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The sample proposal presented here is a request for grant support to an international donor agency.

It is assumed that there is no general proposal format under these conditions and we have used a general framework to present the information about the project. We are using references for the proposal applicant as ORG, referring to the NGO proposing the project for seeking funds to implement it. The proposal format comprises of the following information: Project Summary Problem Statement Project Description Project Goal, Objectives & Results Project Methodology or Project Approach Gender as Cross-Cutting Theme Sustainability Monitoring and Evaluation

Sample Proposal on Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project

Part 1: Project Summary Communities residing in the river basin face a high level of economic risk due to the prevalence of unexpected natural disasters such as floods and landslides. Although these natural disasters are seasonal, yet the communities end up bearing livelihood losses in addition to loss of life, housing and health. This is mostly due to inadequate planning, lack of organizational skills, inaccessible markets and poor mitigation strategies. Under such a situation, ORG proposes to implement a set of interventions to reduce the economic risks and increase livelihood opportunities of the poor communities living in the river basin area. The project will build the capacities of the communities in assessing economic risks, adopt coping strategies, reduce losses in addition to increasing livelihood opportunities through proper planning, quality production, improved market access and collective work. The project will use subsector approaches, promote new agricultural techniques, experiment community insurance and promote cooperatives with a strong focus on womens participation. As a result of this intervention, it is expected that the community will acquire new skills to increase their livelihood opportunities in a sustainable fashion. Part 2: Problem Statement for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) The low-income and disadvantaged communities, residing in the river basins of the country/region, are open to increasing economic risks, besides facing the hard consequences of natural disasters and climate change. Most of the rivers in the country are snow-fed and flow down from north to south with a high velocity and since the land hosts a complex geographical structure, the seasonal monsoons cause enormous pressure on the environment, leading to unexpected natural disasters every year, especially in the proposed region. Such events have caused severe damage to human life, settlement patterns, local environment and, above all, to the economic sustainability of the river-basin communities. Floods and landslides have spoiled agricultural land, destroyed livestock, displaced biodiversity, reduced productive human health and demolished habitation. These unfortunate periodical incidents increase the vulnerability of poor communities, fracturing their sources of income and undermining their sustainability practices. Further to this, these communities, time and again, adopt unsustainable income-generation activities which are characterized by inadequate planning, inaccessible markets, lack of organizational skills and poor coping strategies. Hence, a holistic intervention is required, in which disaster preparedness is combined with a mechanism that sustains and increases livelihood opportunities for the communities living in the river basin. Part 3: Project Description: Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal)

In response to the request from the donor agency, ORG has developed this paper to initiate, design and implement an effective livelihood intervention strategy targeted at the poor and the disadvantaged communities living in the river basin. The strategic approaches, outlined in this concept note, will leverage with the ongoing efforts of other donor-supported projects in mitigating disasters and reducing the vulnerability of the communities. The proposed project will specifically contribute towards increasing livelihood opportunities of the marginalized people in the river basin areas, taking into account the natural risks and disasters and ensuring communities long-term livelihood sustainability. The project will examine disaster-prone areas and, on the basis of participatory studies, it will build up strategic efforts to increase skills and knowledge of the targeted beneficiaries in planning income-generation activities, exploiting markets, establishing linkages, enhancing incomes and organizing community-based institutions. The main features of the project are: Educating the community on economic risks caused due to natural disasters and reducing the impact of natural disasters on livelihood activities. Developing the skills of small and marginal farmers, including women, in identifying potential agricultural, NTFP produce and other micro-enterprises, adopting better production techniques and exploiting market opportunities based on sub-sector approach. Building the capacities of the community in establishing strong and sustainable cooperatives providing member-based financial services and also facilitating input supply, resource management and collective marketing. The cooperatives will ensure practice of equity, participation, better management and good governance.

Part 4: Project Goal, Objectives & Results: Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) Project Goal The overall goal of the project is to build sustainable livelihoods for the poor and the disadvantaged communities living in the river basin. Project Objectives The specific objectives of the project are: To reduce economic risks, caused due to the natural hazards, of the targeted communities living in the river basin. To build capacities of the targeted communities in identification, production, financing and marketing of potential agricultural and non-agricultural products, including micro-enterprises. To promote business-oriented community-based organizations, undertaking collective production and marketing techniques for long-term sustainability.

