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2 Analysis of the project approach & of pilot activities

Institutionalisation of population education
The training process
The role of the leader guides
Monitoring and Evaluation
The impact of population education training
Follow-up to pilot activities at the national level

This section analyses methodological and operational issues related to the implementation of the inter-regional project. The purpose is to identify successful elements and bottlenecks of the population education approach and of the implementation modalities used by INT/92/P94 to stimulate discussion within youth programmes, FAO and UNFPA, as well as among these organizations to further develop population education concepts and programmes.

Population education in the leader guides and in the pilot training activities followed an integrated approach in that:

1. it was of an interdisciplinary nature, integrating concepts from demography, ecology, biology, economics, sociology, agriculture and nutrition;

2. issues dealt with in the leader guides, such as population growth and production, natural resources or migration, and sex education and parenthood were accompanied by the imparting of life skills (e. g. negotiation, decision-making, and leadership skills);

3. information and education on population issues was combined with practical activities (e g. tree planting, soil conservation, income generating projects) that were directly relevant to the lives of rural young men and women;

4. socio-economic phenomena, such as population growth-induced changes in agricultural production systems, environmental degradation and socio-demographic changes in rural communities were related to reproductive health and family planning issues (see Box 3)5.

5 For a further discussion of population education concepts see: FNUAP (1994): Serie: Información, Educación y Communicación en Población. Documento No. 1. Equipo de Apoyo del FNUAP, Oficina para America Latina y el Caribe, Santiago de Chile.

This approach had the following advantages:

· By dealing with less sensitive issues first (such as agriculture and the environment), participants "warmed up" and got acquainted with each other. This created a favourable environment for discussing sex education and family planning at a later stage, described by trainers and trainees as "sensitive subjects".

· By discussing reproductive health and family planning in the context of socio-economic changes at the community level, the interrelationship between individual behaviour and quality of life was highlighted (see Box 3).

· The integrated approach to population education stimulated the interest of the youth who participated in the pilot activities. In Bolivia, for example, initially, registration for a population education training course in Guarayos was slow. Once the organizers, however, produced a poster (Box 5) highlighting the integrated training approach and advertising sessions on agriculture, the environment, income, nutrition, health family and family size, etc., within a few days, many more youths came to register than the course could train.

Box 3: FAO Population Education Concept

Youth leader training sessions in Bolivia6 will involve services of local resource institutions, such as the "Asociación Ecológica del Oriente", the "Colegio de Ingenieros Agrónomos", the "Escuela de Padres", the "Hospital de Guarayos" and the "Dirección Distrital de Educación." Thus the population education pilot activity intends to introduce the concept of population education not only among youth leaders, but also among several local institutions with an educational mandate. The Bolivia pilot activity is, therefore, pioneering a programme approach, enhancing mobilization of community and district level resources.

6 The Bolivia training series started in November 1995.

Box 5: Announcement of the Training Seminar in Bolivia

In Ethiopia, "the most exciting and appealing part of the population education programme, according to the young people who have participated in the project, has been taking part and planning and carrying out income generating activities decided upon by each group, " according to the training consultant of the project7. The rationale for making income-generation part of the population education curriculum arose from the training modules on "Population and Agriculture" and "Population, Employment and Income."

7 FAO (1994): A Case History of the Pilot Project for the Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth in East Shoa, Ethiopia. Internal Report, p. 142.

Integrating population education with income-generating activities takes into account the particular circumstances faced by youths that are not able to attend school. "One of the most pressing issues for out-of-school youth is their lack of resources. Many do not attend school because they either lack the financial means to pay school fees or because they need to work to support themselves or their families" said the FAO Population Advisor in China, underscoring that "population education for youths outside the school system needs to serve the self-interest of young men and women".

The need for income-generating activities was also expressed in Zimbabwe. However, in this case, as training resources were spread over six different organizations, sufficient funds were not made available to set up practical projects for the youth at the village level. A leader of the Boy Scouts pointed out this constraint as follows: "In the modules, there are proposals for practical activities and for income-generating projects. However, without funding we cannot develop them with the youth."

The pilot activity in Ethiopia was implemented during a period of profound political and institutional change. The Ministry of Agriculture, which was the implementing agency, had to rely on its extension workers to create ad hoc youth groups. One of the major achievements of the population education pilot activity under these difficult circumstances was the official recognition of the need for a National Young Farmers Programme, which - once established - could serve as one of the channels for the implementation of the National Population Plan of Action.8

8 Recommendation of the FAO Population Advisor to the UNFPA CST in Addis Ababa, A Case History of the Pilot Project for the Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth in East Shoa, Ethiopia. Internal Report.

In conclusion, the variety of themes and topics of the FAO population education curriculum stimulated discussion and a useful exchange of ideas among youths. In some countries, e. g. Bolivia, the integrated character of the population education curriculum led to a programme approach, involving various types of local resource institutions (schools, hospitals, agricultural research and education institutions) in population education training at the community level. The lessons of this innovative approach to population education should be closely monitored and documented vis-a-vis the traditional focus of working with youth organizations alone. In addition, the integration of population education and income-generating activities was found to be an effective mechanism for meeting the immediate needs of out-of school rural youth.

However, it should be noted that while project pilot activities were based on a conceptual framework (see Boxes 2 and 3) with holistic population parameters, the FAO definition of population education in the leader guides lagged behind. Therefore, the FAO definition of population education as used in the leader guides needs to be revised to encompass - in addition to population growth - other population parameters (fertility, mortality, migration) that affect the quality of rural life (production and income levels, nutrition and food security, and health).

Institutionalisation of population education

As stated above, the project's long-term objective was "to have institutionalized the process of bringing population education to rural youth and young farmers ". Special attention was thus paid on reaching "out-of-school" rural youth. The strategy for institutionalisation was based on three components:

· Training: national youth programme staff and volunteer leaders receiving training in population education concepts and in the use of the FAO population education leader guides;

· Adaptation: revising and translating the population education leader guides into local languages; and

· Integration: making the population education curriculum a part of the organization's own programme.

The project worked with non-formal youth programmes of government extension services (Ethiopia, Thailand, Indonesia), as well as non-governmental youth organizations (Bolivia, Colombia, Vietnam). In most countries, project activities were organized by only one organization, but in Zimbabwe, the arrangements were made with an NGO Umbrella Organization and training activities were carried out by six different youth organizations. In Peru, the pilot activity was jointly organized by the "Consejo Regional de Población" (CONAPO) at the local level, with technical support from the 'Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH)".

Institutional networks to reach out-of-school rural youth differed significantly from country to country. The Vietnamese Youth Federation, for example, was described as having "an excellent network throughout the country with which to reach rural youth"9, while the pilot activity in Bolivia did not have an existing institutional network for out-of-school youth in rural areas.10 Some of the institutions had an explicit mandate to work in rural areas (such as Agricultural Extension Services) while others did not distinguish in their mandate between urban and rural youth (YMCA, YWCA, Scouts, etc.).

9 FAO, Back-to-Office Report of Agricultural Extension and Training Officer to Vietnam, December 1994.

10 Personal communication, A. Tejada Soruco, Director A. C. F., Bolivia, October 1995.

Given the differences in the number, role, and capacity of the participating institutions, the institutionalisation of population education received a different emphasis and was hampered by different constraints in the various pilot projects. While it is possible to identify and analyze some key constraints in this review, each pilot activity needs to be viewed in its own spatial-, cultural-, institutional- and operational-specific context.

The three elements of the institutionalisation strategy - training, material adaptation and integration of the training curriculum - have been used to integrate population education in school curricula on many occasions. Under INT/92/P94, these strategic steps were applied to integrate population education into the programmes of non-formal youth organizations with the following results:

· The leader guides have been translated and adapted to local conditions in Peru (Spanish), Ethiopia (Amharic), China (Chinese), Vietnam (H'mong). Modified versions are still expected from Colombia and Bolivia (Spanish), Thailand (Thai) and Indonesia (Bahasa).

· "The Boys Brigade" in Zimbabwe prepared a draft booklet on "Population Education for the Boys Brigade of Zimbabwe" based on the FAO Leader Guides. Population Education has also been included into regular training activities, for which club members earn badges (see Box 6).

· The Vietnamese Youth Federation, with FAO and UNESCO assistance, developed an additional leader guide on HIV/AIDS and Drug Use - both of which were identified as important risks for youth. This shows how the pilot activities stimulated youth organizations to develop their own educational priorities within the population education framework. The new booklet could serve as prototype material and stimulate discussion among youth on HIV/AIDS and drugs issues in other countries as well.

Box 6: Training Badges of the Boys Brigade in Zimbabwe

A large number of cooperating organizations pointed out problems in continuing population education training activities beyond the pilot phase. The institutionalisation of the population education curriculum was hampered by financial, institutional, operational and conceptual obstacles. For example:

· The National Coordinator of YMCA in Zimbabwe pointed out: "Our programmes depend to a large degree on funds that we receive for carrying out specific projects for various donors, while our core funds are quite limited. With the small amount of unrestricted funds that we have, it was not possible to continue with training in population education after the funds from the pilot activities were exhausted."

· He further underscored: "The population education booklets alone are not sufficient to carry out population education. If you want a resource person (e. g. a nurse) to assist in the training and you take him/her away from other duties, you need to pay for his/her services."

Similarly, most youth organizations pointed out that after the leader guides were adapted to local conditions, for population education to continue funds would still be required for:

- the transport of trainers and monitoring staff to the training location;

- honoraria for resource persons;

- printing and distribution of additional materials on new topics such as HIV/AIDS (Peru), Population and Forests (Bolivia, Vietnam), Population and Culture (Zimbabwe);

- materials and resources required for practical activities as proposed in the leader guides (e.g. tree planting, income-generating activities, etc.).

In view of the lack of viable non-formal educational programmes for rural youth, the pilot activity in Bolivia is being organized in close collaboration with the school system. "We will explore ways in which the formal school system can take on responsibilities for work with out-of-school -youth", said the director of the Associacion Cristiana Feminina. The lessons to be learned from the Bolivia experience might point to new channels for the institutionalisation of population education into on-going youth programmes.

Lack of control and ownership of grass roots organizations over the pilot process may have also hampered the institutionalisation of population education into on-going youth programmes in some countries. This was expressed by the director of NANGO in Zimbabwe:

"The funding of the pilot activity should have left us with more freedom in shaping the process. There was not enough time and resources to systematically look into the feasibility of the pilot activities and to familiarize the participating youth organizations with the concept. The task was to test the booklets in a certain time and it was sometimes difficult to move according to the pace of the various institutions."

In conclusion, the following issues need to receive attention in the planning of future activities:

a) Institutional Capacity: Institutionalization requires a minimum of resources on the part of partner organizations. Therefore, an assessment and an analysis of available resources and of resource constraints is necessary, if appropriate, institution-specific strategies for institutionalisation are to be developed. Such an assessment would need to consider:

· the ability of partner institutions to reach out-of-school youth on a continuous basis;

· the capacity to carry out activities with the organization's own human, financial and technical resources and/or the ability to mobilize the necessary resources from elsewhere; and

· the ability of an organization and its members to draw a long-term benefit from the activities.

b) Methodology: The methodology used for pilot activities needs to systematically build ownership on the part of the cooperation partner. This could, for example, be achieved by building each pilot activity on the findings of a training needs assessment and by developing educational materials in-country accordingly.

c) Time: The duration of the pilot activities, and, in particular, the timing of fund allocation needs to be adapted to the requirements of the partner organizations.

In addition, in transfering the concept of institutionalisation from school-based (formal) to non-school-based (non-formal) educational systems, the considerable differences between these systems need to be taken into account. Table 1 highlights some of the characteristics of school-based and non-school-based educational systems. This is only a rudimentary framework, however, primarily aiming to stimulate discussion on institutionalisation in out-of-school contexts.

Table 1 shows that the institutionalisation of an educational process in a non-formal setting is likely to be more difficult and complex than it would be in a school-based system. For instance, volunteer leaders in non-formal systems, who are often former youth group members, provide less continuity to educational activities than school teachers who are permanent staff. In addition, resource constraints and the dependency on short-term donor allocations for specific projects are obstacles to long-term planning for out-of-school activities. Lastly, as youths participate in non-formal programmes on a voluntary basis, their mobilization is more difficult than it is in schools where attendance is obligatory.

Table 1: School-Based (Formal) and Non-School-Based (Non-Formal) Education Characteristics

Formal Education Systems

Non-Formal Education Systems


civil servants

partly volunteers (e. g. in NGOs) (could be civil servants in government extension systems)


short- to medium-term (particularly in NGOs and projects)






national or local

Financial Resources

government dependent

donor or project dependent

Learning Materials



These significant differences in the characteristics of formal versus non-formal education imply that the strategies used for the institutionalisation of population education in school systems may not be appropriate for non-formal educational systems. This was, for example, pointed out by the Population Advisor of the FAO/UNFPA Women, Population and Development Programme and Organizer of INT/92/P94 pilot activity in China, who said: "We cannot assume that we have a college structure out there in which we can integrate population messages as if we were in a classroom".

Pilot activities also showed that the term "out-of-school rural youth" is not specific enough to design effective IEC strategies. 'O'-level school leavers who participated in the pilot activity in Zimbabwe, for example, found the population education leader guides "too shallow". In Vietnam, the leader guides had "too much text and too few illustrations" for illiterate youths. Therefore, the target group "out-of-school rural youth" needs to be further specified and defined in terms of the social, economic, political and demographic realities of each country. A clarification of what is meant by "out-of-school rural youth" and a further conceptualization of strategies for reaching out-of-school youth would need to include the following variables:

· Age and Education: Out-of-school rural youth could include children not enrolled in school despite the fact that they may be of school age (e. g. 10-14-year-old school drop-outs), or adolescents that do not go to school because they have already finished a first school. These two categories constitute different target groups that may require different IEC strategies.

· Employment Status: The employment status of out-of-school rural youth needs to be specified. Are young men and women employed in the formal sector considered out-of-school youths, or does the definition only include those working in the informal sector or those not working at all?

· Gender: In some cultures, the term "youth" comprises only young males. To avoid discrimination, a clear target group definition would need to explicitly refer to young men and women. This is particularly important in view of the fact that in many developing countries girls/young women drop out of school at an earlier age or grade than boys/young men.

In terms of communication channels, out-of-school approaches usually imply that education takes place outside the school system. However, the dividing line between formal and informal education systems is often not clear cut. For example, some non-governmental youth organizations, such as boy scouts or girl guides in Zimbabwe, work with out-of-school youth in organized clubs. Some of these clubs may meet on school campuses, club members may be school pupils, volunteer leaders may be school teachers, and club activities may be extracurricular school activities.

Some youth organizations, such as boy scouts, girl guides, YMCA, YWCA, girls brigades and boys brigades traditionally catered for the children of the middle and upper classes. In Zimbabwe, for example, until 1980, only white young men could be members of YMCA. Consequently, some youth organizations may not necessarily target those without access to population education in school. Purely educational programmes may result in targetting those youth who already have access to school-based education.

As mentioned above, integrating population education into activities that serve the self-interest of youths - which for most out-of-school rural youth are likely to be activities from which they can derive immediate or short-term economic benefit - may be the most viable channel for reaching out-of-school youth. The potential of having community-based programmes or rural development projects serve out-of-school youth may not have been fully exploited by the interregional project. The FAO Representative in Bolivia, for example, stated that different types of FAO projects could integrate programmes and activities for rural youth, including population education, once the necessary support infrastructure for such components was in place.

To conclude, despite the keen interest for population education created through the pilot activities of the inter-regional project, preliminary findings from the field assessment show that short-term project funding has not been sufficient to sustain the integration of population education into non-formal educational programmes for rural youth. The concept of institutionalisation has not proved to be transferable from a formal to a non-formal educational setting, due to considerable differences in the resource base, staff and membership between school- and non-school based educational structures. Future population education activities would need to be based on an assessment of the institutional capacity of youth organizations in catering for out-of-school rural youth on a long-term basis.

Alternatives to short-term pilot activities in population education could include:

· a) a concerted long-term effort on the part of donors to collaborate with youth organizations in order to strengthen national institutional capacity and integrate population education into these larger efforts; and

· b) an identification of alternative channels and strategies for reaching out-of-school rural youth, such as rural and community development programmes.

The training process

Training of professional trainers, youth leaders and youth in population education issues and in the use of the population education leader guides was a key component of all the pilot activities. The role and place of training are highlighted in the framework for the implementation of pilot activities in Box 7.

Within this broad framework, the implementation of the pilot activities differed significantly from country to country, particularly in terms of the role and function of the training participants, the training location, the subject matter content, and the intensity of the training at various stages of the training-of-trainers cycle. Key features of the pilot activities are summarized on a country basis in Appendix 1.

The leader guide series contains a section on what to consider when using a resource person in training. However, the series does not provide any further guidance on how to set up a (pilot) training programme. In addition, as there was no common training for the national project implementation teams prior to the pilot activities, the capacity, skills and experience of the national project teams became the key determinants of the quality of the pilot process and account for the differences in the effectiveness of the various country pilot programmes.

Box 7: Framework for Implementing the INT/92/P94 Pilot Project

1. Form National Implementation/Training Teams composed of a project coordinator, a training/volunteer leader development specialist and monitoring and an evaluation specialist.

2. Form a Rural Youth Advisory Committee to monitor activities, offer suggestions for strengthening the implementation of recommended strategies for follow-up and the institutionalisation of population education into rural youth programmes

3. Plan, carry out and evaluate national train-the-trainers workshop, which may have the following components:

- review and revise text and illustration of the leader guides;

- effective volunteer leadership development;

- educational methodology for the incorporation of population education into ongoing rural youth programme activities;

- concept of population education and its relevance for the needs of the country; and

- use of the FAO leader guides as a pan of a comprehensive population education programme for rural youth.

4. Make revisions as needed, translate and print leader guides. Train volunteer leader, who should develop strategies of how to use the leader guides. Under guidance of volunteer leaders, youth groups should go through a series of at least ten sessions over a period of six to nine month. Carry out mid-term evaluation.

5. For monitoring and evaluation the following should be present: evaluation of knowledge attitude and practices through pre- and post testing measures. Evaluation should include the following steps: review, discuss and document lessons learned, suggest revisions in leader guides, assess and document the value of the materials effectiveness in the educational process. Strategies for the institutionalisation of the use of the FAO population education materials and those monitoring progress of project activities should be developed.

from R. W. Seiders, Final Report on UN-FAO Inter-Asian Training in Rural Youth Population Programmes, FAO, 1995.

Implementation team members pointed out that detailed guidelines on pilot project implementation would have been useful, particularly in reference to:

· how to organize a pilot project implementation team, including terms of reference, team member qualifications, and time requirements (full-time versus part-time staffing);

· how to carry out participatory training needs and resource assessments, including the use of tools such as Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys, Participatory Rural Appraisal, socio-economic investigations, etc.;

· how to select participants at the level of training of trainers and youth leaders and how to establish selection criteria (age, gender, education, etc.);

· how to mobilize local resource institutions and build linkages to related country level programmes;

· how to elaborate needs assessment-based training curricula;

· how to monitor and evaluate pilot activities and how to document the results of the pilot training and testing; and

· how to mobilize resources at the country level for mainstreaming population education within youth organizations.

Drawing on the experience of the project implementation teams of INT/92/P94, such guidelines for setting up pilot activities efficiently and effectively could be developed through an exchange of lessons learned in regional workshops for Asia, Africa and Latin America, as originally foreseen in the project document. In fact, most of the organizers were looking forward to and were expecting such an opportunity for exchange. However, due to the limited flexibility in funding and implementation procedures, it appears that these final workshops are not likely to take place.

The majority of partner organizations suggested a thorough review of the training-of-trainers model used in this project. A typical training sequence, for example, in Vietnam, included three steps: a) a trainer workshop for youth organization field staff; b) training of community volunteer leaders through trained field staff; and c) local leaders using the population education leader guides with youth groups.

The role of training and the importance given to each of the three levels of training varied considerably from country to country. Some partner institutions placed a high emphasis on the training-of-trainers effect. In Zimbabwe, for example, only 18 master trainers were trained in the national workshops, but through the involvement of six different youth organizations, some 1000 youths in total were sensitized in population education issues during the exercise.

In other countries, emphasis was placed on reaching a relatively large number of trainees with high quality training in the first training session. In Peru, for instance, 71 young men and women from 43 communities and various districts were trained in the first workshops, while the total number of youth reached in the exercise is estimated at 500.

The experience of the pilot activities suggests that training-of-trainers involved trade-offs between the number of youth reached and the quality of the training. The first level of training in a training-of-trainers exercise was reported to be of higher quality than subsequent trainings carried out by trained trainers. This was expressed by a trainee in Zimbabwe as follows:

"While we as master trainers received quality training, we need to keep in mind that we could not give the same quality of training that we received to the youth leaders. Most of them received only one day of training". Another leader said: "Some of the trainers just took the booklets and read them to the youth. And then they called this a workshop."

Similar concern was expressed in Ethiopia about the viability of using a training-of-trainers approach. The final report states: "Any future project would have to ensure that the group leaders involved in population education would receive the full training. It does not seem that the development agents [extension workers who were trained as master trainers] will, with some exceptions, carry out this population education training properly."

In Vietnam, where the entire training process was organized tightly within a period of less than three months, national and provincial monitoring and evaluation officers participated in training at the community level and recorded results and experiences. In many other countries, however, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of trained trainers at the community level was hampered by logistical and financial constraints (see section on monitoring and evaluation below).

Due to the absence of an institutional network for reaching out-of-school rural youth, the pilot activity in Bolivia placed less emphasis on training-of-trainers. The national project implementation team organized the pilot activities as a community level seminar series in population education (see the description in the beginning of this section). Given the above limitations of the training-of-trainers approach, community level training of youth may be an alternative to training youth organization field staff alone, particularly in areas with weak institutional networks. However, the impact and cost implications of such an alternative approach would need to be examined in detail.

In conclusion, training was a crucial component in the implementation of pilot activities. While through a training-of-trainers approach a relatively large number of youth was reached at low cost, the quality of training was not in all cases satisfactory. Alternatively, direct community level training, particularly in areas with weak institutional infrastructure for youth work, is worth exploring as an alternative strategy. For future pilot exercises, detailed guidelines on how to organize pilot training would need to be developed, building upon the experience of INT/92/P94 country implementation teams.

The role of the leader guides

The FAO population education leader guides, developed under the earlier inter-regional population education project INT/88/P98, were designed to enable youth leaders to carry out structured learning activities with existing youth groups, incorporating population messages into topics of interest to youth. The various topics on population education covered by the FAO leader guides are listed in Box 2.

As pointed out earlier in this report, the definition of population education in the leader guides needs to be revised, on the basis of the experience and lessons learned from the pilot activities, highlighting the rural-specific components of population education.

The leader guides constituted the backbone of pilot training activities. By translating the guides and adapting them to local conditions, youth organizations were brought into contact with population education issues. As mentioned above, the Boys Brigade in Zimbabwe adopted the booklets using its own institutional cover and format. The Vietnamese Youth Federation describes the booklets "as an effective technical instrument that can provide helpful service for the youth cadres to carry out the social tasks in compliance with their function of mass mobilization."

Introducing and reviewing the booklets stimulated discussion even among organizations that decided not to adopt population education as part of their mandate. The National Catholic Youth Council in Zimbabwe participated in the review of the population education leader guides, but subsequently decided not to take part in the pilot activities. The proceedings of the meeting highlight the sensitive nature of population education:

"Since there is expected exhaustion of land resources what actually should be done? Isn't there an underlying premise that the future series of the leader guides will introduce "the pill" for example thereby exhorting people to use family planning? So, already we expect some debate between the priests, nuns and youth."

The process of revising the leader guides for the training activities varied substantially within countries. In Peru, for example, the adaptation of the population education leader guides to local agro-ecological conditions was carried out by a team of national experts before the pilot training, while in Bolivia, the adaptation of the leader guides is expected to build upon the experience of the pilot training, with the final version of the leader guides to be completed after the exercise.

The example from Peru where the leader guides were adapted to local agro-ecological conditions with some success raises the issue of the preparation of the leader guides on a regional or sub-regional basis for groups of countries with similar agro-ecological zoning, socio-cultural conditions and gender relations which would be ultimately better adapted to local realities.

