Country Programme of Cooperation 1997-2001
The normal programme cycle for UNICEF is five years and São Tomé is no exception. UNICEF´s principal partner is the government of São Tomé e Principe. More recently, UNICEF has begun to expand its allies to include non-governmental organizations, associations and the media.
In the context of United Nations Reform, programme cycles are now harmonized in time with the sister agencies present in São Tomé. In 1999, UNICEF participated in a team building exercise in N'Djamena with the sister agencies of six Central African countries, elaborating a work plan for a United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for São Tomé. The Framework is currently being elaborated and will cover the period 2002-2006, forming the basis for common development strategies.
For the first time in the history of the cooperation between the government and UNICEF, a Mid Term Review was held and took place in July 1999 . The Review at the Palacio dos Congressos was attended by government ministers, representatives of national and local government, NGOs, members of Parliament, UN agencies and the diplomatic corps. The Mid Term Review made a number of mid-course corrections for the remainder of the programme cycle. General recommendations centered on the need to establish sectoral policies and advocate for reform; to improve coordination between government, NGOs and UNICEF through the adoption of tripartite project agreements; and to support the government in elaborating a national strategy of HIV/AIDS prevention.
The MTR recommended for the Health Programme to expand the Bamako Initiative to 50 % of the population by 2001; for the Education Programme to elaborate a Girls Education Project; support the government in physically integrating 5th and 6th grades in the primary school system; and to reformulate a project benefitting children who are not in school. The MTR further recommended that the Water and Sanitation Programme become more focussed on community participation.
In May 2000, preparations began for a new Country Programme of Co-operation 2002-2006. A Programme Strategy Retreat at Club Santana, attended by key government counterparts, improved and adopted a draft Strategy Paper. The document was further elaborated during July and will be the principal document to be adopted by the Strategy Meeting scheduled for 27 September 2000. Two Programmes are proposed: Basic Services and Social Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. The next update of the web site will list some of the principal objectives and strategies. The new Country Programme will be much more rights-based and focused on Early Childhood Care. Moreover, UNICEF intends to strengthen support in social planning and statistics.
The current country programme in São Tomé has several general objectives such as: promotion of quality of life; mortality reduction of children under five years of age; reduction of maternal mortality; reduction of malnutritition; improvement of coverage and quality of health services and education; and capacity building and empowerment of communities. More specific objectives are covered by sector and follow closely the objectives of the National Programme of Action for Children, which is in turn is based on the goals adopted at the World Summit on Children in 1990. Next year will be the final year of the current cycle.
The country programme consists of three sectors: Health Programme; Education Programme; and Water and Sanitation Programme. Each is in turn made up of a number of projects and activities. At every one of these levels, there are objectives whose performance and expenditures can be monitored against relevant indicators.
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