Etusivu » The International Solidarity Foundation

The International Solidarity Foundation

We work toward ending poverty and violence against women


The International Solidarity Foundation (ISF) is a Finnish non-governmental organization founded in 1970 and based in Finland. Currently ISF supports development projects in three countries: Somaliland, Kenya and Nicaragua.

Our mission is to support development that strengthens democracy, equality and human rights internationally, and invite people in Finland to work towards building an equitable world.


…are present in over 100 local communities

…impact the lives of approximately 85 129 people

…work on 3 continents

…are an experienced NGO with over 46 years of experience and Finnish know-how.

Read more about how we reduce poverty

Read more about how we work to end gender-based violence


Contact us »


How we work

We form collaborative partnerships to ensure best possible development outcomes.

Our added value is based on well-designed, focused and transparent programme activities. Our strength is our direct contact with beneficiaries and development challenges. Our project effectiveness is guaranteed by broad country-based knowledge, sustainable way of working, and allocation of responsibility to local partner organisations.

Our projects are based on the needs of the local communities and the people who benefit from them always take part in the process. Our principles include a long-term commitment and partnership with the beneficiaries.

Step 1.

We seek out areas and challenges where our way of working brings significant added value.

Step 2.

We map possible civil society actors present in local areas and include them in defining the development problem to be solved in a way most relevant to their community.

Step 3.

We begin capacity building with local NGO partners, enable them to work more methodically and efficiently, offering them our expertise and funding. We bring in new ideas through innovative university and corporate partnerships and build networks within local civil societies.

Step 4.

We monitor effectiveness together with our partners, actively and inclusively. We learn from our partners and bring their knowledge and expertise to our local society in Finland in order to affect change.

Step 5.

Our partners work closely within their communities, building change and supporting members of the civil society to be active change agents, resulting in decent livelihoods and safer, happier lives.

Read more about how we work.

We learn and develop

We commit to solving gender and poverty issues long-term. Our sustainable way of working ensures long-lasting, meaningful partnerships, and effective accumulation of country-specific knowledge as well as understanding of the efficacy of different methods in solving development issues.

Our collaborative way of working enables us to evolve and learn continuously, and become more efficient in solving global issues.

Our work towards reducing poverty

Most people in most poor countries do not have paid jobs or social security, so they can rely on no one but themselves to put food on the table. However, not all types of work help to eradicate poverty in a sustainable manner – a decent wage and working conditions are also required.

Decent work is of fundamental importance for reducing poverty and hunger. It also contributes to the achievement of other goals -the elimination of child labour, for example, promotes basic education and supporting female entrepreneurs improves gender equality.

The International Solidarity Foundation enables people to rise out of poverty permanently by supporting entrepreneurship in local and global value chains, promoting gender equality and developing climate-smart agricultural systems.

Ramon ja Juan Gabriel

Our current themes:

-Promoting climate sustainability in agriculture in Northern Nicaragua and Somaliland.

-Developing basic craftsmanship skills among Nicaraguan poor with a special focus on gender equality and small entrepeneurship.

-Refining value chains and advancing cooperatives in Somaliland and Nicaragua.

-Promoting product development and marketing skills among Nicaraguan artisans.

-Supporting new livelihoods and agricultural methods among Somaliland farmers.

Our aim is for people to be able to secure a sufficient livelihood through their own work. We focus on improving the food security of the poor­est families. We help family farmers and small en­trepreneurs increase the productivity of their work. We also help strengthen cooperatives, which func­tion as significant motors for people’s social and economic development.

Our work towards ending gender-based violence

Poverty and gender equality are strongly inter-linked – most of the world’s poor are women. Women’s unequal participation in economic and social development has a negative effect on families, communities and global development.

We believe that all people must have the same rights, responsibilities, possibilities for self-development and freedom to choose without any gender constraints. All people also have the right to develop their personal skills and make decisions without constraints imposed by gender roles.

In an equal community the different behaviours, desires and needs of women and men are assessed, appreciated and favoured on an equal basis.


The International Solidarity Foundation enables people to put an end to gender-based violence and female genital mutilation by engaging communities to drive change from within, providing educational tools and methodologies, and building local capacity.

Our current themes:

-Supporting local communities and NGOs to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) by engaging in grassroot level educations, volunteer work and discussion groups in Somaliland and Kenya.

-Influencing policy makers, and political, local and religious authorities to denounce the practice of FGM in Somaliland and Kenya.

-Advocating against gender-based violence and gender inequality by working closely with local NGO partners in Somaliland, Kenya, and Nicaragua.


Kuva: Jenni Gästgivar


Gender equality is actively promoted in all our development cooperation. For us, equality is both a human right and a means of development. We help secure the right of women to decide about their own health, finances and participation in society. This way we are creating the foundations for the development of the whole society.