Capacity Building Package 3: Building National and local Capacity to Meet Reproductive Health Needs in Priority Zones
It is vital for the success of any population programme that
underserved segments of the population be identified and adequate steps taken to
meet their needs. Striving to meet unmet needs should be the cornerstone of any
realistic population strategy. When deciding how best to satisfy existing
demand, governments may want to concentrate their efforts, at least initially,
in those areas of the country where poverty is entrenched, population growth is
rapid, maternal and child mortality high, services inadequate, and the
environment deteriorating (eg. forest destruction, loss of soils, inadequate
water resources, etc). By identifying such "priority zones", limited financial
and institutional support can be better utilized and donor resources put to best
1. An integrated population, environment and development
strategy should be developed by the government in consultation with the
international community, national and local NGOs, and other relevant
organizations. Its primary aim should be to identify "priority zones" throughout
the country - areas where resources are vitally needed to provide services and
information about programme benefits.
2. Local citizen's action groups and NGOs should be mobilized to
join in rescue efforts aimed at "priority zones", particularly if they already
operate in these areas.
3. Mechanisms should be developed to allow donor assistance to
be channeled directly to those organizations which will carry out on-the-ground
action programmes - be it NGOs, government ministries, or local community action
4. Wherever possible, governments should establish coordinated
donor assistance committees, where all major donors - NGOs, international
organizations, United Nations agencies, development banks, etc, - meet to
discuss priorities and where best to channel limited development funds. Egypt
has such donor groups for each major development sector - eg. population,
resources and the natural environment, education and health, etc. In this way,
donor assistance can be better spent, with minimum duplication of effort.
5. Interdisciplinary teams of experts, representing major
development areas - health specialists, family planning providers, soil
scientists, environmental engineers, hydrologists, demographers, policy makers,
etc.-should be set up to oversee integrated activities in all "priority zones".
These experts should coordinate activities and provide reports on progress, or
the lack of it.
6. Priority zone projects should be approved for multi-year
funding and resources made available so that all approved projects can be
brought to fruition. No project should die from lack of appropriate funding,
institutional support, or expertise.