ASIA AND THE NEAR EAST

Today, CATALYST's Asia and the Near East program is active in India and Egypt with offices operating in both countries.

Through its consortium partner CEDPA, CATALYST is providing technical assistance to the 10-year $325 million USAID-funded Innovations in Family Planning Services Project (IFPS), a bilateral project of USAID and the Government of India. The project has just received a two-year, no-cost extension for the period from October 1, 2002 to September 30, 2004. It is also expanding its coverage from the original 33 districts (population 80 million) within the state of Uttar Pradesh, to include the rest of the state plus an additional two new states Jharkland and Uttarachal reaching an estimated 194 million people. (See India.)

As lead CA, CATALYST furnishes administrative and logistical support through CEDPA. In addition, technical assistance is being provided in the areas of individual and organizational capacity building for the implementing agency in UP, SIFPSA and its private-sector partners and for other private-sector interventions in the new states. This is creating an enabling environment at family, community, service delivery, program and policy levels to meet the overall goals of the IFPS Project: to increase access to, improve the quality of and increase demand for FP/RH. Technical assistance is provided for the adoption of FP/RH behaviors through a number of innovative interventions. CATALYST will build on the work of CEDPA under the ENABLE project and its predecessor, the ACCESS project--both USAID-supported global initiatives.

Tahseen Sihitna Bi Tanzeem Usritna (TAHSEEN),USAID's final population project in Egypt, was approved by the Government of Egypt on October 1, 2002. Its goal is to provide the kind of assistance that will solidify USAID's family planning/reproductive health investments of the last three decades, leave a sustainable RH/FP program that provides quality services to all who want and need them and help Egypt take its final steps in reaching replacement level fertility by 2015. To achieve this goal, the project will have to address and resolve four challenges, which remain after the enormous progress of the last 20 or more years. (See Egypt.)

Pursuit of these four themes--focused services, a culture of quality, a strengthened enabling environment and sector shares--is necessary for the sustainability of the program after USAID phases out. However, they are not sufficient. The final factor, which is interwoven throughout the design of TAHSEEN, is gender. If the RH/FP needs of women and their families are to be met, women must know the benefits of reproductive health care to ensure that they can make reproductive health choices. Moreover, if the program is to be sustainable, it must truly reflect women's needs, so that women value and demand the services that are being offered. A key element in achieving this will be to link RH activities to other activities that improve women's status, e.g., literacy, micro-credit and micro-enterprise.