Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


UNIT 6: Finding workable solutions


You are now ready to work towards solutions to the problems you have identified. In Unit 6 you will develop a general strategy; in Unit 7 you will fill in the details.

The units in this stage are based on the approach used by Conservation International (Kristensen and Rader, 2001), combined with the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach framework (Carney, 1998), the FAO/Regional Community Forestry Training Centre training package on community-based forest resource conflict management (FAO, 2002) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s guide for project monitoring and evaluation (2002).


In this unit you will identify the most effective solutions and then ensure the necessary support from stakeholders and partners. These exercises will help to:

Key terms

A brainstorming session is a process whereby a group or individual proposes as many solutions as possible without judging whether they make sense or not, noting them down as they appear. Once they are all on paper, the ideas need to be scrutinized, assessed, combined or expanded until they become workable solutions.

Partner analysis is the systematic assessment of stakeholders, community organizations, government bodies, NGOs and other development organizations that are likely to be interested in contributing to the implementation of a particular project.

A strategy is a way to resolve a particular problem, with a specification of the details of how you will achieve that goal. It is based on the process of assessing the pros and cons of various alternatives and choosing one or a limited number of them that will best serve you.

Stakeholder analysis consists of examining the underlying needs of stakeholders with respect to a particular problem, their influence with respect to a particular solution, and their power to aid or prevent the solution from being achieved.

Your role is especially important in this unit. You probably know better than landing site users, who could be possible partners and where to seek financial support. It is also easier for you to consult colleagues, make phone calls or search on the Internet. This does not mean that you have to do all this by yourself. Once you have identified and contacted sources of technical and financial support, encourage landing site users to join you.

Brainstorming for possible solutions

In this exercise, you will make a list of all possible solutions for the three problems you chose to address in the previous unit. You will then discuss them in more detail to identify the most useful aspects and prioritise them in importance and practicality.

Who should participate

You and the working group will be working together as usual, but you can also invite stakeholder representatives and resource persons. The greater the varieties of points of view, the more likely it is you will come up with interesting and useful solutions.

Steps to take

1. You can either work together on one of the problems or divide the participants into smaller groups of about eight people, with each group discussing one of the three problems. Show participants the results of the problem analysis, and write the problem you are going to examine at the top of a new sheet of paper.

2. Brainstorm any solutions that the group can think of, making sure someone records all the ideas on the sheet of paper. Encourage participants to say whatever comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers. They can even be silly or funny. Go around the group listening to each person’s ideas, or just let everyone call them out. If the group goes silent, press them for more ideas, especially from people who have been quiet.

3. When you are done, read the results aloud. With the help of the participants, group the results into categories. Where necessary, ask for clarification of terms. Hold a discussion for each category so that everyone is clear on what each idea means. Delete repetitions. Combine ideas if it looks reasonable to do so. Even unpractical ideas may have useful aspects.

4. From this final list, remove any ideas that are unrealistic (perhaps because they are too expensive, would take too long, etc.) to create a series of possible solutions. Put the result of these steps into a table, as shown in Table 15.

5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for the other problems or, if you have worked in groups, let the three groups report to each other. Some problems may have more than one solution, while some may have only one. Some solutions may also apply to more than one problem; so add them on to the relevant list.

6. For each possible issue, add a list of stakeholders that are involved in the problem and the possible solutions (see Table 16). They may or may not be based at the landing site. This will help you in the next exercise.

Analysis of possible solutions

Stakeholder group

Project, event, trend, seasonal occurrence

Effects on the stakeholder groups

Stakeholders’ ways of coping

Possible solutions

Fish mongers (retail)

NGO’s literacy and numeracy programme for fish mongers
Devaluation of the FCFA
Widespread use of local and national radio
Malaria and other fevers during the wet season

Improved management of their businesses and increased their income
Drastically reduced income
Greater awareness of prices of fish and best markets
Irregularity of income

Making simple business budgets, with income and spending
Add other products to their array of products to sell
Moving into other markets further away
Collaboration with female family members to take over in times of illness

Further training in micro-enterprise development
Practical training in making cottage products
Doing some market research
Creation of credits and savings groups to deal with variations in monetary needs


Legislation concerning official approval of diving gear
Opening of national economy to international markets

Increased prices of officially approved diving gear
Increased availability of diving gear and use rather than free diving

Buying of unapproved and low quality or second hand gear
Increased use of diving gear rather than free diving

Training to recognise safe gear
Training in basic diving safety





You may find that each analysis you add to the planning wall changes the overall picture. The solution assessment may tempt you to conclude that some problems are nearly impossible to eliminate. Make sure you keep an open mind and are flexible in the analysis. You can, and should, make changes to the picture whenever it seems necessary. This is normal and nothing to worry about! This process is flexible.

