WHAT IS PROJECT JUSTIFICATION IN GRANT PROPOSALS?

The project justification is one of the most crucial parts of a proposal. You can use it to convince the potential donor that your project is of ultimate importance for your community and elucidate the ways in which, by developing this project, you will consistently achieve your set goals (social, economic improvement or the resolution to a specific problem).
Research the issue your project addresses in depth. Identify the causes of the problem and, if possible, list the ways in which other projects have already successfully addressed similar issues. Once you have this material, write in simple words what your project is about and what your main goal is (remember to set achievable and realistic goals for your project!).
List the three main factors that are causing the problem you address. Let’s say your project is about training a group of 10 unemployed young people to edit documentaries: explain that local schools and university curricula do not provide such training, that the closest training centre is two hours away, and that there are no professional video-editors in your community. Explain why you think this project is ultimately important and for whom. Remember to clarify how through the development of this project your target group could consistently improve their skills, life expectations, or quality of life. For instance, find information about the employability of video-editors in your area. Look up, in job centres or adverts, existing trends in the market and make a strong case for these trained young people to increase their possibilities of finding the job they really want.
It is important to link your project with the reality of your community. Write down how you came up with the idea by recounting facts or experiences you had that drew your attention to this problem. If possible, add other voices. For instance, and referring to the example above, if you once met a young woman who wanted to become a film-maker, but had no way of learning the basics of video-editing, briefly recall her story. In this way, the donor will get a sense of the importance of your project in the community and the extent to which its development will benefit real individuals.
Once you have all these parts, take your time to create a consistent and organic narrative. Start with a simple sentence summarising the main goal of the project. Add a paragraph about the reasons at the root of this problem. Briefly explain how is your project intervening to solve said problem. Draw on the success of similar initiatives to strengthen your own proposal and explain how this project will concretely benefit improve the life of members of your community by inserting life stories in your narrative. Remember that a successful proposal is written in a clear, simple, and engaging way. Accordingly, avoid repetition, rhetorical questions, and complex phrasing. Write simple sentences that make concrete points. This will convince the donor that your project is feasible and that it answers to specific needs of your community. Also, to set concrete goals will enable the donors to monitor the implementation process and evaluate the final results.
 
#Source: fundsforngos

HOW TO WRITE AN ATTRACTIVE AND EFFECTIVE PROJECT TITLE FOR YOUR PROJECT PROPOSAL!

The title of a project is of ultimate importance, thus make sure to take your time to find the best one. Titles must be attractive and exciting at the same time. The title must convey the meaning, the area of intervention and the goals of the project while being enticing.
It is good practice to select the final title together with all the other members of the NGO. Whereas the project proposal is very technical and requires specific skills that not everybody may possess, the title represents everybody’s efforts, expectations, and aspirations. Accordingly, all the members should be asked to participate in the process of selecting the title to make sure that they all feel excited by the idea of working towards its development.
Firstly, write down on paper five key words, which summarise your project. For instance if your project will organise a communal meal in a certain neighbourhood known for its lack of social cohesion, in order to improve relationships among those living there, write: food, dinner-party, neighbourhood, community, and social cohesion. Gather all the members of your NGO for a collective brainstorming session. Write down the five words you selected on a board and ask the group at large to work with those words and suggest possible titles. It is important that you set your goal for the meeting as that of coming up with the best three title-proposals within a couple of hours. Make sure to prepare coffees and cakes for your collaborators (it is not proven that sugar helps creativity, but it will create a more relaxed atmosphere). Set aside an hour to produce a long list of titles and another hour to shortlist the best three. Keep the meeting within the 2 hours proposed to maintain concentration among the group. You could decide whether to work within smaller groups or with one big group according to the size of the NGO and group dynamics. At the end of the meeting you should have your three short listed titles. At this point, you should organise a focus group with a group of five to ten friends. Present in brief the project to the focus group and write the three final project titles on a board. Ask to the participants to choose one and to explain why they selected it. Take notes during the discussion. By the end of the focus group you should have all the information you need to make your final choice. Read through the notes you have taken and assess the information you have gathered. Write for each of the titles their strengths and weaknesses. Compare your results and take your final decision. Make sure to circulate the final title among all the members of your NGO who participated in the process to communicate the final decision.
In brief, the best title will: 1) give a general idea of what the project is about 2) make you curious about the project and prompt you to read more and to participate in it 3) not be descriptive, but allusive 4) catch people’s attention because of a play of words or a reference to movies, books, popular culture etc. 5) be simple and straightforward (avoid overcomplicated titles) 6) be memorable.

