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The Siemenpuu Foundation was founded in 1998, at the same time with its sister foundations Abilis, which supports disability work in developing countries, and KIOS, the Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights. After a lively debate between NGOs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, a decision was made to establish these three foundations. The aim was to ensure flexible and small-scale directing of Finnish development funds to NGOs and civil movements working with human rights, disability and environmental issues in the South.