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"Catalyzing Integration" series provides guidance to multisectoral development

April 25, 2017

Succinctly explaining what integrated development means can be difficult, even for seasoned development professionals. Busy funders, implementers and decisionmakers might not be familiar with this term or have the time to dig into the evidence for what works and what does not when it comes to integrating different sectors. That is why FHI 360 has created the "Catalyzing Integration" series of briefs.

baby getting arm measuredThis series offers a closer look at integration among specific development sectors, including the rationale for integration, evidence on its impact, promising practices, key tools and other technical resources. To date, the briefs include the following topics:

These briefs can help people who are working in one sector explore how to add components of other sectors to their activities. The briefs can also help people who are already working on integrated projects support and advocate for the work they do. Designed to catalyze conversations about integration, the series will evolve in response to the needs of our staff and colleagues.

One important way to begin cross-sector communication is to learn the language and culture of other sectors. Another is to think about issues that sectors have in common and where the gaps are among them. After understanding commonalities and gaps, stakeholders may be better able to craft effective, customized solutions that address multiple sectors with similar goals.

As an example, the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education brief shows how improving WASH facilities in schools can dramatically improve the quality of education. Evidence suggests that schools with functioning WASH systems achieve better educational outcomes through improvements in school attendance and achievement, health, nutrition, hydration (which is linked to cognition) and gender equity. In turn, better outcomes have an indirect impact on future learning, earnings and health.

The series began with conversations that FHI 360 staff had with colleagues. In Kenya, FHI 360’s APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde project used an integrated approach to address HIV. Not only did the project provide improved health care, but it also worked with partners on economic empowerment services, tutoring in education, nutrition counseling, and promoting healthy hygiene practices and improved sanitation facilities. When staff were asked what resources would be most helpful to them, they said they needed something tangible that answers the question, “Why integrate these sectors?” They can now share this resource with colleagues, funders and other interested parties.

To learn more about FHI 360’s work on multisector solutions, see our Integrated Development practice area.

Photo credit: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360