Integrating culture into development strategy for reproductive health [Archives:2008/1209/Local News]

November 20 2008

By: Salma Ismail
SANA'A, Nov. 19 ) The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) last week released its annual State of the World Population Report for 2008 worldwide. The launching of the report in Yemen took place at Sana'a University and was attended by a number of representatives from the ministries of health and information, the National Population Council, as well as a number of academia and researchers.

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the fifth report of the UNFPA, entitled Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights, focuses on cultural politics and development, and examines gender inequality and cultural differences with regards to reproductive health. It asserts the importance of cultural interaction with development strategies.

It argues for an approach that modifies development programs so that they are compatible with local cultural tradition: “Culturally sensitive programming is key to building common ground. It provides a practical and strategic response to the observation that cultural beliefs and perceptions are at the root of gender inequalities in many societies.””

The document calls for breaking the cultural barriers that hinder better communication between men and women on issues of sexuality and reproductive health and calls for the understanding of the joint responsibilities of women and men as equal partners in both their public and private lives. “”Men play a key role in bringing about gender equality since