Capacity Building

For UNFPA, capacity-building support to countries may include training activities for national counterparts, improving technical and organizational processes and functions, improving the functioning of systems and mechanisms involving a network of partners and stakeholders, and addressing the needs of communities for information through advocacy and awareness-raising activities.

Caesarean section/ C-section

The surgical incision through the abdominal wall and uterus, performed to deliver a fetus.

Calendar method (sometimes called the rhythm method)

The method contraception which uses records of previous menstrual cycles to predict the fertile period. The first fertile day is calculated by subtracting 18 days from the first day of menstruation of the shortest menstrual cycle. The last fertile day is calculated by subtracting 11 days from the longest cycle.

CAP - Consolidated Appeal Process

The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is a programme cycle for aid organisations to plan, coordinate, fund, implement, and monitor their response to disasters and emergencies, in consultation with governments.


Community-based distribution (CBD) is the approach to delivering family planning and sexual and reproductive health services which does not require a clinic setting. Individuals who live in and are members of the community are trained to provide health education, advice and supplies, and to make referrals.


Crude Birth Rate (CBR). See Birth Rate.


Common Country Assessment.


Crude Death Rate. See Death Rate.


The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the international treaty that was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. The human rights obligations established in this treaty are legally binding on its State parties.


Comprehensive emergeny obstetric and newborn care is the expansion of BEmONC with 2 additional life saving functions -blood transfusion and caesarian section.  See Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care facilities.


The population and housing census represents one of the pillars for data collection on the number and characteristics of the population of a country. It requires mapping the entire country, mobilizing and training an army of enumerators, conducting a massive public campaign, canvassing all households, collecting individual information, compiling vast amounts of completed questionnaires, and analyzing and disseminating the data.

The population and housing census is part of an integrated national statistical system, which may include other censuses (for example, agriculture), surveys, registers and administrative files. It provides, at regular intervals, the benchmark for population count at national and local levels.  For small geographical areas or sub-populations, it may represent the only source of information for certain social, demographic and economic characteristics.  For many countries the census also provides a solid framework to develop sampling frames.

CERF – Central Emergency Response Fund

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a humanitarian fund established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.

Cervical mucous

Fluid produced by the cervix? it changes in amount and consistency at different times of the menstrual cycle. Around the time of ovulation it is clear and slippery.

Cervical cap

The rubber cup which fits snugly around the base of the cervix to prevent pregnancy during intercourse.

Childbearing years

The span of ages (usually 15-49) at which individuals are capable of becoming parents. The phrase can be applied to men and women but most frequently refers to women.

Climate change

Technically, climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. It is generally used to refer to global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, which is warming of the climate and other related changes that are the result of human activity.


Country Office.


Country Office Annual Report.


Combined oral contraceptive. See Hormonal Contraception.


Group of people who experienced the same demographic event at the same time, e.g. birth cohort for people born in the same year or marriage cohort for people who married in the same year or same 5-year period.

Coitus interruptus

The male withdraws his penis just before ejaculating. Also called ‘withdrawal' or ‘pulling out'.


A watery substance that is secreted from the breast at the end of pregnancy and during the first few days after delivery.


Examination of (usually) the cervix through a colposcope, an instrument that is placed at the front of the vagina without touching the body and which can magnify the image of the cervix. 13 A dilute solution of acetic acid is applied to the region which causes abnormal areas to normally turn white, making them easier to identify.

Combination HIV prevention

The combination prevention approach seeks to achieve maximum impact on HIV prevention by combining behavioural, biomedical, and structural strategies that are human rights-based and evidence-informed, in the context of a well-researched and understood local epidemic. The foundation of combination prevention is ‘know your epidemic, know your response' gap analysis.

Community empowerment

Community empowerment refers to the process of enabling communities to increase control over their lives. "Communities" are groups of people that may or may not be spatially connected, but who share common interests, concerns or identities. These communities could be local, national or international, with specific or broad interests. 'Empowerment' refers to the process by which people gain control over the factors and decisions that shape their lives. It is the process by which they increase their assets and attributes and build capacities to gain access, partners, networks and/or a voice, in order to gain control. "Enabling" implies that people cannot "be empowered" by others; they can only empower themselves by acquiring more of power's different forms.