Project Results At the end of the project period, the following results are expected to be achieved after the intervention: Increased awareness and knowledge among the communities on the impact of natural disasters on economic sustainability Effective participatory mechanisms adopted by the communities to reduce the impact of natural disasters on economic livelihoods. Increased capacity of the communities in production, management and marketing of agricultural and nonagricultural products, including micro-enterprises.

Economically-viable and sustainable community-based organizations are managed by the communities for successful production and marketing.

Part 5: Project Methodology or Project Approach for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) The project will adopt the following components while implementing the methodology to achieve the expected results: (1) Disaster Preparedness-Awareness and Education (2) Sub-sectoral Approach for Increased Production and Marketing for Small Farmers (3) Introduction of New Agricultural Techniques (4) Building Sustainable Community-Based Organizations Part 5: Project Methodology or Project Approach for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) -2 (1) Disaster Preparedness-Awareness and Education (Sample Proposal) In addition to the existing programmes on disaster preparedness, the project will organize awareness workshops with the community on disaster preparedness and mitigation. Special emphasis will be made on reducing economic risks caused by disasters. Participation will be the key. Community insurance is a significant concept that can be utilized in this intervention. Through community-owned and managed institutions, community insurance can be adopted by the community to lessen the impact of natural disasters on household economy. However, this concept will be developed in consultation with the community after analyzing risks and needs and will develop a participatory package. At this stage, the project will commit itself to undertake research and development of community insurance practices in the project area to evolve a risk coping strategy against economic losses caused due to natural disasters. (2) Sub-sectoral Approach for Increased Production and Marketing for Small Farmers (Sample Proposal) The project will adopt sub-sector approaches to strengthen the livelihoods of the community, residing in the river basin area. The sub-sector approach has been identified as a beneficial tool for farmers with small and scattered land holdings in increasing their productivity levels and establishing linkages with markets in a sustainable manner. This approach will carry out a detailed diagnosis of potential vegetables, NTFPs, and micro-enterprises combined with intensive market studies to examine the demand and supply chains. The studies will be followed by close training programmes and technical support in production and marketing for the community. The process will help address constraints and seize opportunities to improve incomes and sustainability of the community. Part 5: Project Methodology or Project Approach for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) -3 (3) Introduction of New Agricultural Techniques (Sample Proposal) Improved micro-irrigation systems, agriculture and agro-forestry techniques and cash-cropping techniques will be introduced. The community will receive financial and technical support for implementing these techniques. Technical support will be provided in participatory infrastructure management and improved production practices. Study tours will be organized for farmers to agriculture fairs, local markets and other models.

(4) Building Sustainable Community-Based Organisations (Sample Proposal) Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) such as cooperatives ensure long-term sustainability of interventions, in addition to promoting concepts of equity, self-reliance and good governance. The project will promote communitybased cooperatives to undertake disaster management, production and marketing practices in a more organized manner to reduce risks and increase incomes. Through a set of planned interventions, the project will create awareness and education on cooperatives and help the communities to build them so as to enable them to organize easy, flexible and cost-effective financial services, leverage technical resources, gain input supply, undertake production planning and carry out marketing services in agriculture, NTFP and micro-enterprises.

Part 6: Gender as a Cross-Cutting Theme for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project The project will promote greater equality among women and men. It will ensure greater participation of women in all aspects of the intervention such as disaster management, production, marketing and cooperative development. It will enable women and men to collaborate and work together on strategies improving the overall household livelihood situation. The project will focus on building womens leadership through womens cooperatives. Gender will be integrated in all reports and documentation. Part 7: Project Sustainability for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project (Sample Proposal) The project emphasizes on the creation and strengthening of community based organizations, which are crucial to build confidence within the community. The project will begin with a withdrawal strategy from day one onwards to practically facilitate the community to own resources and act accordingly. Cooperatives, as well managed institutions, will have high technical capability by the end of the project to undertake planning, pool resources, develop produces, access markets and share profits. The project believes in strengthening the skills of the community in managing resources in a sustainable manner and this will be achieved by intensive capacity-building programs organized during the term of the project. Part 7: Monitoring & Evaluation for Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin Project The project will develop a monitoring strategy to examine the progress of the interventions and also to document lessons learned. In addition to the monthly and annual reports developed by the project staff based upon a set of preidentified progressive indicators, the project will organize semi-annual and annual meetings with the community to generate feedback, facilitate planning and promote peoples participation. This will be a two-way approach for the achievement of effective results and ensure community ownership of the activities undertaken. Further, project visits will be undertaken by senior organizational staff and donor agency representatives on regular basis. The evaluation will be conducted at the end of the project period. In consultation with the donor agency, the evaluation will be carried out by an external agency/resource person. The progressive indicators, identified during the baseline, will be used to compare the project results. Case studies, best practices, lessons learned and other information, including gender disaggregated data will be carefully documented and presented in the final report. Introduction to Proposal Writing A proposal is an essential marketing document that helps cultivate an initial professional relationship between an organization and a donor over a project to be implemented. The proposal outlines the plan of the implementing organization about the project, giving extensive information about the intention, for implementing it, the ways to manage it and the results to be delivered from it. A proposal is a very important document. In some cases, a concept note precedes a proposal, briefing the basic facts of the project idea. However, the project idea faces a considerable challenge when it has to be presented in a framework. The proposal has a framework that establishes ideas formally for a clear understanding of the project for

