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The Village Action Association of Finland supports regional actors in local development
Village action association of Finland

The Village Action Association of Finland in Brief



Browse the annual Rural+ magazine 2014


Browse the annual Rural+ magazine 2013


The Village Action Association of Finland (in Finnish: Suomen Kylätoiminta ry or SYTY) promotes and develops village action and locally initiated rural development on the national level. The Village Action Association of Finland is an umbrella organisation for regional actors in rural development. Residents' Associations, village coalitions, LAGs and national central organisations are members of the Village Action Association. 2013 the Association has more than 130 member organisations.

The Association employs about 10 staff working on different types of administrative jobs and coordinating projects funded by the EU and national rural development programmes. The head office is situated in Suomusjärvi, 80km west from the capital Helsinki.         

There are more than 3000 village associations and 56 LAG's functioning all around the country.  The LAG Network Unit  is responsible for the co-operation between LAG groups, officials and authorities.

 Read more: Network Unit

SYTY Relies on Networks and Local Expertise

The national Village Action Association of Finland (SYTY) is at the frontline of rural development as well as local and village action. Development work in rural areas and villages is profitable thanks to a network approach, lack of prejudice, courage, fast communications as well as good employees who are competent in their work.

SYTY works in close cooperation with the most important rural developers including the Finnish Parliament, various ministries and institutes as well as the sector’s other organisations and is represented in the Rural Policy Committee YTR. All 56 LAGs (local LEADER action groups) operating in Finland in the programme period 2007–2013 are members and important cooperation partners. More than 100 executive directors (and other professionals) are involved in rural development work. SYTY is a member of several international rural development networks, such as ERA or the European Rural Alliance (the rural voice in Europe) and Hela Norden ska Leva (Nordic cooperation). Finnish experts in the LEADER approach are popular lecturers in the other EU states.

SYTY also operations strongly with ERA and ERCA at the European Union level. LEADER head organisation ELARD has Finnish president for two seasons, Mr. Petri Rinne.

SYTY's History

SYTY was established in 1997 when EU activity and the LEADER approach were just starting in Finland and provincial village associations had been established in eight provinces. The country was troubled by long-term unemployment, and thousands and thousands of people moved from rural areas to growth centres to find employment.

The LEADER approach has spread out in the entire country, and provincial rural associations are active in all the 19 Finnish provinces. Rural policy is being developed into a major development method.

One of the many tasks is assisting those living in rural areas in finding employment and new quality of life based on the opportunities offered by a municipal reform and a reform in the service structure. Another task is promoting citizen activity and rural housing by influencing legislation and municipal zoning policies.

Supporting the Finnish village action network by means of project activity, training and communication is also important. In rural development, SYTY is a promoter as well as a training and communication organisation for the more than 130 member organisations. The actions will become more effective and more opportunities will arise due to cooperation with the Finnish Cultural Union of Agriculture, Maaseudun Sivistysliitto or MSL. For a couple of years, the SYTY has received state grants as the basis for the actions, and this has enabled supporting of the establishment of a village agent network in the provinces. The services also include legal counselling for the members free of charge.

In 2013, the National Village Action Programme will be revised and expanded into a national programme for local developers. SYTY annually selects the Finnish Village of the Year and villages for which a citation is awarded among the provincial villages. Other annual awards are given to village action forerunners and rural developer of the year.

Any association and organisation carrying out, developing and supporting local development as well as village and citizen activity can become a member of the Village Action Association of Finland. You can also become a supporting member of the association. Please send a membership application to the SYTY board of directors at Village Action Association of Finland, Lupajantie 1, FI-25500 Perniö, Finland or by e-mail: You can get the application on our website at

Suomen Kylätoiminta ry /
Village Action Association of Finland