Implementation of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration and the programme of action of the ICPDICPD+5 logo




After the introductory text, this page is divided into three sections:


       Achievements & best practices




       Recommendations for the way forward


Visit the NGO and private sector roles proceedings section to read the proceedings related to this thematic area.




The ICPD-PA requests governments and donors to ensure that NGOs and their networks retain their autonomy and strengthen their capacity through regular dialogue and consultations, appropriate training and outreach activities.



Achievements and best practices

In many ECA member States, policies and practices regarding NGOs are evolving fairly rapidly, often in conjunction with major shifts in development strategies. Among other things, governments are increasingly differentiating among various types of NGOs both in the policies being adopted with respect to their roles and in the guidelines relating to their modes of operation.


NGOs have played important roles in closely related areas. For instance, in many States they play a key role in organizing and operating programmes which seek to inform adolescents about the risks associated with early and unprotected sex, about their options and about the advantages of avoiding risky behaviour. In a similar manner NGOs are playing important roles in meeting the needs of other hard-to-reach groups, including refugees, prostitutes and persons in remote rural areas.


In a number of States, NGOs are playing important roles in introducing and disseminating relatively innovative approaches. Such approaches include provision of post-abortion counselling; establishment of "one-stop" clinics; providing for substantial community participation in management of service facilities; involving males in activities and responding to their needs; adoption of cost-recovery measures; and promotion of early detection and treatment of cancers of the reproductive system.


The Governments of nearly all member States have encouraged the formation of NGO "umbrella" or coordination organizations. Depending on the member State, the name of such umbrella NGO could be either National Council of NGOs, National Forum of NGOs, National NGOs Coalition, National Association of NGOs, Network of NGOs or Federation of NGOs. In some States the coordinating body is a Ministry or a Department (Algeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda).


Such organizations contribute to the establishment of guidelines which facilitate consistency and collaboration in implementing population policies and programmes. Nearly all States responding to the Country Questionnaire indicated that bodies for coordination of NGO activities had been established, while approximately two-thirds reported having taken steps to support national NGOs dealing with population and development issues. Just over half the States have indicated that they had provided financial assistance to NGOs.


Recent measures and/or strategies adopted to support national NGOs dealing with population and development issues comprise (in most member States) the promotion of effective partnership between government and NGOs involved in population activities particularly in project/programme design; monitoring, and evaluation including contractual relations between government and NGOs (Algeria, Benin, Cape Verde, Guinea, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria); facilitation and funding of NGOs activities (Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Mali); adoption of new laws on NGOs (Madagascar, Benin, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania); integration of NGOs representatives in NPCs (Sao-Tome and Principe).


The private sector is playing an important role in many ECA member States in the provision of RH services. In a number of them policies and strategies relating to the role of the private sector have been modified in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the ICPD-PA. These changes are fostering attitudes and practices that are conducive to greater involvement of the private sector in the provision of RH services.


Actions taken by member States to involve the private sector in the implementation of NPPs include identification by National Health Services of private sector as stakeholders in the implementation of population policies and programmes (Algeria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Zambia); invitation to the private sector to participate in population related activities such as workshops, meetings, seminars, youth programmes, population day celebration, conduct of population census (Gambia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius) ; representation of the private sector in the NPCs (Ghana, SaoTome and Principe); provision of contraceptive to the private sector free of charge or at subsidized costs (Kenya, Niger, Morocco, Togo).


Rapid expansion of social marketing of contraceptives may well constitute the single most important change with respect to the role of the private sector in meeting needs for RH information and services. Social marketing corresponds well to the call (by the ICPD-PA) for the private, profit-oriented sector to play an important role in the production and delivery of RH care services and commodities.


In a number of States the scale of social marketing operations is impressive and demonstrates their potential. Over 26 of them have social marketing programmes, mainly for contraceptives and condoms, but the types of commodities made available vary considerably. While the sales from social marketing programmes decreased between 1996 and 1997 in five States, by far the majority of programmes are increasing - some very rapidly Botswana (41per cent), Cameroon (32per cent), Ethiopia (45per cent), Kenya and Mali (65per cent) and Mozambique (155per cent).




