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close this bookStrengthening the Fabric of Society: Population. Capacity Building for Sustainable Development (UNDP - UNFPA, 1996, 53 p.)
close this folder7. Some Capacity Building Packages
View the documentCapacity Building Package 1: Building National Capacity to Develop National Population
View the documentCapacity Building Package 2: Building Up Grassroots Support for Population Policies and Programmes
View the documentCapacity Building Package 3: Building National and local Capacity to Meet Reproductive Health Needs in Priority Zones

Capacity Building Package 1: Building National Capacity to Develop National Population

Plans of Action


Support should be given to government efforts aimed at formulating effective national population plans of action, and enhancing coordination among donors in an effort to forge strategic plans of action in the area of population and reproductive health. Such donor coalitions might consist of, for example, UNFPA, USAID, SIDA and IPPF (a leading international NGO) and elements of the private sector. Other, local or national NGOs should bolster national capacities to plan for and implement comprehensive population and reproductive health programmes.


1. Preparation of a "national population plan of action" by the respective government in close collaboration with appropriate UN agencies, bilaterals, development banks, NGOs, religious groups and the private sector.

2. Provision of adequate funding from national government and donor group to implement the plan of action.

3. Mobilization of grassroots community groups, particularly women's organizations, in support of the plan of action.

4. Launching of a national IEC strategy in order to build widespread public support for the action plan.

5. Improve training of primary health care workers and family planning providers, wherever necessary, as well as other service providers, policy makers, planners and analysts involved in various components of the action plan.

6. In the area of RH/FP/SH, a provisional strategy should be worked out, involving the government health service, in close collaboration with appropriate NGOs and the private sector, in deciding which mix of services to offer communities in different parts of the country. Ideally, each partner will work in those areas where they are already effective, leaving the government to fill in where NGOs and the private sector cannot deliver quality services.

7. The plan of action should provide for periodic review of performance in light of stated goals and objectives. This exercise will permit the government, with its partners, to provide better services in those areas where they are needed.

Capacity Building Package 2: Building Up Grassroots Support for Population Policies and Programmes


Forming broad coalitions of support for population programmes is fundamental to their ultimate success. Once an agreed upon plan of action is launched, the major players - the relevant government agencies and ministries (eg. health and welfare, education, population, environment and resources, etc), along with influential parliamentarians, religious leaders, leading NGOs, community groups and the private sector - should decide on a strategy for building widespread support for the programme. It is essential to involve local community groups and women's organizations from the very beginning.


1. All major players should meet and agree on a national IEC strategy for building public support for the country's population programme. Such a strategy should include all major media - radio, television, the print media, the specialist press, NGO information networks (including religious publications), and local indigenous activities such as dramas, festivals and special community events.

2. Workshops and seminars should be held on the links between population, resources and the environment. National and local press coverage of these events should be organized. Community leaders should be invited to attend and participate actively.

3. Messages, especially those concerning reproductive health and family planning, should be carefully targeted for different groups of prospective users, for example, adolescents, young married couples, working mothers, single parents, etc.

4. Information and education activities aimed at increasing family planning acceptance should be aimed at a broad cross-section of society, including unions, the workplace, employer federations, secondary schools, universities, professional associations, religious orders, community groups, NGOs, etc.

5. Regular meetings should be held with influential parliamentarians, religious leaders and community leaders in different parts of the country. The aim is to determine how best to continue building working coalitions in support of population activities. It is important that women's viewpoints are heard in such meetings.

6. IEC campaigns should be evaluated periodically by the government and its partners and inadequacies remedied.

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 use.


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 groups.

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.