The Building Capacity for Integrated Family Planning/Reproductive Health and Population, Environment, and Development Action (BUILD) project undertook a mission to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 24th to 30th April 2022. The mission aimed to meet key state and non-state actors and gather relevant insights to inform scheduled project activities in the country and the larger Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region.
Côte d’Ivoire is one of the four hub countries identified for implementing the BUILD Project over the five years. The other countries are Kenya (East Africa), Malawi (Southern Africa), and the Philippines (South-East Asia). Specifically, the mission sought to conduct the following activities;
- Conduct stakeholder engagement meetings with selected stakeholders in the environment, population,and health sectors who had been identified through initial stakeholder analysis,
- Create a plan of action for capacity building and engagement activities in Côte d’Ivoire.
Ministry of Planning and National Development
During the mission, the Minister for Planning and National Development Hon KABA Niale hosted the BUILD project delegation led by AFIDEP Executive Director Dr. Eliya Zulu and Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa (LEAD SEA) Regional Director Prof Sosten Chiotha.
Hon Niale noted that the BUILD project was timely as its objectives aligned with Côte d’Ivoire’s development priorities. These included harnessing population dynamics gains to achieve demographic dividends to address issues such as unemployment and youth education.
Ministry of Technical Education, Vocational Training & Apprenticeship
The BUILD project delegation was also hosted by Hon Hon N’Guessan KOFFI, the Minister for Technical Education, Vocational Training & Apprenticeship, a former president of the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS).
The Minister disclosed that with a rapidly growing population in Cote d’Ivoire, projected to grow from 30 million to 52 million within the decade, the Côte d’Ivoire government is interested in understanding the link between population and development. The minister called on the BUILD project to work with the government to develop an action plan that will utilize evidence-based research and ensure that population variables are prioritized and mainstreamed into the development agenda.
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
The BUILD project delegation also met Hon KOUADIO Parfait, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, who represented the minister Hon Jean-Luc Assi.
Hon Parfait noted that the meeting was timely as the ministry recently developed an environment and climate change policy document which incorporated population dynamics as a key issue. The ministry committed to working with the project on activities such as COP 27 and in-country activities such as further stakeholder engagements and capacity building.
Parliamentary committee members
The BUILD project then met parliamentarians Hon TCHEIDE Jean-Gervais from the Research, Science, Technology and Environment Committee, Hon M. M’ba COULIBALY from the Finance and Economics Committee, and Hon KOUADIO Philippe from the Social Affairs and Culture Committee.
The three parliamentarians, accompanied by administration personnel from parliament, agreed to become the BUILD project Champions and pledged to rally other members of parliament to support the Population, Environment, and Development (PED) approach.
The BUILD project delegation also organized a workshop for non-state actors in the environment, population,and health sectors and discussed areas of possible collaboration, including capacity-building activities for local communities. Among the prominent stakeholders met included;
- Zero Deces En Donnant La Vie (Zed-Vie) focusing on reproductive health, family planning, and environmental conservation,
- Organisation Nationale pour l’Enfant, la Femme et la Famille (ONEF) focusing on reproductive health, FGM, women’s economic and political empowerment,
- Femmes Côte d’Ivoire Experience (FCIEX), focusing on women and girls’ empowerment,
- Federation des Reseaux et Associations de l’Energie, de l’Environnement et du Developpement Durable (FEREADD), focusing on climate change, environment, energy and sustainable development,
- Federation Nationale des Unions de Jeunesse Communale de Côte d’Ivoire (FENUJECI), focusing on youth movement,
- Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Etre Familial (AIBEF), focusing on family planning,
Côte d’Ivoire BUILD National Advisory Committee
The mission also held an induction session with members of the BUILD National Advisory Committee members, drawn from senior officials from state and non-state sectors who will serve as advocates for the project and play an advisory role in programming, resource mobilization, scaling up of the project and serving as BUILD advocates in the country.
Learnings and plan of action
The delegation received positive feedback about the BUILD project in all engagements. The stakeholders were very keen to participate in project activities, and several opportunities for collaboration and partnership were identified during the meetings.
During the mission, the BUILD project delegation was joined and supported by local partner organizations in Côte d’Ivoire, including Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD Côte d’Ivoire), FHI 360, and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Côte d’Ivoire chapter. Among the upcoming activities lined up after the mission include;
- A high-level stakeholders meeting involving state and non-state actors,
- Capacity building on PED, systems thinking, evidence-informed decision-making, and advocacy for policymakers and community-based organizations.
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