the donor. Besides, unless the ideas are not documented in writing, they do not exist. Hence, a proposal facilitates appropriate words for the conception of an idea. Proposals have recently become more sophisticated. This reflects the increased competitiveness and larger resources existing in the NGO sector. The trend of inviting proposals for contracting development programmes began with the allotment of substantial resources for development that triggered off the mushrooming of NGOs around the world. Enormous opportunities existing in the sector have led to the trend of making proposal writing a profession. Proposal writing poses many challenges, especially for small and unskilled NGOs. Here, we discuss some basic and necessary information required for developing a proposal. Problems in Writing Proposals Before we start learning about proposal writing, it will serve our purpose if we outline the exact difficulties we face working on the proposal. The following are the common problems we face while trying to write a proposal: Confused about the format? There are as many proposal formats as there are a number of donors and each donor as a different format. Although the basic information requested by various donors is generally the same, yet we often encounter snags that make the entire process confusing. Planning problems? Although a good idea exists, yet when we try to plan it out extensively, we face many unexpected challenges. Fear of proposal rejections? No matter how much of an expert we are in writing proposals, the underlying fear of proposal rejection hovers over us while writing it. Tight deadlines? This is perhaps the most universal problem for all proposal writers. For some reason or the other, we are expected to complete working proposals under very tight deadlines. Solicited and unsolicited proposal? Solicited and unsolicited proposals are quite confusing. Many NGOs work hard and submit proposals to donors, but soon they get a letter saying that they had never asked them to send. Before Writing a Proposal Before we start writing a proposal, it is important for us to do some research. No matter how small or big the project is some kind of references to existing literature or data should be made. Usually, it is expected that the NGO has enough information at hand about the problem or the project before writing the proposal. Yet, NGOs have to gather all related information about the issue they are working on and the sit down to write the proposal. In some cases, donors sponsor pre-proposal research so that organizations have enough evidence, both at field and in literature, before developing the actual proposal. But not many NGOs are lucky enough to avail such an opportunity.

While planning the proposal, it is ideally believed that all stakeholders have been consulted or involved in the process. There are generally three main categories of stakeholders involved in the process of writing the proposal. They are: 1. The Proposing Organization/s or the Proponent: This could be just one NGO or a group of NGOs applying for the project to the donor. 2. The Community: The most important stakeholder for whom the project is conceived. Community members or beneficiaries or the target group has to be involved in the proposal planning process so that the project reflects strong qualities of participation and community ownership. 3. The Donor Agency: Wherever possible, it will be useful to take inputs from the donor. In formal invitations for proposals, the donor may discourage any contact with the proposing organizations. However, in other situations where donor has requested for a one-to-one proposal, it will be a good idea to have several meetings with this stakeholder and note down information carefully. It will also help researching donor priorities while conceiving the proposal idea. Make sure you gather enough information about your donor, such as, Aid priorities and issues of the donor The donors country strategy paper (if any) Proposal Guidelines Previously funded projects and programs

Writing about Ourselves: the Organization New individuals working on proposals in a particular NGO may face problems in writing about organizational background. They prefer to just copy previous information into this particular section of the proposal. However, this information may be sometimes outdated. You may have forgotten to add an important NGO activity. Besides, many times, there are facts about our organizations which we ourselves are unaware of. We do quite a lot of research on the beneficiaries and the donor agency while writing the proposal, but we hardly see the necessity of researching our own organization to present the best picture of our institution to the donor. To ensure that there is thorough knowledge about the organization in the proposal, it is important not only to copy information from previous documents, but also carry out discussions with colleagues about the project. The SWOT tool comes handy here when we sit with our colleagues and find out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the organization. Once this framework is ready, it will be quite easy for us to write the proposal and answer the sharp questions of any proposal format. SWOT Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats The Actual Proposal A general format of the proposal consists of the following parts:

1.Problem 2.Rationale 3.Project 4.Strategy 5.Results: 6. Budget


Justification Goal Outputs

for &

implementing & and


Statement Project Objectives Activities Outcomes

This basic format of a proposal has expanded covering many concepts and issues, confronting project funding and project implementation. As new experiences are gathered by donors in project implementation and funding processes, new explanations are sought from the applicant through the proposal.

