Final Presentation - PHE (Population, Health and the Environment)

Jen Crick

My final project focused on PHE – the integrated Population, Health and Environment approach to tackling major issues at local levels, and eventually international levels. PHE, as defined in the first link, has been proven to be highly effective and successful, and receives whole hearted endorsements as an integral strategy for environmentalism and human rights by numerous organizations, including the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Population Reference Bureau, and USAID. Tackling these issues together, rather t han apart reduces redundancy in funds spent by individual non-profits, meaning that PHE collaboration groups can do more with the same amount of money. The PHE Networks in Eastern Africa and the Philippines have met with success and enthusiasm from the communities that they are improving, which is vital to the sustainability of any environmental project.

The following links more clearly and cleverly articulate PHE than I ever could:

This one really should be read first as it gives a rather concise overview of Integrated PHE      

Second, the following link, especially the PDF entitled, "Why Environmentalists Care About Family Planning Around the World Factsheet," offers some really great ways of making the connections between population, reproductive health and rights, and the environment.    

The following is a basic overview of some successful USAID PHE Programs and implementation strategies:

UNFPA is doing some excellent work in PHE, and their site gives an excellent overview and methods of project implementation and    

This is a brief summary of the Millennium Development Goals, and will clear up any confusion on what UNFPA is referencing:      

Finally, here’s some more food for thought for Americans who will be voting in the 2008 Election. This article discusses how the election will influence global population growth, and raises questions about the more specific issue of funding for PHE programs through UNFPA and USAID:


Class discussion centered on making the connections between family planning and the environment, and especially on the reception of PHE Projects by the local communities involved. The argument was that environmentalism is too often an educated, white-collar movement, and that these sorts of projects could enforce Western beliefs on people in desperate need of help rather than preaching. Earlier this spring I traveled to the Philippines on a study tour with the Sierra Club, so I can speak from personal experience. In the Philippines, these projects center on community involvement, and offer education and resources to anyone who wants them rather than trying to promulgate a specific viewpoint. These programs focus on making available the privileges of Western society to people in developing nations by addressing their immediate needs for family planning, health care, and ways to mitigate environmental degradation.

The USAID-funded World Wildlife Fund PHE Project site that we visited in Roxas was entirely staffed and supported by the community, and WWF was withdrawing in the next year because the community had not only embraced it, but really run with it. The local governments had even gotten involved, pledging to fund the PHE project in a growing number of barangays, (sectors of the town) and really enforcing the mandate for comprehensive sexuality education before marriage. WWF had initially gone in to set up a protect area of water to allow for the fish populations to recover from overfishing, and now that the Marine Protected Area is a productive, thriving part of the community’s sources of food, it’s citizens of Roxas that enforce the MPA’s boundaries.

In Manila, the capital city, we met with some midwives and their patients who were incredibly thankful for the USAID funding that free clinics had received, because it meant that more women, especially ones that could not previously afford it, could access pre-natal and reproductive healthcare. PHE programs are such a worthwhile endeavor, because, even though they serve relatively small numbers of people, they do so successfully and sustainably by getting the community on-board and proud to be involved, and by planning for a future that everyone, Filipino, American and otherwise, must be a part of.

Any questions? Please, please email me, link’s at the top of the page.

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last updated 2/18/08