Conducting stakeholder analyses

The next major step is to assess whether the stakeholders relate to the possible solutions positively or negatively. By doing so, you will be in a better position to decide which solutions are more realistic to carry out. You will again need to evaluate the problems you identified earlier, keeping in mind the components, causes, the effects and the stakeholder needs.

Who should participate

In addition to the working group, you should include representatives from all stakeholders who influence the three problems and their solutions. The institutional diagram and/or list of stakeholders are a good starting point. Do not forget to include your own agency! The representatives should have the authority to decide whether their group will support certain solutions or not. In a sense, this exercise is a preliminary round to deciding on the final activities to be handled in your project.

Adding stakeholders to the list of possible solutions




Stakeholders involved

Safety at sea

Accidents at sea
Illegal fishing
Lack of insurance
Lack of safety measures on board

Self improvement
Media coverage
Partnership with NGO for micro-insurance

Dept. of fisheries
Canoe owners
Coast guard
Industrial fishing companies
Current project and donor agency

Enterprise development

Low income from fish processing and trade
Illegal fish trade
Lack of financial services
Poor technical and enterprise management skills

Poverty reduction policies
Improve technical knowledge and skills
Improve enterprise management skills
Partnership with microfinance institutions

Fish processors and traders
Other entrepreneurs
Financial service provider
Donor agency
Current project
Min. of trade and industries

Environmental education

Illegal fishing
Poor sanitation and hygiene

Partnership with NGO
Traditional knowledge
International donor funds

NGO and donor agency
Fishers and migrants
Dept of fisheries
Min. of environment and natural resources

Social development initiative

Uncontrolled population growth
Poor health conditions
Poor relations between original settlers and migrants

Partnership with industrial fishing companies
Partnership with industrial fish processing companies
Policies for poverty reduction

Donor agency
Industrial fishing companies
Industrial fish processing companies

Improve sanitation and hygiene

Pollution/environmental degradation
Infant mortality and morbidity
Poor social infrastructure
Poor sanitation and hygiene

Self improvement
Partnership with industrial fishing companies
Partnership with industrial fish processing companies
Government desire to improve welfare
Media coverage

Donor agency
Fishers and migrants

Steps to take

1. Look at the result of the previous exercise and the list of stakeholders whose support you need to reach your solution. (You can add stakeholders later on if you forget any.) Consider each stakeholder’s position on each problem: what are their underlying stakes or needs? Use your institutional diagrams and fish production transects to help you. Conduct this analysis from the point of view of the problem and the solution, not the stakeholder, as the stakeholder’s stance may change for each situation.

Say, for example, your problem is safety at sea and the stakeholder you are considering is a trawler company intruding the 200-mile zone, thereby putting into danger artisanal fishers and their equipment and materials. The underlying need of both the trawler company and the artisanal fisherman is to gain easy access to fisheries resources. Still, both stakeholders have an interest in avoiding collisions because of damages, injuries and loss of catches that might occur. Have a look at the example in Table 17. Discuss what is at stake for everyone concerned.

2. Note the above in table format, starting with the issue and the stakeholders involved. In another column, write down what each stakeholder would have to change for the solution to come about. See Table 17 for an example.

3. Add a column to the table and assign a weight to indicate the level of interest of each stakeholder in a particular solution (Table 18). This will give some indication of whether the stakeholder is motivated to work towards that solution. You could use the following scale:

Level of interest:

4. Add one last column to the table for the final stage of stakeholder assessment: the ranking of power each stakeholder holds to affect the changes that you want. Remember that access to resources significantly influences a stakeholder’s power to affect desired changes. A stakeholder with easy access to resources controls and influences much and appreciates to a lesser degree.

With limited resources, a stakeholder mostly appreciates, influences a bit, and controls very little.

Allot a ranking for each stakeholder in relation to each particular solution (also illustrated in Table 18). Following a World Bank methodology, the ranking is based on the following scale of 3 to 1:

Your planning board should more or less look like Table 18 by now.

5. Compare the outcomes of steps 2, 3 and 4 for each solution: what is at stake, what is the level of interest, and what is the power ranking for making changes happen. By going through them systematically, you can identify where is the strongest opposition, and where is the most agreement. Remember that the best solutions tend to come from powerful stakeholders in combination with a high positive interest to see desired change happen. For solutions that have a high degree of disagreement, you and the participants will have to decide whether to discard the solution, or convene another meeting between the relevant stakeholders to come to other solutions. You may need another brainstorming session or the help of other stakeholders. Or you may decide to try out one or more solutions on a small scale. Try to have between five and ten good solutions that the majority of stakeholder can agree on.

