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Course: Participatory Project Formulation



Key Concepts




Scope of Action

Project Cycle


Approaches to

Rapid Rural

Participatory Rural

Participatory Action Research

Principles, Attitudes

Project Cycle

Type of Participatory

Application of participatory tools in the different project stages

Sector Specific Use
of Participatory Tools

List of Documents


Strong or weak

Stakeholder analysis


Project Cycle Management

A project is a scheme to organize the use of a given quantity of resources in a specific way to achieve particular results, all within a definite time. It has a precise beginning and a precise end. The execution of a project requires multidisciplinary effort, mobilizing different skills and resources to achieve predetermined development objectives which will result, directly or indirectly, in new or added value or social, economic or financial benefits.

Within this general definition many different examples of projects can be described, each with a different type of organization. However, they all have the same fundamental parts or phases, from the time each project is first conceptualized until it is terminated. These parts fit together and relate to each other in what is called the project cycle. The cycle represents a continous process in which each stage provides the foundation for the next

Many international assistance institutions distinguish between five stages in the cycle of existence of a project, namely, identification, preparation, appraisal and agreement, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Stages of the project cycle:

At project identification the project idea is translated into a preliminary description of the project. Terms of reference for the project reconnaissance team are established, analyses of existing situations are performed, a broad evaluation of the future “with” and “without” the project is made, and the extent and limits of the project are proposed. Different approaches to the project are identified, and a judgement made regarding which option should be taken forward to project preparation.

At project preparation the project is designed. Objectives, pre-requisites, inputs, outputs, organization, participants, clearances are all defined, costs and earnings are calculated, a financial plan is prepared, expected results are analysed, the socio-economic and environmental impacts are estimated, and the provisional and final project documents are prepared.

At project appraisal and agreement appraisal documents are prepared from the project documents and a succession of appraisal meetings, clearances, and financing negotiations take place. This brings the project to the point of meeting the required start-up agreement conditions, sometimes after revision and adaptation of project schedule, cost, objectives, and financing.

In project implementation the project management and lines of command are established, and various implementation procedures established. In the course of implementation project progress is monitored, revisions and adaptations are made for unexpected events, and finally the project is brought to completion.

At project evaluation, which takes place at a suitable time after the project has been implemented, project objectives, project implementation, and project benefits are appraised. This evaluation may result in the project being extended or in the identification of a new project, and may lead to a revision of the method(s) by which similar projects will be formulated in the future.


The Participation Resource Section offers you the option to search for methods and approaches in the field tools section, as well as for documents in the library section and define the search results choosing the envisaged project cycle phase (The diagnosis phase encompasses the step of identification, the plannig phase encompasses the steps of preparation, appraisal and agreement by the supporting agency and Government).



  Informal Working Group on
  Participatory Approaches & Methods
...to support Sustainable Livelihoods  
& Food Security