Why Pathfinder Works in Egypt
Poverty is one of the greatest problems confronting Egypt today. Despite the relatively high levels of economic growth over the past few years, living conditions for the average Egyptian remain poor. Nearly 20 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars per day, with much of the poverty concentrated in Upper Egypt. (PRB) The recent political situation in Egypt has aggravated the problem, as many people have lost their jobs and the unemployment rate has risen. Contributing to the problem of poverty is continued population growth, as nearly all of the country's 82 million inhabitants (PRB) live on the 2.9 percent of land that is arable.
Since 1978, there has been mutual cooperation between Pathfinder and the Egyptian government to develop an institutional framework for family planning, promoting and distributing methods of contraception, and increasing the availability of quality reproductive health and family planning services among Egypt's most remote and underserved populations. In 2006, Pathfinder began the five-year, USAID-funded Takamol project. Takamol, meaning "integration" in Arabic, worked with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population to promote an integrated model for strengthening maternal and child health, family planning, and reproductive health services. Pathfinder is currently implementing the Fostering Opportunities in Rural Southern Areas Project (FORSA ,which means "opportunity" in Arabic), which is funded by USAID. After recognizing the direct links between microfinance, economic growth, productivity, and improved health outcomes, the FORSA Project was designed to provide immediate job opportunities for young men and women in the poorest rural areas of two governorates, who will support improved health information, health-seeking behavior, and access to quality health services for Egypt's most vulnerable populations. FORSA also aims to build the capacity of women and provides them with in-kind support so they can start their own microenterprises, thus helping to alleviate poverty while improving health knowledge in the community.
Evidence for Decision-Making
A key aspect of Pathfinder's approach to systems' strengthening is collecting evidence that enables public, private, and community partners to make informed health-related decisions. In Egypt, examples of the kinds of data we collect range from "the number of primary health care units achieving a three percent improvement in providing couple years protection (CYP)" and "number of postabortion care and postpartum clients receiving family planning counseling" to "the number of hospitals that utilize at least ten percent of service improvement revenues (SIF) to pay for facility improvement." Noteworthy improvements to Egyptian health care over the course of the Takamol project include:
- More than 500,000 home visits made by community health workers to distribute information on family planning, reproductive health, and maternal, child, and neonatal health.
- In addition, the project managed renovation of one hundred and seventy-nine primary health clinics, and in Lower Egypt, 21 hospital OB-GYN and neonatal units. The average number of new family planning clients served in a primary health clinic each month rose from 26 clients, on average, in the year preceding interventions, to more than 33 by the end of the first year, averaging 31 new family planning clients per month for the twelve months following interventions. This represents an average increase of 19 percent in new family planning clients.
Building Capacity, Strengthening Systems
In 2012, through the new FORSA project, Pathfinder will implement several capacity-building activities targeting the non-governmental sector, focusing on local Community Development Associations in the project's intervention areas. Community Development Associations will be trained in proposal writing, financial management and reporting, and outreach workers training, allowing them to continue their valuable work at increased capacity after the end of their partnership with Pathfinder. In addition, the Egyptian Women Speak Out (EWSO) program, which intends to provide women participants with an impetus for socio-economic change, will hold a training-of-trainers session. Trainers will be trained on the EWSO program and will be taught to set educational objectives, design lesson plans, and use visual aids.
Guided by principles set by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme, Pathfinder is conducting two interventions that support sexual and reproductive health and rights in Egypt.
I Know, I Decide is designed to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information to young people in ten governorates of Egypt.
FORSA provides employment opportunities for rural Egyptians by hiring youth as community health advocates and providing training and financial support for women to start their own microenterprises.
When a girl is robbed of her childhood, what happens to her future? This issue of Pathways explores Pathfinder's work to break the cycle of violence, early marriage, and unintended pregnancy that prevents millions of young people from having a choice.
In a year of remarkable achievement, including Pathfinder’s landmark victory at the US Supreme Court and our return to Bangladesh with a $53.8 million project, what was most exciting? The answer—integration—is the theme of Pathfinder’s 2013 Annual Report.
This summary review provides analysis of Pathfinder-Egypt's Takamol project and includes description of program strategy and evaluation results.
Takamol, a five-year USAID-funded integrated reproductive health project, has revitalized 179 primary healthcare clinics in 11 Egyptian governorates.