Analysis of stakeholders in relation to a particular problem and its solutions



Primary interest

Required change

Illegal fishing

Department of fisheries and environment

Sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in compliance with law

Strengthen law enforcement capacity/Stop corruption

Coast guard

Order and peace in coastal zone

Strengthen capacity to act

Fishers’ families

Maintaining safe access to fisheries resources as the traditional source of livelihood

Strengthen capacity to be heard and listened to


Sustainable artisanal fisheries livelihoods

Strengthen capacity to act and influence

Fish traders

Supply of fish

Understand link between illegal fishing, declining fisheries resources and the sustainability of their income/Stop buying illegal fish


Income from illegal fish trade

Understand link between illegal fishing and declining fisheries resources and income/Acquire source of income compatible with their own and fishers’ livelihoods

Industrial fishing companies

Profit from extracting fish

Assume responsible approach to fisheries resource extraction

Corrupt government officers

Financial and political gain

Assume responsible approach

Power and interest ranking of stakeholders



Primary interest

Required change



Illegal fishing

Department of fisheries and environment

Sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in compliance with law

Strengthen law enforcement capacity/Stop corruption



Coast guard

Order and peace in coastal zone

Strengthen capacity to act



Fishers’ families

Maintaining safe access to fisheries resources as the traditional source of livelihood

Strengthen capacity to participate and be heard




Sustainable artisanal fisheries livelihoods

Strengthen capacity to act and influence



Fish traders

Supply of fish

Understand link between illegal fishing, declining fisheries resources and income sustainability/Stop buying illegal fish




When facilitating this exercise, remember to emphasise that the stakeholders and their representatives most probably have interests that lead them to be for or against a particular intervention but it does not mean they are for or against you or the working group. It is possible to build a coalition of stakeholders who do not necessarily all agree with each other in general but who all have an interest in seeing a particular problem reduced for their own reasons. For example, a developing project may be supported by a fishing community interested in sustaining its livelihood, a donor that wants to test participatory planning approaches, a fishing industry interested in a regular supply of fish and a government that wants to increase foreign exchange earnings.

Identifying partners

This exercise concerns the last analysis: which partner agencies can support the landing site users in realizing their project.

Who should participate

Part of this exercise can be done with the working group. The other part of this exercise requires you to contact stakeholders or visit agencies. Two or three representatives of the working group should do this work together with you. You can use the institutional diagram or resource people to help you identify potential partners. Also ask colleagues for suggestions.

Steps to take

1. Start with the landing site users and their organizations (refer back to the institutional diagram). Talk to them, either in a group or individually, and go through the solutions with them one by one. What can they do to help achieve each solution? Can they provide a place to meet? Can they collect money or building materials? Can they provide labour or meals to workers? Be inventive and encouraging, but also realistic as to what they can contribute. The more they can do, the more it will be "their" project.

2. Start by analysing your own agency. Analyse each of the solutions from the perspective of your own organization.

If your agency cannot supply any of the above solutions, can it play another role? Or is its role over once the project is formulated and you no longer facilitate the working group? Think generally as well as specifically. In general terms, you can think of four possible roles your organization can play:

Would your organization be willing and able to finance part of a proposed solution? Could you provide technical inputs, transport, training materials or the use of an office or other space? Write down the results of this analysis on a piece of paper. As you complete this exercise you may find that more and more potential partners come to mind; add them to your list (Table 19).

3. Now that you have the landing site users’ inputs as well as your own see what kinds of support are still missing (e.g. technical knowledge, materials, funding). You will need to find others to contribute these things. You do not need to cover every detail, as you will still have to confirm the agencies’ support but make sure there are no gaping holes.

4. Look at the institutional diagram and talk to landing site users, resource people and colleagues to come up with a list of potential agencies. Do not limit yourself to agencies concerned with fisheries. Agencies focusing on health and sanitation, enterprise development or environmental issues may be worthwhile contacting as well. Rely on your knowledge and experience (maybe you have worked with some of them before?), as well as colleagues, and partner agencies you have contacted for technical support.

5. Consider the list of potentially interested agencies. If more than one is appropriate for the same role, for example for education and training, you do not need to meet them all.

6. Once you have a list of potential investors, you should contact them for an appointment. Make sure you talk to the right person. Some of these organizations are very big and have many departments according to their areas of intervention. On the technical aspects, you should:

With respect to funding, you should:

Prepare a table before you go to the interviews so you can fill in this information as the interview progresses. This will make it much easier for you to compare and select whom to work with later on. Also add strengths, weaknesses and other possible partners, as you did for your own organization.

7. You may also need the support of other organizations, which, although not directly involved in the implementation of your solutions, could significantly influence the outcome of your projects. Harbour authorities, for example, should be briefed as well as the Director of Fisheries and local government officials. If fisheries laws and regulations are involved, for example, you should include the Department of Fisheries. If education and training is being addressed, you may need the support of government agencies or NGOs.