Writing Problem Statement/Project Rationale in a Proposal The Problem Statement/Project Rationale gives an explanation about the issue that is being addressed by the project. It also argues in favour of implementing the project in the proposed area in the existing conditions. It is very critical that we give evidence to what we are writing in this section of the proposal. Evidence can be in form of other research, existing literature or data collected by the organization itself. The following are some important points that need to be remembered while developing the Problem Statement/Project Rationale: - Problem Statement/Project Rationale is a brief analysis or summary of the problems identified relating to the project or issue to be addressed by the project. It has to be precise and point-to-point basis. - Use of quotes, live examples, references, research data and press articles would be very helpful. It has to be very specific to donor issues and priorities. - Giving references to other NGOs, Governmental work in the area working against the same problem would be useful. Some common information we use in this section includes: Country, region, area details (location in region, government, population etc); Poverty information, including information on the state of the economy, Employment/unemployment; Gender issues; HIV/AIDS situation; Health and education

Explaining the Problem Statement in the Proposal Sometimes, we may find difficulties in writing the exact problem we intend to address in the proposed project. It happens this way that the problem we are mentioning in the proposal is not a problem at all, but is actually an effect of another problem. For example, suppose there is high child mortality rate in our project area and we wish to put up a proposal on it, we cannot mention this as a problem because this is an effect of a problem, while the problem is something else. In this case, it could be the prevalence of diarrhea that is leading to high child mortality. So the problem here is the prevalence of diarrhea and not high child mortality rate. It is also necessary to mention the cause of the problem because it is an integral part of the project implementation. In this scenario, the cause of the problem for the prevalence of diarrhea could be the poor knowledge of the community about proper hygiene and sanitation.

Effect>Problem>Cause The relationship between the three (Effect, Problem and Cause) has to be outlined in the Problem Statement of the proposal. If we have an issue, it will be a good exercise to go a step back and forth to find out its cause and effect relationship. The best way to understand the cause of an issue is to ask Why continuously. This will help reveal the cause of the problem. A problem can have many causes and effects. The Why of Why Projects evolve out of identified problems It is the problem that comes before a project The secret of solving a problem is proper identification of the problem. This requires a thorough investigation. A problem does not happen in isolation. It goes hand in hand with cause and effect. There is a relationship between cause and effect. They are linked by the problem.

A way to analyze a problem is through analyzing the root causes and its effects. State the problem as effectively and precisely as possible Refer to any research data that is available, including publications, reports, newspapers etc. Give a narration of community perception with quotes. Check back how well it matches with the donor guidelines or issues. Give thorough background information about the region, community and resources available. Explain the organizational strength and capacity in countering this problem and achieving long-term results.

Project Goal A project goal is a very general, high-level and long-term objective of the project. It is different from project objectives because the latter are very specific and have to be addressed alone by the project. But a goal cannot be achieved by the project on its own since there will be other forces like the Government and other agencies as well working to achieve it. It is a major benchmark to compare work between different projects. Usually there is one project goal only and it can be reflected in the title of the project also. It should ideally support the overall policy of the government or the donor agency. Example: Providing housing facilities to earthquake-affected victims This cannot be a project goal, but can be a general objective Reducing the impact of natural disaster over communities belonging to the hilly region This can be a project goal, as you are contributing to the problem in addition to other efforts. Writing Project Objectives Project Objectives should be: SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Project objectives are the specific objectives for which the project works to achieve them within a stipulated time. They should directly address the problem mentioned in the Problem Statement. They should be specific: the more specific it is the better to design activities, indicators and the Logical Framework Analysis. Specific objectives also help address the problem stated and convince the donor easily.