Source: fundsforngos

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA GUIDELINES FOR ASSISTING NGOS / VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS!

The Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment, Government of India, assists NGOs in various ways to bring about social welface schemes to the weaker and marginalised sections of the society. The ministry has a set of guidelines for NGOs to seek assistance from the government which are mentioned below:- 

The Background

  1. The Ministry is charged with the promotion of welfare, ensuring social justice for and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society.It is the responsibility of the Ministry to reach the target group which includes the Scheduled Castes, Minorities, Backward Classes, Disabled, Aged Persons, Street children and victims of Drug Abuse.The objective is to bring them into the mainstream of development by assisting them to overcome their social, physical and educational handicaps.In this manner, their progress through capacity building can be ensured.This would equip them to employ their capabilities to their fullest potential reducing their reliance / dependence on others and achieving independence to the maximum extent possible - the ultimate goal of such assistance extended by the Government.
  2. The financial resources available with the Central and State Governments are limited and therefore it is necessary to ensure that the resources of the State are optimally utilized to bring maximum benefit to maximum number. It has been recognized that along side the efforts of the state, the services of the voluntary organization in assisting the target groups are indispensable.They supplement the efforts of the state in ensuring that the benefits reach the maximum number.In certain cases, it is the voluntary organizations that are in a better position to implement the schemes of the Govt. in a more efficient manner than Govt. itself.This is primarily attributable to the highly committed and dedicated human resources that are available with the voluntary organizations.Further, they often have better expertise and are more knowledgeable about the local conditions that make them a better delivery system than what the Govt. can put together. Therefore increasing participation of the voluntary organizations in nation and society building is not only desirable but also crucial.
  3. The presence of Voluntary organizations is not uniform throughout the nation. Similarly, there are certain spheres of activities that attract more voluntary organizations just as their concentration in some regions. This twin situation often results in disparate development of regions as well as of sectors. It is the intention of the Ministry to encourage the horizontal spread of development alongside sectoral growth in spheres that have received comparatively less attention or may need more attention.
  4. It is also the experience of the Ministry that some voluntary organizations are better equipped to avail of the financial assistance from the Ministry than others. Ideally, the scarce resource should be available to voluntary organizations according to the regions and sectors that require intervention according to the problems the society may be confronted with and the priorities identified by the Government.
  5. Some Voluntary organizations also thrive exclusively on aid from Govt. This is a situation that needs to be reversed. Voluntary organizations should be able to build on the support from the Govt. and establish other support systems that would gradually reduce their dependence on Govt. Such a policy would enable the growth of more voluntary organizations that can work in more sectors. The objective of the Govt. is not the support of existing voluntary organizations alone, but to encourage growth of new ones as well.
  6. It should be the intention of the voluntary organizations to obtain support of other sources for their operation. This could be achieved after they are able to establish themselves with the support of the Govt. and prove their usefulness to the society at large. With the credibility that they may be able to earn, they would be able to enlist the support of corporate houses and even the community. Contributions both in kind and finances would become easily available once credentials are firmly recognized. Additional resources could be mobilized in this manner.
  7. Voluntary organizations should also accord increasing priority to the involvement of the community in the social activity that the organization may be undertaking. Community involvement in projects has several apparent and consequential or spin-off benefits. It helps in improving the efficacy of the programme, effecting attitudinal changes towards the beneficiaries, identification of those acutely in need of the assistance and change in the psyche (feeling of acceptance or recognition by society can lead to increased motivation) of those affected and the like.
  8. Voluntary organizations be encouraged through a system of matching grants to raise resources from the public, business houses, national and international organizations.

IMPORTANT POINTS NGOS NEED TO FOCUS WHILE WRITING PROJECT REPORTS!

