History, founders and the board of directors

KIOS Foundation was established in 1998 as a result of the deliberations by some Finnish NGOs and the Ministry for Foreign affairs of Finland. At the same period of time, the two sister foundations, Siemenpuu Foundation supporting environmental work, and Abilis Foundation supporting grassroots disability organizations, were established.

During the years 1998-2010 the KIOS Foundation supported human rights work globally. KIOS accepted project proposals from all developing countries. Most of the funded human rights projects were small and implemented by grassroots actors.

During the years 2011-2015 KIOS Foundation focused its support to 12 countries in East- Africa and South Asia. The focus countries in East Africa were Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the Kivu provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The focus countries in South Asia were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibetan civil society in exile.

During the years 2016-2020 the KIOS foundation focused its support to 6 countries in East Africa and South Asia. In East Africa human rights work was supported in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. In South Asia support was channelled into Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Tibetan civil society in exile. Some of the long term partners were supported in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia and Pakistan. In addition, regional cooperation by human rights actors was prioritized in order to achieve more effective human rights work.

Since 2021 a major part of the funding is directed to Kenya and Uganda in East Africa and to Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia. A smaller part is directed to Rwanda, Burundi and Tibetan civil society in exile. If needed, KIOS might also consider directing support to new regions or actors.

Until 2016 KIOS was called The Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, but by then, in the new statues, KIOS’s official name in English was changed to The Non-Governmental Organisations’ Foundation for Human Rights KIOS sr,  which was consequently abbreviated to KIOS Foundation.

The founding organisations and the board of directors

KIOS was founded by 11 Finnish human rights, peace and development NGOs. The work of the foundation brings together Finnish experts of the field.

The founding organisations appoint the members of the KIOS Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for the implementation of the purpose of the foundation and management of the assets. The Board approves the annual strategy and budget and supervises the work of KIOS Foundation. KIOS Foundation brings together Finnish human rights and development expertise, which ensures the effective channelling of the funding.

KIOS Board of Directors 2022

Board members:

Auli Starck (Chair of Board)

Mariko Sato (Vice-chair)

Sabina Bergholm

Juho Aalto

Pauliina Savola

Kerttu Tarjamo

Deputy board member:

Tarmo Heikkilä