Tips: Think about what success means for your project and how you would show that success Refer to the results you expect from the project Describe the focus population and the desired change among the population Include the location and time period for each objective Reflect the intended changes in systemic conditions or behaviors that must be achieved to accomplish the goal/strategic objective Objectives should have measurable indicators which show what, when, and how conditions, behaviors, and practices will change Objectives must be verifiable at some point during the execution of the project

A good objective can be: To increase the income-level of women farmers from 5% to 15% in the district. Some Relevant Words to be used while writing Objectives Decrease Increase Strengthen Improve Enhance

Some Inappropriate words not to be used while writing Objectives Train Provide Produce Establish Create

Strategies and Activities Proposals are required to outline how the objectives of the project would be achieved. Here, it will be necessary to mention the strategies and the activities to be implemented in the project. There is lot of difference between strategies and activities. Strategies are broad concepts under which activities are placed. Strategies in a project can include: Capacity-building/ awareness raising Organizational development Research & Development Advocacy Victim Support Strategy Micro-finance and CBO development Strategy Participatory Infrastructure Development Strategy

Activities can include: Training workshops, street shows, rallies

Staff selection, staff training Baseline, PRA, FGD Conferences, meetings, articles, publications Establishing shelter homes, counseling, legal support Forming SHGs and cooperatives Building irrigation tanks, demo plots etc

To develop activities: Refer back to the lessons learned from previous projects. Identify best practices from other agencies/ projects/sources. Activities as identified by the communities Develop activities by listing numbers, so that they can referred back easily Leave space for unplanned activities that can be added later during project implementation

Activities are usually listed out in a Gantt Chart. A Gantt Chart is a kind of a time table of all project activities given along with the role and responsibilities of the project staff.

Performance Indicators and Risks & Assumptions Performance Indicators A Performance Indicator is a measure of the result. It gives a sense of what has been or what is to be achieved. For example, the number of households keeping their surroundings clean and hygienic or the number of women participating in training programs. There are two types of indicators, namely, Process Indicators and Results Indicators. Process indicators define the indicators for a process or an activity like number of women participating in the training on gender development and Results Indicators refer to the indicators that indicate the result achieved from the implementing the activity like number of women aware about gender rights.

Risks & Assumptions Risks and Assumptions are part of the concept based on the principle that we have less and less control of the project results as we go down and down implementing the project. For example, Government policies/ officials are supportive of the project activities or ongoing peace and stability may get hampered by sporadic violence.

Results Results are changes that we expect to take place after implementing the project activities. The results are generally positive experiences undergone by the beneficiaries. Results are divided into three types: 1. Outputs 2. Outcomes 3. Impact Outputs are immediate results that we achieve soon after the completion the project or any specific project activity. For example, if a training on human rights is carried out in a project, the output or the immediate result of it is a greater understanding of human rights amongst the participants. The outcomes are results that have been or that are to be achieved after a period of time, but not immediate. In the above example, it could that the participants have gone further to communities to inform them about human rights or carrying out policy advocacy in favor of human rights. The impact is the longer-term result that has happened because of the activities undertaken in the project. The impact in the example given above could be policies are framed by the Government to protect the human rights of the people. Monitoring & Evaluation Although it is the responsibility of the donor to carry out monitoring and evaluation of the project, it usually seeks the plan from the implementing NGO about it. Monitoring and evaluation enables constant check on the activities and helps review the progress made at every step. Monitoring should be the integral part of project implementation; in fact, there should be an internal mechanism to monitor the results, risks, assumptions and performance regularly through meetings and submission reports. T he Management Information Systems (MIS) is often used as a mechanism to undertake monitoring. The baseline information is critical to the monitoring process. Involving external entities such as donors, government people, consultants etc in monitoring would give a good opportunity to collect feedback, provide exposure to the work and also explore new options. Evaluation is carried out by an external agency during the mid-term or in the end part of the project. Budget and Proposal Packaging Budget

The budget has to be itemized as clearly as possible, presented in the required format. It should be in line with the activities set in the project. It will be an additional advantage to mention contribution from other sources such as the community or other donors. Contribution made by the proposing organization should also be mentioned. It there is any recurring income from the project activities, it needs to be clearly given in the budget section. Proposal Packaging When the proposal writing is complete, it is important to ensure that the packaging has been done properly before submitting it to the donor. Below are some important points to be kept in mind while packaging the proposal. the Title Page should have Project title, name of the donor agency and name, logo & contact info of the NGO. there should be a Table of Contents there should be one page for explaining acronyms there should be a Project Summary- not more than one page, narrating goal, objectives, results and activities. An Organizational overview Ensure that page numbering, header & footer are complete. While writing, use active sentences more. Keep in mind the limit for the total no. of pages for the proposal. Attach appendices, if necessary Give Bibliography and references. The proposal should be signed and sealed. Covering letter is essential