Today’s story by Finnish news service YLE tells a familiar tale, of once again, NGO’s misuse of Finnish aid. Some time ago I came across a report by NGO Monitor, which told about Finnish aid being directed to NGO’s that were using the funding for incitement against Israel. The Finnish government was effectively providing funding to non governmental pro-Palestinian organizations that were promoting a political anti-Israel agenda.
A recipient of Finnish government funding (Foreign Development Cooperation) is the branch of the Finnish Lutheran Church, Kirkon Ulkomaanapu(FinnChurchAid). In 2005, the budget of the FCA received from the Finnish Foreign Ministry 9.2 million Euros, which made up 38.1% of its fiscal budget for that year. The FCA is responsible for the distribution of funds it receives from the Finnish state, for humanitarian work in various trouble spots around the world. A recipient of that funding is the international religious organization World Council of Churches’ program ‘Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).According to the FCA’s own guidelines,
–The providing of aid should not be used for the advancement of politics
Clearly the participation of a volunteer aid worker Heidi Kumpulainen in a demonstration against Israel’s anti-terrorist barrier directly conflicts with the FCA’s own stated guidelines for the activities of their representatives in the field. By participating in a political demonstration, Ms.Kumpulainen crossed the line of church representative to that of a political activist.
This is something the Finnish government must consider when doling out taxpayers money to non governmental organizations that are political motivated. A closer scrutiny along with a tightening of the purse strings should send the needed signal to these NGO’s that business as usual will no longer be tolerated.