Apart from all the above, consider the following points while writing in order to produce quality reports:
  • ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ goes an old cliché. Hence do not hesitate in including appropriate pictures at appropriate places in your report but do remember to attach the captions with them. The number of pictures should be balanced with the length of text in your report. You may attach the pictures as ‘picture gallery’ at the end of the report of the filed activities or the training programmes if you want to include lots of pictures in your report. It adds attraction as well as authenticity to your report.
  • For presentation of comparisons in report, use of table or graph is suggestible. Though you may give a description but even after giving such description, adding a table or graph just next to your description enhances its readability. However before putting the comparison data in the table or graph, identify the trend and check whether the data provided by you prove what you want to establish.
  • Always define specific terminology and abbreviations used in your report. You may define them in the brackets right after its first use or you may append the definition of all the abbreviations or terminologies, appearing in your report, collectively as a separate section, in the beginning or at the end of your report.
  • Avoid using figurative language. Keep it simple.
  • Formatting of report is also very important. A very good report loses its readability and attraction in the absence of formatting. Though it may appear very trivial to you but use of same font throughout the report, emphasizing the text by writing it in bold or italics, numbering the headings, subheadings and points under them appropriately (you may refer the numbering as it is done in this write-up itself), numbering the tables and graphs, adding the caption to the photographs etc. helps reader to understand your report in a better manner.
  • Prepare your report well in advance. Keep time for proof reading and reviewing it yourself as well as for taking reviews and feedback from others on the project. Their constructive suggestions may help you in refining your report.
  • Last but not the least; develop the habit of reading reports or documentation of other projects as well on internet or otherwise. As a beginner it will be of great help and gradually you will be skilled in the art of writing very good reports.
Source: fundsforngos

HOW NGOS CAN ORGANIZE EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROGRAMMES!!!

Capacity building is an important component of human resource development in an organization. By developing the capacities of human resources, the organizations as well as the employees make progress. However capacity building is not as simple as it appears at first instance. It demands a systematic planning much ahead of the actual training starts. Especially in the backdrop of the kind of work we the NGOs are involved with and the resources we have, it becomes all the more important to adopt a systematic approach towards capacity building or training so that the desired results may be achieved.

Given the importance of capacity building, many of the projects also do involve the component of capacity building these days. In such cases we think of training as just a project activity and most of the time get entangled in hardware aspects as making logistic arrangements, engaging a trainer or facilitator etc. and do not focus on software aspect which is the soul of bringing the social change we are aiming at.
Hence, to develop the employees through their capacity building or to bring about a positive change in the society at large through training as a project activity, we must follow a systematic path as follows:

Identify the training needs through training need assessment:
First of all we need to know the gap areas where the training is needed. To identify these gaps a systematic analysis is required. This involves finding answers to questions whether training is actually needed or which are the areas that need an improvement through training. There are several methods which may be used for training need assessment such as questionnaires or focused group discussions etc. Based on the target group we should choose the method for need assessment.

Set the objectives of training:
Once training needs get identified, we need to set the objective of our training programme to fulfill these needs.

Finalize the contents or topics for the training:
Based on the need areas and objectives, we need to finalize the contents of the training as what we are going to make participants learn in the training programme.

Prepare a training design:
After the objectives are set, we need to prepare a training design or outline as how the training programme will run. This is one of the most crucial stages of organizing a training programme as the success of training depends much on the fact that how cautiously we have drawn the outline of the training. Concerning the objectives and available resources and time we have, we need to put the contents of the training in a time frame. At this stage only we need to choose our methodologies for the training. It should be noted that methodologies must be according to the content, target group and the objective of the training. You may opt for different methodologies for different topics or sessions. Simultaneously you need to foresee the logistic requirement for taking up the session at this stage only and you should write it down in your training design so that you may arrange them beforehand. Thus your training design should include:
  • What contents will be taken up in the training and their time limit
  • What methodologies will be adopted for the contents
  • What materials will be needed
Develop a module for the training:
Based on your design, develop a module for the whole training programme. The module should include each and every step of each and every session you are taking up in the training. In short it should have a session by session description of how to proceed. It will guide as how to move a session smoothly. Try to include the basic reference material also in your module or refer to other available references for a fuller understanding of the topic you are going to take up. Do not forget to discuss the module with other trainers or facilitators if you are engaging someone else for the training. This will make the sessions go smoother and will also wash of confusions earlier.

Organize the training:
Finishing the above tasks you may proceed with the organizing training programme as per your training module.

Evaluation of the training:
Evaluation of training is very important to measure whether the objectives of training are fulfilled. Hence do not forget to evaluate your training programme. You may go for the mid-term evaluation if it’s a long term training programme to judge whether it’s going in the right direction and mend it if required. A participatory evaluation is always more beneficial.

Source: Fundsforngos