Community- led Organization

Organisations and networks that are run by communities for communities. More than fifty percent of their boards and employees are from the community. 

Community systems strengthening

The term ‘community systems strengthening' refers to initiatives that contribute to the development and/or strengthening of community-based organizations in order to increase knowledge of and access to improved health service delivery. It usually includes capacity-building of infrastructure and systems, partnership-building, and the development of sustainable financing solutions.

Comprehensive condom programming (CCP)

Condom programming for dual protection is a means to ensure that persons at risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and/or unintended pregnancy are motivated to use male and female condoms, have access to quality condoms, and can use them consistently and correctly. Comprehensive condom programming (CCP) addresses the various components that go into such an effort, including leadership, coordination, demand, supply and support. All of these components must be considered if a programme to promote male and female condoms is to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Concurrent sexual partnerships

Persons who have concurrent sexual partnerships are those who report at least two partners for which first sex was reported six months or longer ago, and the most recent sex is reported as less than or equal to six months ago. The phrases ‘concurrent sexual partnerships', ‘concurrent partnerships' or simply ‘concurrency' may be used, but expressions such as ‘multiple concurrent partnerships' or ‘MCP' should not be used to identify or describe concurrency.


The CONDOMIZE! Campaign is a UNFPA-led campaign advocating for increased condom availability, access and use with a strong focus on community development and participation.

Continuation rate

The number of users who continue to use any method of contraception, measured among a designated population (community, district, programme area), covering a specific period of time (month, quarter, or year). A continuation rate can also be measured for one specific method.

Continuum of Care

The "Continuum of Care" for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) includes integrated service delivery for mothers and children from pre-pregnancy to delivery, the immediate postnatal period, and childhood.

Contraceptive effectiveness

The extent to which a contraceptive method reduces the chance of conception. Theoretical effectiveness, or perfect use, refers to the efficacy of the method in laboratory conditions. Use effectiveness, or typical use is a measure of practical protection, taking into account failure to use the method correctly.

Contraceptive prevalence

Contraceptive Prevalence is the percentage of couples that use a contraceptive method.


A process of communication by which a person is helped to identify her or his sexual and reproductive health needs to make the most appropriate decisions about how to meet them. Counselling is characterized by an exchange of information and ideas, discussion and deliberation free of bias, coercion, violence, inaccurate information, and judgment, in a safe, confidential space, which is respectful, accessible and private.

Country Commodity Manager (CCM)

Country Commodity Manager (CCM), a software program that helps UNFPA Country Offices assess their reproductive health commodity requirements, stock positions and identify shortfalls. CCM also provides a mechanism to readily transmit each country's data to UNFPA headquarters from their country offices for use in generating global level reports for the purposes of planning, advocacy and resource mobilization.

Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM)

The Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) was established by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to fulfil its commitment to local ownership and participatory decisionmaking. These country-level partnerships develop and submit grant proposals to the Global Fund based on priority needs at the national level and monitor implementation.

Country Systems

Systems that have been established and used by countries on a day-to-day basis, whether its planning, budgeting, monitoring, implementation, coordination, etc.


Country Programme  or CCP, Common Country Program.


Country Programme Action Plan.


Country Programme Document.


Country Programme Evaluation.


Contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) is the percentage of women of reproductive age who are using (or whose partner is using) a contraceptive method at a given point in time.


Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)


Central / Country Statistical Office, the central national authority charged with the collection and dissemination of official statistics.


The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization – UNESCO – defines culture as:  "the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of society or a social group. In addition to art and literature, it encompasses lifestyles, basic human rights, value systems, traditions, and beliefs." Thus, all affairs of humanity, and human development intersect with, are impacted by and in turn affect, culture.

Cultural dominance

Familiar terms used in some cultures may not be appropriate in other cultural contexts, e.g. seasons of the year—avoid ‘fall' or ‘autumn' and use ‘last quarter of the year'. Instead of ‘summer' prefer ‘mid-year', or spell out the months for more precision.

Culturally sensitive Approach

A culturally sensitive approach is a policy and programming approach where the  knowledge and skills acquired through the culture lens are applied systematically, deliberately and strategically at the policy and the programme levels


Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is the technique for early detection of birth defects in the fetus.