Population and Environment in Saadani National Park, and Repositioning Family Planning in Sub-Saharan AfricaOctober 23, 2012 By Payal Chandiramani
Tanzania’s Saadani National Park is a hotbed of biodiversity and, like other national parks in the region, it’s surrounded by human activity. A report by the BALANCED Project, “Population, Health, Environment Situational Analysis for the Saadani National Park Area, Tanzania,” provides a snapshot of the population, health, and environment situation inside the park to serve as a baseline for future activities of the Tanzania Coastal Management Partnership (TCMP) – a joint initiative of the government of Tanzania, USAID, and the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center. A behavioral monitoring system implemented in June 2009 used surveys that reached a total of 437 respondents (54 percent women) from eight villages to analyze the “behaviors that positively and negatively influence the utilization and condition of natural resources.” The surveys found that arable land is scarce, fisheries are being depleted, and people have inadequate access to healthcare, water, sanitation, fuel, and family planning resources. The results suggest a strong case for expanding TCMP’s existing integrated approach – combining HIV/AIDS, conservation, and livelihoods goals – to include promotion of positive behavior changes, particularly as they relate to family planning and the effects of population growth on biodiversity loss and resource depletion.
Last month, USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health, in collaboration with the Africa Bureau, USAID Missions, the World Health Organization and other partners, released a “Framework for Monitoring and Evaluating Efforts to Reposition Family Planning.” The framework provides a basis for monitoring the functional aspects of family planning programs, such as logistics, human resources, and management, and suggestions for creating an “enabling environment.” The authors, Nicole R. Judice and Elizabeth Snyder, highlight the importance of public officials taking responsibility for family planning as indicators of success. They cite Rwanda and Madagascar as examples of places where family planning only became a priority after a specific individual became a “champion” for it. The framework also seeks to align family planning efforts with the broader health objectives of the U.S. Global Health Initiative, such as the implementation of woman- and girl-centered approaches, encouraging country ownership, increasing the number of trained health workers, and improving monitoring and evaluation.