The extent of collaboration among NGOs, the private sector and governments varies from one member State to another. Collaboration is impeded by many factors including, in some cases, lack of a specific modus operandi for such interaction, disagreement as to priorities, different styles and even, occasionally, rivalries. This is significant since some NGOs have accumulated significant experience in implementing various types of population programmes, especially in the areas of RH and advocacy. In some cases insufficient collaboration may have resulted in underutilization of local expertise and/or experience and in failure to take advantage of the comparative advantages of different types of institutions.


Increasingly, there is growing emphasis on decentralization, devolution of powers, democratisation and empowerment of communities, groups and women in the consideration of population issues, policies and programmes. And yet in some cases, the contribution of NGOs and more broadly, civil society, is constrained by lack of sufficient policy and programme guidelines as well as inadequate mobilisation of communities and stakeholders by government and managers of population programmes. At other times, population activities have tended to reflect mainly the orientation and concerns of civil servants and specialists including researchers as against those to be directly affected by such activities.


Regarding the implementation of FP programmes (Table 6), the proportion of NGOs involved in research activities ranges from 22 per cent of member States for NGOs involved in co-operative activities to 65 for those working with local women's groups. Regarding the design of FP programme, the corresponding range is from 32 to 75 per cent; for those involved in monitoring, it is 35 to 76 per cent; and for those involved with evaluation activities, it is from 21 to 69 per cent. The proportions are much lower with respect to RH programmes (Table 7) with a range of 9 to 58 per cent for NGOs involved with research on RH activities; with programme design, it is 21 to 76 per cent; with monitoring, it is 17 to 67 per cent; and with evaluation, it is 17 to 60 per cent. Given the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is understandable that the corresponding proportions, as shown in Table 8, are somewhat higher.



Recommendations for the way forward

The ICPD-PA requests governments and donors to ensure that NGOs and their networks retain their autonomy and strengthen their capacity through regular dialogue and consultations, appropriate training and outreach activities. The Third Follow-up Committee Meeting also noted the increasing and important role played by the civil society and the private sector. Accordingly, the meeting recommended that:

  • National dialogues should be organized on the roles of NGOs and on their obligation to take account of national priorities, policies and sensitivities.

  • The legal, fiscal and regulatory frameworks in which NGOs implement programmes should be clarified on the basis of open and thorough discussions.

  • Country-level coordination mechanisms should be developed which are acceptable both to Governments and to NGOs.

  • Governments and NGOs should take advantage of their potential complementarity with respect to mobilizing resources - both domestically and internationally.

  • Agreement should be reached among the parties concerned on the roles of the private sector in strengthening population policies and programmes.

  • In order to encourage private enterprises and health care providers to contribute to implementations of population polices and programmes, clear and conducive legal fiscal and regulatory frameworks should be established.

  • Drawing attention to examples of private sector contributions to population programmes would indicate the scope in many countries for the private sector to complement activities implemented by Government.

  • The private sector, civil society and Government should collaborate in order to develop and implement new approaches to the mobilization of resources for population programmes, including the full range of reproductive health activities.

  • Transparency should involve not only finance but also programme concerns. It should be understood as an issue of cost effectiveness.

  • In order to ensure transparency and accountability, communities should be empowered to participate in monitoring NGO programmes.

  • National capacity building should include NGOs and the private sector.

  • Sustainability of programmes run by NGOs should be borne in mind. Hence, counterparts should always be sought before starting such programmes, particularly with regard to those run by international NGOs.

  • Governments and key elements of civil society should consult regularly - not only on special occasions.

  • Information and points of view regarding population policies and programmes should be exchanged on a regular basis between Governments on the one hand and elements of civil society on the other.

  • A wide range of contacts between Government and diverse elements of civil society should be encouraged. These should take place at different levels of government, involve different technical specialties and take different forms.

  • Participation of civil society in population matters should not be limited to discussions of broad principles but should extend to considerations of population policies and programmes.




Visit the NGO and private sector roles proceedings section to read the proceedings related to this thematic area or visit one of the other areas identified in the assessment of the African experience:




 Theme 1 Reproductive health and rights

Reproductive health and rights

 Theme 2 Family, youth and adolescents

Family, youth & adolescents

 Theme 3 Gender empowerment

Gender empowerment

 Theme 5 Policy amd development strategies

Policy & development strategies

 Theme 6 Advocacy and IEC Strategies

Advocacy & IEC Strategies