ADRA - Integrating Population & Health into Forest Management Agendas
In Nepal, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has extensive experience in promoting family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) through projects like the “Eastern Region Family Planning Expansion Project” with over 500,000 beneficiaries. ADRA will bring this experience to bear as it assumes the role as the coordinating NGO for the two year “Integrating Population & Health into Forest Management Agendas” Project. In this pilot PHE Project, ADRA will guide and oversee the integration of FP/RH into ongoing natural resource management work implemented by WWF and RIMS Nepal that is focusing on Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs). The purpose of this project is test the concept of using community forestry institutions to plan, implement, and monitor community-based and integrated PHE strategies and activities that improve human and ecosystem health and contributes to post conflict rebuilding in Nepal.
A recent assessment of USAID/Nepal’s assistance to community forestry confirmed that USAID-supported activities have strengthened the capacity of user groups to manage forest resources in a sustainable and democratic way and their efforts are helping to conserve biological diversity. Notable progress was also observed in the promotion of health-related technologies such as improved cooking stoves and biogas-latrine systems. In the same communities, high levels of unmet need for family planning (FP) and other reproductive health (RH) services are observed. Provision of FP/RH services is hampered by a lack of appropriate local institutions. Noting that CFUGs are often the only viable and functioning local institutions in much of rural Nepal, the Project seeks to build the capacity of these user groups to respond to the FP/RH needs of their members and the environmental challenges posed by increasing population pressure in forest corridors and buffer zones.
With over 14,000 CFUG and federations operating nationwide, and the presence of large conservation projects covering several globally-significant protected areas, national forests and nature reserves in Nepal - the potential for rapid scale-up of successful PHE approaches on a district-wide or landscape-wide or ecoregion-wide basis is promising and unique in the developing world. As the NGO responsible for coordinating integration of FP/RH programs into ongoing User Group activities, ADRA will help to establish models for integrating FP/RH capacity into CFUGs. The proposed model will integrate FP/RH and environment components into community forestry users groups and literacy groups. This is expected to bring about the desired change in the lives of the targeted women, their families and communities in the project districts.
ADRA will supervise, provide technical assistance to, and train staff of the two implementing NGOs (WWF and RIMS). This will focus on integrating FP/RH capacity into the NGOs and ultimately into the user groups themselves. ADRA will work with SSF and RIMS to ensure that User Groups will support community based commodity distribution systems, build Peer Education and Behavior Change Communication skills in adults and youth. ADRA will support this work by updating and revising existing training materials/modules/curriculum for use in the sequential training workshops, and by existing NGO partners to incorporate FP/RH and PHE information and modules into their ongoing literacy training programs for CFUG members.