By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK As one of her final duties before leaving the country on Saturday to take up a post at the foreign ministry of her country, the Finnish ChargÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© d’Affaires this week for the last time handed over some funds ‘an amount of N$3,6 million’ to eight local educational and social society organizations. Seija Kinni-Huttunen in an official speech applauded the organizations for doing good work in their respective fields. “The approach of the Finnish Embassy has been to establish long-term partnerships with a limited number of organizations instead of supporting only one-time activities, workshops and seminars,” she said at the handing-over ceremony. Her embassy this year focused on 51 selected organizations concentrating on humanities and democracy, gender and social equality, trade relations, protection of the environment and strengthening local cultural identity. “A decision was taken last year to start a comprehensive evaluation process of the embassy-funded projects. A total of 14 long-term projects were selected for funding. These evaluations revealed major shortcomings on administration management level. However, a further 17 projects are to be evaluated between now and 2010,” she said. In her opinion the Finnish Embassy does not regard the evaluation as a policing tool, controlling the implementation process and successes. “It is providing a ‘mirror’ to the implementing organizations provided by an impartial, external body. At the same time it certainly also informs the embassy about the effectiveness and efficiency of the supported projects. I am delighted to say that the Namibian civil society development partners are indeed on the right track and working hard to make a difference in the country,” she said. “This is yet another good day for Finnish-Namibia relations, a day that brings new light to education and to development,” said the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr Tjama Tjivikua, at the same occasion on behalf of the grant recipients. In his opinion the diversity of funding speaks to the genuine and emphatic interest the Finnish people have in the development of the “other” part of the world.
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