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International capacity building and sustainability policy


Family Planning NSW is a leader in building the capacity of the reproductive and sexual health workforce. We believe that it is an essential strategy for strengthening health systems and developing stable and effective services. This results in improved reproductive and sexual health outcomes for all people.


Term Meaning
Capacity building In health it is "the development of sustainable skills, organisational structures and commitment to health improvement to prolong and multiply gains over time." EuroHealthnet

It is essential for creating sustainability of programs and achievements and strengthening health systems

Sustainable development Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

Sustainability In donor funded development programs it is "the continuation of benefits after major assistance from a donor has ended." (DFAT 2000)


Family Planning NSW International Programme


4.1. Capacity building is an essential element in creating sustainability of a program beyond the life of a project.
4.2. Our international capacity building work draws from our work in Australia and is customised to meet the unique needs of the partners we work with in the Indo Pacific region.
4.3 Family Planning NSW shares the six priority areas of action outlined in the capacity building model developed by IUHPE and Eurohealthnet. These are:
  1. Skills development

    We do this by:

    • Developing and delivering training packages that increase the skills, knowledge and attitudes of people working at a local and national level.
    • Using methods such as in-class and workplace training and assessment, as well as individual mentoring and coaching and online learning.
    • Working with educational institutions to integrate training in reproductive and sexual health into undergraduate and post graduate courses.


  2. Policy development

    We do this by:

    • Working with government to review existing policies and supporting the development of new policies, plans and strategies on reproductive and sexual health issues.


  3. Organisational development

    We do this by:

    • Providing technical advice to partners to develop policies and procedures on governance, staffing, service provision
    • Providing on-site support for project management and related activities
    • Creating links between staff of partner organisations and Family Planning NSW to share knowledge and skills
    • Sharing tools and assisting partners to develop strategies appropriate to their operational context


  4. Partnership development and leadership

    We do this by:

    • Facilitating collaboration between organisations both government and non-government, across sectors
    • Conducting collaborative partner capacity assessments to identify strengths and areas for development
    • Sharing information about strategies successfully implemented in other contexts


  5. Developing the information and evidence base

    We do this by:

    • Conducting needs assessments, situational analyses, baseline and endline surveys, evaluation methods, research and using other sources of data to inform activities and project development
    • Providing technical advice on data system development, data collection and reporting. Training and coaching people to plan, conduct and report on evaluations.


  6. Awareness raising and advocacy

    We do this by:

    • Using evidence and information to create communication and educational resources and key messages to support the work of partners
    • Providing advice on communication strategies and tools


4.4. Family Planning NSW strives to build the capacity of partners in relation to child protection. Partners are required to develop child protection policies and adopt appropriate child protection strategies. As required, child protection training is provided to in-country partners.
4.5. Family Planning NSW works closely with partners in ensuring the control of funds, from providing capacity building in budget development, performing regular audits of receipts, ensuring external audits are performed and issues addressed and where necessary, performing additional financial audits where concerns are raised. KPIs are included in project memorandum of understanding with partners and monitored during in-country visits.  
4.6. All projects will be designed to have a capacity building approach or activity as a strategy to promote sustainability. This will be developed in collaboration with in-country partners and other stakeholders.
4.7. Monitoring and evaluation plans will include collecting data on capacity building activities to build knowledge and evidence on the impact of capacity building in contributing to project goals and sustainability.
4.8. Staff will have skills in, or be supported to develop skills, in professional and community education – including design of programs, session planning, facilitation and evaluation
4.9. Educational materials designed by Family Planning NSW will draw on best practice and be evidence based, reflecting national and international competencies and standards. Materials will be customised for the local context and will be tested, reviewed and documented.
4.10. Materials developed for capacity building activities such as advocacy and community awareness will be part of the initial project design and will be accurate, based on evidence and tested as appropriate. The needs of diverse audiences will be addressed including people with low literacy and young people.



Item (Reference in document) Audit frequency/evidence Person responsible / Desired outcome
Monitoring and evaluation to enable evaluation of effectiveness of capacity building Project reports Senior Project Officer, Research and Evaluation


Capacity Building and Awareness Raising Actions to address the social determinants of health and to improve health equity. International Union for Health Promotion and Education and EuroHealthNet September 2009

Promoting Practical Sustainability DFAT 2000

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