Jarkko Päivärinta

15 Years of Development Cooperation Surveys

Development Cooperation Surveys study Finnish citizens’ opinions of, attitudes to and information needs on development cooperation. The studies are commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and have been conducted annually ever since 1997.

The studies form an interesting and valuable source for research, allowing study on changes in public opinion over a long time period. They can be used to investigate, for instance, the impact of political and economic phenomena on people’s views on development co-operation. Other possible research approaches include studying how the respondents’ financial situation, education, age or personal contacts with developing countries affect their attitudes to development cooperation and foreign aid.

Support for development aid increasing

As can be seen from the year 2011 survey, Finnish attitudes towards development cooperation have become more positive after a few years of downward trend caused by the economic recession. According to the study, almost one in four (23%) would increase the funding allocated to the cooperation, whereas a year previously only 16% were so inclined. Correspondingly, the proportion of respondents who would have liked to see cuts in the funding decreased from 20% to 14%.

Finns tend to believe that development cooperation is important as four out of five regard it as important or fairly important. However, five years ago in 2007 the figure was even higher, 89 per cent. Main challenges to the development efforts were perceived to be weak government and corruption in receiver countries, and difficulty to get the aid to receiver. The preferred areas for the cooperation and aid were education (51%), human rights and equality (35%) and improving the situation of women and children (32%).

Surveys archived at the data archive

The Development Cooperation surveys are collected through face-to-face interviews , and the number of respondents is about 1,000. The Finnish Social Science Data Archive disseminates the data for non-commercial research, teaching and learning purposes. Study descriptions and codebooks are published on the archive’s data catalogue. If there is a codebook in English, the data have already been translated into English. More are translated on request, free of charge.

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