Finnish Refugee Council


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This presentation is from the North South Platform Meeting of one of the world's largest international volunteering organisations, Service Civil International. The presentation was given by Lena
Kumpulainen from the International Unit of the Finnish Refugee Council (FRC).
The presentation was specifically related to the communication methods used
between the FRC and its country offices and partners in the South. FRC works in Finland as well as countries such as Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Thailand. Their focus is on education. They are mainly funded by the Finnish Department of Foreign Affairs. Most of their projects are implemented in cooperation with partner organisations.
Lena also explained the external communication between FRC and the
Finnish public. FRC not only distributes information on its projects but also on
the refugee situation and the current affairs of the countries in which it works. This is done through a magazine and educational materials for school, amongst other publications. Their facebook page has been increasingly popular. This has led to an increase in visitors to the main website itself.
In relation to fundraising, FRC has an entire website dedicated to selling gifts
in order to raise funds ( On this site people can buy gifts such as t-shirts, or fund the salary of a teacher.
For more information on FRC visit their website at

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  • 12.01.11
  • Finnish Refugee Council

    1. 1. Communication in Finnish Refugee Council Spice it up! Volunteering with immigrants 6 th October 2010, Päivölä, Finland
    2. 2. Finnish Refugee Council <ul><li>Our vision is that: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Refugees are equal, active members of society” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The basic rights of refugees are realized in a positive attitude climate” </li></ul>6.10.2010 FRC communication
    3. 3. FRC works with refugees in Finland and in South 7.10.2010
    4. 4. <ul><li>In Finland FRC supports the integration process of refugees and immigrants and encourages them to become active members of society. </li></ul><ul><li>Projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to enhance community well-being in multicultural neighborhoods by organising training about living habits and by providing neighborhood mediators to help solve the everyday conflict situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to support refugees through peer support groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to enhance the work of refugee and immigrant associations through training and advicing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to support refugees by offering training and information about everyday life in Finland </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distribution about international refugee situation, policies and refugee work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contibute towards greater understanding on refugee issues </li></ul></ul>7.10.2010
    5. 5. <ul><li>International Program </li></ul><ul><li>focuses on increasing the capabilities of refugees </li></ul><ul><li>to contribute to the realization of their basic rights </li></ul><ul><li>to prevent the outbreak of violent conflicts. </li></ul>7.10.2010
    6. 6. Where we work ? <ul><li>Prolonged refugee situations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sudanese, Congolese and Somalis in Uganda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liberians in Sierra Leone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burmese in Thailand </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Return areas where emergency phase is over </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Liberia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sierra Leone </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>Our work is human rights based and </li></ul><ul><li>participatory approach is followed in all activities </li></ul>12.01.11
    8. 8. Education is an important factor in reducing poverty and building peace and especially important in the development of an individual and communities during and after the refugee time 7.10.2010
    9. 9. FRC focuses on adult and youth education and specifically on functional adult literacy. 12.01.11
    10. 10. <ul><li>Budget for international programme is 1,94 millions in 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>85% of the funds comes from the NGO Unit of Finlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>15% through own fund-raising </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>FRC’s own staff in every project, all together 57 persons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sierra Leone 10 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liberia 7 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ugandassa 34 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thailand 4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finland 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most of the projects are implemented in co-operation with local partner organisations </li></ul>
    12. 12. Structure of FRC International Program <ul><li>BOARD </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary General </li></ul><ul><li>International Unit Helsinki </li></ul><ul><li>Country Offices </li></ul><ul><li> Project teams Beneficiaries </li></ul><ul><li>Partner Organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Beneficiaries </li></ul>
    13. 13. Means of communication <ul><li>Between Headquarters and Country offices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official reporting system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Guidelines for Reporting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>covers both financial and activity reporting </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Guidelines for Assessment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>covers different levels: project cycle, annual cycle, activity implementation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>defines responsibilities, reporting and feedback systems </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>used for sending the official reports and feedback </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>” unofficial” communication – daily/weekly communication on project issues and internal communication between different unit or concerning all staff, information on country situation, new developments etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>breaks in connections </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Means of communication between Headquarters and Country Officies <ul><li>Telephone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>used regularly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when breaks in e-mail connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when urgent issues or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>issues that need to be talked over </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SMS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>used regularly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when not able to use e-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>short issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to notify /remind on something urgent </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Communication between Headquarters and Country Officies <ul><li>Meetings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yearly staff meeting in Helsinki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Country managers meet with Helsinki staff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Change of project news and experiences </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Participation in organisational development </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantage: not all staff can participate </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff meeting and training in one of the project countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Country manager, project officers and Helsinki staff participate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wider participation possible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic environment generates more discussion and ideas concerning the project implementation </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Communication between Headquarters and Country Officies <ul><li>Meetings continue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting with staff during monitoring visit from Finland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>once a year / in two years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sharing plans, experiences, worries, hopes... </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting face to face is best way to share information, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>risk of misunderstandings reduces, gives possibility to get to know the people  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All meetings have huge ecological footprint  </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Working with Partners <ul><li>In many FRC projects the activities are implemented in the communities through Partner Organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Different organisation as partners: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CBOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio stations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strengthening the capacities of partner organizations and local authorities is an important part of FRC’s work. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Communication between Partner Organisations and FRC <ul><li>Official reporting system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monthly reports submitted to FRC project teams (and forwarded to HKI) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Partner coordination meetings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning of activities, sharing experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training organised for Parners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information exhange </li></ul></ul><ul><li>FRC field monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings with Partner organisations during visits from Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Personal contact important (visits to each others officies) </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul>
    19. 19. Communication between Country Officies <ul><ul><li>Yearly Staff meeting in Helsinki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing of information and experiences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Unit meeting in a project country </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To learn from others, share ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quarterly and annual reports are shared between all country offices </li></ul><ul><li>Direct e-mail contact in case anything specific to ask or share </li></ul><ul><li>Plans to have internal Blog on sharing challenging issues and lessons learnt – yet to be realised... </li></ul>
    20. 20. Information <ul><li>FRC distributes information on international refugee situation and policies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>generally as well as related to our own projects and project countries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provision of background information on conflicts leading to refugee situations </li></ul><ul><li>Stories of refugees </li></ul><ul><li>Direct information from the field </li></ul>
    21. 21. Information <ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pakolainen (Refugee) magazine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>articles on project activities, participating people, situation in the country etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education materials for schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other publications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seminars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web-pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Project info </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Refugee situation in the project countries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Comments from participants, learners, facilitators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stories of people </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>News from the field </li></ul></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Information <ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fan pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– links to FRC web pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News and short stories from the field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has increased the number of web page visitors considerably </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. THANK YOU!