Despite progress over the years, Ethiopia’s Guraghe zone, located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region, faces many development challenges. As senior monitoring and evaluation officer in the Guraghe People’s Self-help Development Organization (GPSDO), I have been working in this region for more than five years trying to reduce poverty and improve socio-economic development. The organization as a whole has been here for more than 50.
Since the integrated population, health, and environment (PHE) approach is relatively new in international development, donors, partners, and implementers want to know how it’s improving people’s lives. In the PHE community, we believe that combining efforts to address natural resource management, reproductive health, and livelihoods is making a difference in places where rapid population growth combines with poverty and environment degradation. But to know for sure and be able to convince others, we need to have data to support those beliefs.
It is well known that public health issues that affect the world’s most vulnerable populations – food insecurity, maternal and child health, water- and sanitation-related disease, and resource scarcity – are inextricably linked. Where these linkages are strongest, experience on the ground has shown that community-based integrated approaches to development provide more effective and sustainable solutions over vertical, sector-based programs. But so far, there are very few comprehensive evaluations providing strong quantitative evidence of this advantage.
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