil service organisations in Finland and in partner countries for development in the fields of agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources.