A Systematic Review and Assessment of UNFPA’a and IPHC’s Strategic Activities in the Indigenous Peoples Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health and Nutrition Mindanao Project

AUTHOR/S: Christine S. Diaz, Efren John P. Sabado, Rosemary M. Fernandez




             The study was conceptualized as a response to the need to revisit the strategic activities of UNFPA and DMSF-IPHC in the bigger IP-MNCHN Project since 2013. As parameters of the study, the study sought to explore and describe the following:

  1. Strategic activities of UNFPA and IPHC corresponding to the KRAs of the project as perceived by selected UNFPA and IPHC personnel;
  2. Different perspectives and experiences of project beneficiaries in selected projects sites on the strategic activities or initiatives of the project that they attribute to IP-MNCHN and UNFPA/IPHC;
  3. Prevalent constructs and issues on FP and SRH from the narratives of selected project beneficiaries in the seven pilot areas; and,
  4. Qualitative differences between the results of the current study (objective #3) and the results of the 2013 KAP study in the seven pilot areas.

         The study gathered quantitative and qualitative data from twelve barangays (ICCs) located in five municipalities in Mindanao to cover the four research parameters using household survey (HHS), focus group discussion (FGD), and key informant interview (KII) as research techniques. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were employed as data analysis strategies. As sampling techniques, the 400 household survey respondents were randomly selected while FGD and KII participants were purposefully chosen based on predefined characteristics.

         The results of the KIIs highlight the holistic understanding of UNFPA and IPHC personnel when it comes to their different strategic activities that correspond to the project KRAs. Various initiatives such as health fairs, capacitation of indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs), and support for health structures were cited as strategic activities across the KRAs. Interestingly, similar initiatives were identified by the HHS respondents. The top three activities which they related to UNFPA and IPHC are seminar and services in family planning (FP), seminar and services related to the health needs of children, and seminar and services related to pregnancy and giving birth. Although they considered these services beneficial, they believed that the location of their barangays, limited budget, and the absence of support from the barangay residents made it difficult for UNFPA and IPHC to implement the different strategic activities. They also believed that support from the barangay captain and the tribal chief are essential to ensure the success of the strategic activities.

             From the FGDs, even though traditional and technically wrong notions on FP and SRH are still apparent, the respondents’ narratives surfaced striking views and experiences. For instance, there is awareness of the country’s increasing population and FP being one of the mechanisms to address this reality. On the other hand, other than controlling the size of the family, FP and SRH are seen as crucial to maintaining healthy relationships in the family. The need to assure a better future for the children was cited as one of the overarching reasons why it is important to utilize FP and SRH services. However, amidst claims that the activities of UNFPA and IPHC have contributed to changes in the way they view FP and SRH, the inability of some respondents to clearly identify FP and SRH services as distinct services from the array of health services call for more reflection and rethinking of current strategies in health service delivery.

From the results, hereunder are the research implications and recommendations:

  1. Activities that were positively regarded such as health fairs be conducted in all project sites. Nevertheless, it is imperative to take advantage of these activities to deliver other necessary services related to health such as learning sessions on financial literacy and livelihood.
  2. It is productive for the implementing organizations especially UNFPA and IPHC to conduct project closure-convergence meetings among its personnel to learn from the coordinative or collaborative skill utilized and learned in the course of the project implementation. These learnings are valuable for similar engagements in the future.
  3. Recommendations made in 2013 be revisited in order to address similar predicaments such as the difficulty of beneficiaries in retaining correct information of FP and SRH.
  4. The conduct of a more systematic needs assessment in the project pre-implementation phase will help ensure the strategic matching between beneficiaries’ needs and project interventions. 
  5. The crafting of community-based or community-determined sustainability plans is essential to assure continuity of the project gains. 
  6. During the pre-implementation phase which includes social preparation, it is imperative to have a clear inter-agency networking plan. 
  7. For similar engagements in the future, it is crucial to conduct researches that will generate clear evidence that will serve as a basis for planning, tracking of desired changes, profiling of target beneficiaries, among others. 


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