The quality of the vernacular versions of the leader guides also differed from country to country. While some versions of the booklets (such as the Spanish version which was adapted to the Amazon region of Peru), were well received, others were not of satisfactory quality. The Ethiopia country report states, for example, that "the standard of production and quality of materials and drawings as promised by the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Department has been a big disappointment." As vernacular versions cannot be reviewed in FAO Rome, one way to ensure a high standard for the leader guides would be to have professionals review the revised versions, as was proposed in Thailand, where UNESCO supports a Population Education Clearing House.

The pilot activities in Zimbabwe had such a strong focus on introducing and using the leader guides that the project became known as the "booklets" project. However, the youth organizations used the booklets in the English version rather than translating them into the local languages of the pilot region, despite the fact that the actual training at the community level was carried out in the local languages. Revisions for the adaptation of the leader guides to local conditions have been proposed, but have so far not been included in the booklets as the national counterparts are awaiting to receive a copy of the prototypes in a word-processing format from FAO Rome.

Adjustments in the text and illustrations of the leader guides were made or else were suggested in nearly all the pilot activities. Some general recommendations for the development of leader guides at the inter-regional level are highlighted below:11

· A key problem was that the population education leader guides were used without being tailoring to a specific target age range or education level. In the words of the Chief Commissioner of the Boy Scouts in Zimbabwe: "We were working with 0-Level School Leavers. Most of the participants felt the exercises in the leader guides stimulated discussion, but the information provided in the guides was rather shallow. The guides could be supplemented by a reference book that provides in-depth information to the leaders."

· In Vietnam, as the pilot activities involved a large number of illiterate youth, there was a proposal to modify the leader guides so that they could be used with non-literate audiences: According to the final project report, "a peculiar shortcoming noted among the H-mong youths is the high rate of illiteracy of both national Vietnamese and ethnic H-mong languages. The leader guides therefore would be more appropriate to them, if the messages were more abridged and more colourful illustrative drawings were added."

· In Peru, one volunteer leader highlighted the need for in-country adaptation of the population education leader guides, maximizing local resources and indigenous knowledge:

"While the guides have been adapted to the local conditions, they still do not fully reflect our reality. For example, our parents and grandparents used effective traditional methods and herbal medicines to prevent and cure diseases. Some of this knowledge is being lost today. It would be good if leader guides could be developed here, so that they build on our traditional knowledge and on the resources that we have here in the jungle."

· Also in Peru, it is argued in the final report that the project did not explicitly address the gender dimension. Even though many of the pilot activities were targeted towards young men and women, the relationship between the sexes was not adequately dealt with in the leader guides, despite the fact that it is a key issue in family life education.

· In nearly all the pilot activities, it was pointed out that the leader guides were useful, but not sufficient to set up training programmes. In Ethiopia trainees "...want extra finance for each group to enable them to pay for a doctor/nurse to come and spend a day explaining in greater detail and give practical exhibitions of methods of contraception and contraceptives. " (this issue is discussed in detail in the section on institutionalization).

· The Boy Scouts in Zimbabwe had bound the 11 booklets together in one set and commented on the constraints of using the booklets in the field: "If those who developed the guides would know, what it means to travel by public transport with 20 sets of 11 booklets each for field testing, the type would probably be smaller and the booklets would be more compact". A loose leaf format would render the guides more practical for field use and allow project implementation teams to select certain exercises from the booklets that are relevant in a given country for adaptation to the vernacular.

11 For culture- and location-specific adjustments, reference is made to the country level reports.

During the review, several proposals were made to supplement the population education curriculum with additional booklets. The Vietnam final report proposes "to develop more leader guide volumes on other topics, for example, "Youth and Afforestation" "Population and Forest/Land Protection" or some special kind of newsletter/leaflets for rural/mountainous young readers." In Bolivia it was proposed to develop a guide on "Population and Forest Resources'', while in Zimbabwe, an additional guide on "Population and Culture " was suggested.

Summarizing the pilot experiences, it appears that the leader guides were instrumental in introducing population education topics to young men and women. For example, in Ethiopia "the content of the modules was praised as being very relevant to the lives of the participants and to date they have enjoyed the format of discussion and question and answer and group participation, " according to the national consultant of the project. However, the leader guides in participating countries remained rather similar in format and content to the prototypes, even after adaptation. Most organizations called them the "FAO Leader Guides," indicating that ownership was still with an international organization rather than with a local institution or with the youth itself.

As expressed in the above example from Peru, the need for local ownership of educational materials calls for a change in the role that prototype materials should play in future population education projects. Guides designed to be used worldwise need to focus more on how to introduce population education topics, rather than on providing already prepared sessions. This implies that methodological guides, e. g. on how to conduct training needs and resource assessments, how to introduce sensitive topics such as sex education in group discussion, how to organize and prepare training materials or how to evaluate a training session need to receive higher priority than they have so far.

In conclusion, while the leader guides were adapted to local conditions, training participants argued during the review that if the guides had been prepared in the region or in-country, they would reflect more accurately the local realities. This would be particularly important for the guides that build upon distinct agro-ecological conditions or cultural norms. FAO may be in a position to assist such a process by facilitating exercises on how to prepare educational materials and organize training programmes locally. Thereby standard information (such as technical aspects of family planning methods) could be provided on disk, CD or other electronic medium in a word-processing format as external inputs.


The central role that gender plays in the success or failure of population education may appear obvious, but certainly needs to be underscored. It is only when young men and women understand about how rapid population growth affects their quality of life and standard of living, and decide jointly about family size issues that family planning can be effective. Thus, it is essential that population education programmes initiate a dialogue between young men and women on these issues, that they address the inferior socio-economic and socio-cultural status of women and their specific needs, and that they impart life skills that enable women to negotiate with men. Population education programmes targeting and/or addressing men alone have, in other words, little chance of success. In this context, the gender dimension of the inter-regional project constitutes a critical component of the entire pilot exercise.

The significance of gender did not receive the necessary attention in all of the pilot activities. This is reflected in the project documentation, which for the most part does not adequately address gender issues (including constraints, opportunities, the special needs of women, etc.), with some exceptions cited below. In particular, project country reports do not consistently document how many young men and women were trained as trainers or as youth leaders nor how many men and women were actually reached by the pilot activities. As a result, appendix 1, which documents the number of training participants by country, does not, in most cases, does not include a break down of trainees or beneficiaries by gender.

