Be innovative to achieve transformative goals - UNFPA urges partners

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Be innovative to achieve transformative goals - UNFPA urges partners
Mr. Niyi Ojuolape - UNFPA Country Representative

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called on its local partners to be innovative and work hard to achieve the transformative goals of ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

The Country Representative, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape who said this, noted that the evaluation of the Government of Ghana/ UNFPA Seventh Country Programme (2018 – 2022) “shows that we have done well. We have exceeded most of our targets though we are still one more year into the programme”.

While this is commendable, it is also a pointer that with increased commitment a lot more can be achieved, Mr Ojuolape said, in an opening statement at a meeting with the agency’s Implementing Partners (IPs) to review their 2021 programme of work and to develop their 2022 work plans.

The meeting was also to review the results of the Country Programme Evaluation (CPE) and consult on the forthcoming Eighth Country Progamme Document (CPD) which is in the process of being developed.

Implementing partners

In Ghana, UNFPA works with government institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) to implement programmes aimed at achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health, promoting reproductive rights and reducing maternal mortality.

The Implementing Partners include the Regional Coordinating Councils of the Ashanti, Western, Bono East, Upper West, Upper East, Volta and Central regions, the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, National Youth Authority, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Others are International Needs Ghana, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Purim African Youth Development Platform (PAYDP), Alliance for Reproductive Health and Rights, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG).

Programme evaluation was essential

Mr Ojuoalpe indicated that the CPE was essential as it demonstrates accountability to stakeholders on performance in achieving development results and on invested resources.

The evaluation also supports evidence-based decision-making and contributes to lessons learned for input into the next (Eighth) country programme, hence the need for broad consultation to know what to focus on in the new CPD.

Targets achieved

In her address, Mrs Gladys Osabutey, Head of the United Nations (UN) Systems Unit of the Ministry of Finance, the lead agency for donor coordination on behalf of government observed that it was obvious that the UNFPA and its IPs had put in a lot of effort to do a good job.

She said even though the programmes were funded by small amounts of money, a lot of the core issues of development, such as adolescent sexual reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy that impact on the economy have been tackled.

Mrs. Osabutey commended the UNFPA and the IPs for achieving their targets a year to the end of the country programme, and urged them to critically review their targets in the next Country Programme to avoid underestimation.

She further called on the UNFPA to align with the main UN Sustainable Development Programme (UNSDP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the President’s Consolidated Programme and the Medium Term Development framework put together by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in order to be aligned with government priorities and timing.

Furthermore, she said the UNFPA was not working in a vacuum so it should continue with the ‘Delivery as One’ agenda as it helps the UN system to be conspicuous and also reduces transactional cost of doing business with government.   

Country Programme Evaluation

The Programme Analyst, Monitoring and Evaluation of UNFPA, Mr. Eric Appiah Okrah, said the CPE concluded that the Country Programme was well aligned to national and international development priorities.

The CP, Mr. Okrah added, also effectively responded to the changing environment and needs including humanitarian settings and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said another conclusion was that UNFPA provided strategic leadership and advocacy for integrated programming with a focus on gender, human rights-based approaches and leaving no one behind, adding that most national policies and guidelines mainstreamed gender and human rights-based approaches that ensured equity programming.

A recommendation from the evaluation was that in the design and implementation of the Eight Country Programme, priority should be given to wide consultations with key stakeholders at all levels during programme implementation, consolidation of strategic partnerships, and responsiveness to the changing environment and needs in the development and humanitarian settings, including COVID-19, Mr Okrah stated.