176755 Institutional Strengthening Sustains Improved Reproductive Health in Central America

Monday, October 27, 2008: 5:30 PM

Esther Tahrir, MPH , International Health Programs, Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Josephine Ramos, MA , International Health Programs, Public Health Institute, Santa Cruz, CA
Denise Dunning, MPA/MA , Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Purpose of Work

Since 2005, International Health Programs' (IHP) of the Public Health Institute is improving the community response within Central America and Mexico to support adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) and youth leadership development through increasing the capacity of organizations participating in IHP's Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven).


IHP strengthens organizational and community capacity through providing an annual series of workshops and project grants to organizations and institutions that influence ASRH. IHP conducted assessments of organizational needs and provided 30 Institutional Strengthening (IS) workshops between 2005 and 2007 to build organizational competency in ASRH. In 2006, IHP launched a small grants program to award IS grants to GOJoven organizations to increase internal capacity in ASRH. IHP has funded 35 IS projects focused primarily on in-service training of youth, government personnel, and health professionals to improve ASRH.


Participants report having used the information and strategies from IS workshops to improve ASRH and form networks of organizations that are working together to improve ASRH policies and services locally and nationally. Over 200 IS workshop participants, representing 100 organizations, report increased capacity and commitment to meet ASRH needs. IS Grantees report increased organizational capacity and support of youth leaders and have positively impacted over 1000 youth and community members with enhanced ASRH services and programs.


Including an IS component in leadership development programs is an effective way to increase capacity to improve ASRH. Providing IS workshops builds community networks and strengthens organizational capacity. Small grants programs can improve organizational capacity and encourage sustainable long-term improvements in community health.

Learning Objectives:
List the key components of an institutional strengthening process to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health at a community level. Explain the potential of organizational strengthening as a strategy to sustain improved community level reproductive health outcomes

Keywords: Adolescents, International, Organizational Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project director.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.