In Ethiopia, the near absence of young women from the pilot activities was repeatedly identified as a major obstacle to the success of the project by one consultant, who argued that "all groups are male dominated because the development agents have traditionally involved male farmers and because education is generally considered the prerogative of the male. "12 She continues: "The fact that 80% of the participants in the pilot project are male is no accident. It seems that female home extension agents who deal with women in farming communities have been deliberately excluded from the training workshop. Despite repeated instructions during the workshop that participation in the youth groups should be 50/50 male/female, the development agents chose male leaders who formed almost exclusively male groups because they decided that this kind of education (and more specifically the family planning sexual reproduction part) is not suitable for females... "13

12 O'Gorman, 4th Progress Report, Ethiopia pilot activity.

13 Ibid.

In Peru and Bolivia, there appears to have been an equal number of young men and women participating in the pilot activities. This may have been a result of the fact that in Peru, the training was not based exclusively on training-of-trainers and project implementation teams applied their own criteria for selecting the youth leader participants. In Ethiopia, the majority of the training participants was selected by trained trainers and not by the project implementation teams. This meant that the selection criteria became diluted. In effect, national project implementation teams needed training on how to set up proper training programmes, including how to select training participants, and how to ensure that women are among these participants, that they are not marginalized in the training process itself, and that they are empowered to participate in equal terms in the training as men.

In addition, it was found that population education concepts need to be gender sensitive both in terms of the messages imparted and in terms of the educational approach being used. In particular, the leader guide methodology on sex education is in need of further refinement. In Peru, for instance, it was underscored that the methodology on sex education requires additional adaptation and tailoring for specific audiences. Thus, to reach Peruvian indigenous communities in the Amazon, a different approach is needed from that used for non-indigenous communities. Furthermore, as the culture, norms and socio-economic status of Peruvian Indian women are different from those of non-Indian women, a different gender approach would also be needed.

Findings from the field assessment of the pilot activities also point to the fact that each region has specific gender problems that need to be addressed in population education for youth. In Asia, for instance, the traditional preference for male children, which is reflected in the saying: "You may have all the wealth in the world, but if you do not have a male child, it is for nothing, " is a population education issue: in several countries, the preference for male children is leading to a proportionally higher abortion of female fetuses. The FAO population education leader guides, however, do not address this issue of fetal/child discrimination nor of female infanticide, which is a pressing problem for many women in the region.

In China, male out-migration from rural areas is a major concern for young men and women alike. As men are the first to migrate and male children have a priority in attending schools, it is the women and girls that are left behind with the responsibility of farming. This has both negative and positive implications: on the one hand, women assume an even greater burden, but, on the other hand, this may eventually lead to the erosion of the traditional supremacy of the male and give women some financial independence. Population education could assist in promoting the positive ramifications of this "feminization of agriculture." The FAO leader guides could make a substantial contribution in this direction by addressing this issue and making population education relevant to the immediate concerns of young men and women in China.

In Latin America, family relationships and problems in the family (including male/female roles, alcoholism, drug abuse, incest, etc.) are important issues for young men and women. These concerns, again, would need to be reflected in the leader guides, if they are to capture the attention of the youth in Latin America.

Box 8: Ethiopia: The Need for a Focus on Gender

"...the statistics tell the story more clearly. The total fertility rate is 7.5 children per woman and the maternal mortality rate is 700 per 100,000 live births. 17,000 women of childbearing age die each year of complications. Early marriage and reproduction in rural areas begins at 12 -14 years. The average prevalence of teenage pregnancies is 20%. In the pilot areas abduction of females for forced marriage begins as early as eight years and is one of the major causes of high drop out rates among females at primary school level. A population education programme aimed at rural youth must take the issue of female subjugation seriously."

Source: M. O'Gorman (5th Progress Report, INT/92/P94 Ethiopia Pilot Activity)

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring, for the purpose of this review, is defined as a continuous assessment both of the functioning of project activities in the context of implementation schedules and of the use of project inputs by targeted populations in the context of design expectations. Monitoring is an internal project activity and an essential part of good management practice. Evaluation is the periodic assessment of the relevance, performance, efficiency and impact of the project in the context of its stated activities.

"No evaluation can be better than the quality of the facts and figures on which it was based. Facts and figures are never given, they are always produced by somebody."14 This statement highlights the importance of setting up a framework for monitoring and evaluation which ensures the collection and analysis of data at various levels of project implementation. Particularly relevant is monitoring and evaluation information in pilot projects, as this allows for testing innovative methodologies, approaches or materials. Thus, "producing" and documenting lessons learned, is, in effect, an implicit project output.

14 Elzinga, Aant: Evaluating the Evaluation Game: On the Methodology of Project Evaluation, with Special Reference to Development Cooperation, Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries, 1981.

The original project document included a monitoring and evaluation table, which provided a general indication of the types and frequency of monitoring as well as progress indicators and means of verification. The suggestions made therein are relevant mainly for the inter-regional level of project implementation, such as annual progress reports (from FAO to UNFPA), mission and workshop reports.

The country implementation teams were provided with a framework (see Box 6 above), in which Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys with pre- and post-testing for measuring project impact were proposed. It was also recommended to review, discuss and document lessons learned, as well as to make revisions in the leader guides, and to assess and document the value of the effectiveness of the materials.

However, the implementation framework did not include specific agreed-upon guidelines on what type of information to collect and analyze in the pilot process, or how to do this. It was left up to the country implementation teams to develop strategies for monitoring the progress of project activities. As a result, the quality of the information base for monitoring and evaluation was not uniform, but depended on the emphasis that national project teams placed on this aspect of project implementation.

Several teams reported that the budget of the pilot projects did not adequately cover the cost of collecting, monitoring and evaluating information. For example:

· The national project coordinator in Ethiopia highlighted budget limitations in her reports: "With regard to on-going field evaluation, the structure which has developed to date is that the consultant/coordinator visits approximately four development agents per week with the two chief supervisors. Observations and notes are compared and discussed at the end of each set of visits....Overall, the biggest disappointment has been the inability of the consultant to carry out a proper evaluation of all the youth group projects due to the non-availability of transport and the lack of follow-up resources to develop this work."

· The project implementation team in Vietnam had set up a sophisticated procedure for monitoring and evaluating the pilot training through national and provincial officers. However, the final report of the Vietnam pilot activity was accompanied by a letter which also highlighted budget limitations, as was the case with Ethiopia: "As you are aware, this project, as planned with great distances to travel to and from project sites, large range of educational themes requiring long duration of two level training workshops and three field testing drives, a big number of participating youths and field testing sessions, is probably too small for such time-, effort-, and finance-consuming components."

