Does Doing More Result in Doing Better? Exploring Synergies in an Integrated Population, Health and Environment Project in East Africa
Population, health and environment (PHE) projects are an increasingly popular strategy for addressing lack of access to healthcare and livelihood opportunities in settings with threats to biodiversity loss. PHE projects integrate services and messaging from different development sectors, including health (particularly family planning), conservation and livelihoods. However, a question remains: do such projects produce value-added outcomes; that is, synergistic effects as a result of integration across sectors? Using qualitative data to explore value-added outcomes resulting from a PHE project serving communities along Lake Victoria in Kenya and Uganda, this study explores several theories about why this integrated project may be generating value-added outcomes, including changes in established gender roles, as well as substitution of time and investment of new income into sustainable livelihood activities, particularly among women. Integration led to several value-added benefits, particularly for women, although long-term sustainability of project outcomes remains a key concern.