· A report on the pilot activity in Peru further pointed out the financial constraints involved in monitoring and evaluation: "The budget constraints of the project limit adequate follow-up of the trained leaders and the groups they established in their respective communities. In some cases there might not have been a multiplicator effect in the dissemination of the leader guides and training of groups through the trained leaders."

· The difficulty in setting up a uniform monitoring and evaluation procedure for each of the participating youth organizations was explained by the National Project Coordinator in Zimbabwe: "Each organisation had been given an opportunity to plan its own agenda. Some organisations do have full time staff others do not. ... Some are more active during school holidays, while others have their target groups at hand during the school term ... There is a strong need to allow the project fit into the normal on-going practices of youth group activities."

The felt shortage of funds for monitoring and evaluation may be related to the fact that the concept of "piloting" was not sufficiently elaborated in the project document. Also, it appeared during the field assessment that the concept of "piloting" was not adequately communicated to the participating institutions. As adaptation, testing and training in the use of the leader guides were introduced in the countries as "pilot projects", the expectation was created that after the pilot phase, a main phase would follow. In some cases, this lack of follow-up led to disappointment on the part of the counterpart institutions. The Chairman of SCANVYO in Zimbabwe, for example, said: "Why does one embark on a pilot project to test a methodology, when there are no funds for a main phase? The section on follow-up below elaborates further on this issue.

Regional workshops could play an important role in monitoring and evaluation. Networking and exchange of programme priorities among implementation teams of the various countries could be used to set up a system of self-evaluation. In the beginning of the pilot process, participating institutions could meet to agree on monitoring and evaluation criteria, which are especially important to observe during the pilot process, and to jointly develop pilot plans. At the end of a pilot sequence, lessons learned in each country and possibilities for follow-up could be discussed. As some of the INT/92/P94 pilot activities are still on-going, FAO and UNFPA could still hold the originally planned meetings to discuss the pilot experiences of implementation teams from South America (Peru, Bolivia, Colombia) and Asia (Indonesia, Thailand).

A uniform summary sheet on the experience of participants and participating institutions at the country level prepared before the implementation of the pilot activities would facilitate the review of the pilot experiences at the inter-regional level. Such a brief structured summary could include standardized as well as open-ended questions reviewing the relevance and impact of the project on the beneficiaries, the successes and constraints experienced by the country level implementing agency and the need for support services needed from international organizations. Below are some sample questions:

a) Participant level (youth, trained youth leaders, trained trainers)

How was the population education training (booklets) of benefit to you? in terms of:

- what you learned (knowledge acquired)
- what you do (skills)
- how you think about population issues (attitudes)

How have you made use of what you learned in the population education training?

What topics of the population education training were most interesting and most relevant to you and why?

What other activities related to population issues and adolescent health would you like to learn about and why?

b) Country pilot activity implementation level (experiences of implementation teams, collaborating institutions, training consultants and workshop facilitators);

How was the training organized? (Number of training cycles, location, time, duration)

How many male and female trainees participated in the activity at various training levels?

How were the training modules used in the exercise?

How many copies of the training modules were reproduced?

What were the main achievements of the pilot activity?

What were the main difficulties?

What were the lessons learned from the implementation process at the country level (train the trainers concept, training location, number and level of participants, assessment of training results, use of the leader guides)

What would you find useful follow-up to the pilot activities? Who or which group (male/female) benefited most from the training, how and why?

c) The inter-regional level (linkages between the pilot activities, support received from FAO and UNFPA, exchange of experiences)

What were the criteria and most efficient channels in identifying partner organizations?

What were the major difficulties in setting up logistical support for country level pilot activities (Letters of Agreement, Terms of Reference, availability of materials)?

What were the lessons learned from the implementation process at the inter-regional level (selection of institutions, the role of inter-regional/regional workshops, institutionalisation, training concepts)?

What additional headquarters support is necessary for country level activities (developing a common understanding, framework and guidelines, providing training to implementation teams (e. g. in monitoring and evaluation)?

How can UNFPA/FAO collaboration at the country level be enhanced?

What follow-up is needed?

In conclusion, the pilot activities produced a wealth of information and valuable lessons on integrating population education into different non-formal settings. As a pilot exercise, however, more emphasis would have been needed to develop in the early stage of the project a common structure for analysis, to assist the implementation partners to collect information and to analyze and document lessons learned. The difference in quality of country pilot activity reports suggests that training of implementation teams in monitoring and evaluating pilot projects should be considered an essential component of future population education pilot projects.

The impact of population education training

The impact of the project in most participating countries was assessed through formal questionnaires, including Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys, before and at the end of the training exercise. Using this procedure, most countries reported that the training had a positive impact.

An extensive baseline and impact survey of approximately 300 youths was conducted in Zimbabwe. The following table shows some of the results:

Table 2: Impact of Population Education Pilot Activity in Zimbabwe

Baseline Survey January 1994

Impact Survey April 1994

Percentage aware of dangers of early motherhood



Percentage agreeing to youth having access to contraceptives



Percentage discussing population issues



Average number of children wanted per couple



According to the survey, population education in Zimbabwe had an impact on the awareness of young men and women of the dangers of early motherhood, the acceptability of using contraceptives, and the number of youth discussing population issues. Most importantly, perhaps, the training seems to have had an impact on the desired number of children young people wanted to have.

The Vietnam final report also highlights the positive impact of the population education training among the youth:

"Analysis of the workshop report, evaluation sheet and questionnaires completed by every trainee showed that all the trainees knowledge and awareness of the training subject was enhanced, their grasp of working methods, their application of working skills was improved and they were obviously well prepared for the role as group leaders for field testing sessions at their bases".

The pilot activity in China was similarly evaluated positively: "Through evaluation we can see that this project was a success, and has achieved good results. Through the population education programmes the young participants have benefited in the following ways:

a) They have improved their knowledge of the relationships between population growth and distribution of the resources needed for agricultural production.

b) They have improved their understanding of the relationships between population, employment and quality of life; and ability to identify employment opportunities for youth through proper utilization of local resources.

c) They have learned practical skills and increased competitiveness in the market economy

d) They have learned the knowledge of proper nutrition, health care and the importance of breast feeding for the child and the mother. They have now paid more attention to sanitation facilities.

e) They have now understood the advantage of a small family (fewer children) and the country's family planning policy of one couple one child."

In the interpretation of these results, however, it is important to recognize that Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys were administered shortly after the training, when the subject matter was still fresh. Also, as exposure to training and materials was limited in terms of duration, monitoring changes in knowledge, attitude, and practice over a longer-term period would yield a more accurate assessment.

On the basis of such concerns, the training organizers in Peru were reluctant to report a change in knowledge, attitude and practice among youths. According to the final report, "programmes in population education using the leader guides need to be integrated into a long-term educational process, where the educational contents are internalized and translated into a change of attitude and practice. No leader guide and no discussion by itself will produce changes when they are not accompanied by a systematic and long-term process." The implementation team consequently proposed that "to know results in knowledge, attitude and practice changes, a longer-term follow-up of the experience with the participating groups is necessary."

In terms of the number of young men and women reached, the impact of the pilot activities is also dealt with in the sections on institutionalisation and training above and in Appendix 1, which summarizes pilot activities on a country by country basis. Given the constraints encountered in institutionalizing population education in youth organizations, the issue of expanding activities in order to reach a greater number of youths and have nation-wide impact remains to be resolved.

Follow-up to pilot activities at the national level

The project document pointed out that country level pilot activities would be considered complete once the leader guides were adapted to the local conditions, and that thereafter, resources from other national programmes would be needed to expand upon activities with out-of-school rural youth.

UNFPA country programmes were mentioned in the project document as a potential source of funding for follow-up activities at the country level. At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, adolescents received high priority. In fact, the conference programme of action states that:

"Countries should aim to meet the needs and aspirations of youth, particularly in the areas of formal and non-formal education, training, employment opportunities, housing and health, thereby ensuring their integration and participation in all spheres of society, including participation in the political process and preparation for leadership roles."

The leader of the UNFPA Country Support Team for East and South East Asia described adolescents as a priority audience for UNFPA-supported programmes and attributed special significance to working with youth in rural areas, given their limited access to educational opportunities. In addition, he specifically underscored the potential for FAO/UNFPA collaboration in working with out-of-school youth.

Despite the increasing importance that UNFPA has been placing on working with rural youth, the transition from inter-regional project activities to follow-up through national programmes proved to be difficult for the following reasons:

· UNFPA Country Directors maintained that they had not been involved in the planning of the pilot activities and were, therefore, not able to make timely adjustments in their country programmes. Some had only been informed of the pilot activities after these had already started. The UNFPA Country Director in Zimbabwe, for example, expressed her concern regarding FAO Headquarters-initiated projects imposing programmes on a country without first consulting with the Country Office. This may well be an obstacle in planning project follow-up activities that are in line with the country programme.

· The population education pilot activities were not coordinated with other programmes at the country level. In Zimbabwe, for example, the UNFPA programme had recently funded a population education project with the Boy Scouts, using a different set of population education materials. The FAO pilot activity was thus partly duplicating these earlier efforts.

· Some counterpart institutions of the regional project were not considered to have sufficiently-developed institutional capacity to implement larger follow-up activities.

On the part of the counterpart institutions, the pilot activities in effect created considerable interest in follow-up:

· The 'Consejo Regional de Población (COREPO)' in Peru prepared a proposal for follow-up, which was submitted to UNFPA and FAO. UNFPA indicated interest in continued support for population education for out-of-school youth in Loreto Region, but mentioned that FAO should provide a framework (e. g. a technical cooperation project) in which population education could be integrated. As the COREPO proposal still needs further refinement, both FAO and UNFPA could provide technical support.

· In China, the UNFPA country programme has so far not indicated interest in supporting follow-up to the pilot activities. However, some continuity to the pilot training was provided through the FAO/UNFPA Population, Women and Development Programme, but this is also coming to a closure.

· Interest in follow-up was also expressed by the Vietnamese Youth Federation. Their terminal report states: "... we very much hope that with the serious and fruitful efforts already shown by our project staff in the capacity as practical tester of the series .... FAO could favour us with affirmative response so that this guidebook series could be made available to the Vietnamese rural youth leaders and youth cadres." A proposal for a follow-up project "Popular Use of FAO Leader's Guides in Vietnam" was drafted during the FAO training workshop in Manila, 17-20 October 1994. This was revised, reformulated and formally submitted to FAO Headquarters in March 1995.

· The director of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) in Zimbabwe, the counterpart institution for the organization of pilot activities pointed out: "The Letter of Agreement should have foreseen some resources for a local consultant to organize follow-up to the pilot activities in Zimbabwe." Proposals for follow-up to the programme are available. However, donors still need to be identified. This requires fundraising on the part of the umbrella NGO, which was not foreseen in the project document as part of the counterpart institution's responsibilities.

Many participating youth organizations in Zimbabwe maintained that they had not received adequate support for follow-up and were "left in the middle of the pilot exercise":

- The national secretary of the Girls Brigade in Zimbabwe said: "We would have expected a donor to look into the evaluation study of the pilot activities and to tell us if we could continue with population education."

- The chief commissioner of the Boy Scouts pointed out: "As proposed in the leader guides, population education would need to be integrated into practical activities, such as planting trees, rabbit keeping, marketing horticulture products, but so far we did not receive funds to continue work along these lines. "

- The national youth coordinator of YMCA pointed out: "The major weakness in the implementation of the pilot activities was that nobody really had thought about "What next". We have stimulated and excited the youth, but nobody has gone back to fulfill the expectations that were created."

- The chairman of the Standing Conference of Voluntary National Youth Organizations expressed his concern for follow-up as follows: "Why does one embark on a pilot project to test a methodology, when there are no funds for a main phase?"

In conclusion, the population education pilot activities created considerable interest as well as high expectations in terms of a full-fledged project on the part of the organizations that work with young men and women at the grass roots level. However, so far, follow-up action at the country level has been difficult due to a lack in resources on the part of youth organizations and the absence of involvement and coordination of the pilot activities with UNFPA country programmes, (which could have assisted financially in follow-up, in the planning and implementation stages of INT/92/P94 pilot activities.)

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