8. Finally, for each issue or set of problems, choose who you want to work with and which roles each organization will take on. Notify these agencies of your wish to work with them. Explain what you would like them to do and what your role would be. As your work progresses in the next units, you will come to more precise agreements.

Analysis of alternatives from the point of view of your organization


Possible role

Strengths of our organization

Weakness of our organization

Other partners to consider

Management of artisanal fisheries resources


Strong capacity to develop community-based natural resources management

Not in position to design or enforce national law

Department of fisheries
Ministry of the environment and natural resources

Improve sanitation and hygiene

1-2 years as catalyst and then monitor

Our health initiative program could provide part of the funding

Inadequate expertise and technical knowledge in sanitation

NGOs with experience in sanitation issues
Donor agency

Enterprise development

No expertise in enterprise development

Department of fisheries
Ministry of trade and industry
Financial service provider
Current project


Below are some guidelines for seeking financial support. The most common sources of funding are:

Bilateral donor agencies represent the governments of mostly western countries. They have an agreement with the country’s government for collaboration in particular areas, such as agriculture, education or public infrastructure. Bilateral donor agencies usually have offices in the capital of the country as part of their respective embassies or high commissions. Examples are the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Multilateral development agencies represent a large number of governments from all over the world. Most of them will have offices in the capital. Examples are the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Charitable organizations may have resources available for development purposes. Furthermore, pivate companies may be interested in sponsoring social projects or local development to improve their image or to foster goodwill with local communities.

Donor agencies can channel their money through official (government) channels or through private channels. Traditionally bilateral and multilateral donor agencies channel their resources through government agencies, while private sources of funding tend to work through NGOs. However, this tradition is changing and you will need to find out from individual sources the exact mechanism of their funding.

A funding agency may be able to help you in various ways. It may have resources available to finance new projects. It may also be able to support you through a current project that provides the services you are looking for. You may be able to speak to the project manager appointed by the agency implementing the project. Nonetheless, it is probably best to start by contacting the funding agency.

Formulating a strategy

Congratulations! It is now time to make a choice and formulate your strategy.

Who should participate

The working group and the stakeholder representatives should agree on a small group to finalize your strategy, consisting of about five "leaders".

Steps to take

1. Call a meeting to examine whether your search has succeeded in:

2. Based on these points, choose which solutions to work on. The group will have to decide whether to tackle one or more problems at a time and how many possible solutions to consider for each. It is essential to keep the number of solutions down to a reasonable size, preferably between three and five, or your project will become too large to handle.

3. Double-check the chosen solutions by doing a quick cost-benefit analysis of the value of the different alternatives. A solution that addresses many problems at the same time might give you better value for money. What is the potential of each of your alternatives with regard to long-term impact? What are the possibilities for scaling up or replication? Could a project continue if resources dried up?

4. Based on the above, the group should choose the best and most logical set of alternatives to become the projects for your strategy. A strategy implies a choice and you will need to be able to explain that choice in order to convince others to collaborate with you or to assist you. All the assessments you have done so far represent the reasoning behind the choices that you are about to make. Write it down as follows:

We aim to achieve ... (objective/purpose)

We will mitigate ... (problems)

We will capitalize on ... (opportunities)

We will work with ... (partners)

We will do this by implementing ... (solutions/projects)

We have chosen not to ... (rejected solutions)

Fill in the blanks and you will see your strategy!

Before going on to the next unit

You have now formulated a strategy. This is a description of what you are aiming to achieve and by what means. Present the strategy to the landing site users and request their comments and feedback. Use the results to improve your strategy.

The strategy is not quite finished. You now need to elaborate on the details to answer the questions who, what, where, when and how. This is your focus for the next unit.

UNIT 7: Creating a work plan


In this second part of the strategy development stage you will be specifying the time, staff, knowledge and other resources required to implement your chosen solutions. It requires careful thinking, but if done well, will make it easier to write the project proposal in the next unit (Unit 8) and implement the project.


In this unit you will be doing the following analyses:

Planning outputs and activities

From Unit 6 you have a basic strategy, consisting of an objective (also called a purpose), one or two problems and a few solutions for each. In this exercise, you are going to determine the outputs you need to achieve to reach these solutions, and what activities will enable you to attain those outputs.

Who should participate

Work with the working group, the leaders that formulated the strategy and the project partners you identified in the last unit.

Key terms

Activities are actions or a series of tasks undertaken to achieve the outputs planned.

Baseline data are information that is collected at the start of the project. By collecting this information again during the project or at its end, you can measure a change, preferably due to the project interventions.

The budget is the total of cost required to complete an entire project, broken down by category of resources and by output. A periodic budget is one covering a part of the project period, usually one month for short projects and three to four months for longer projects.

The duration of an activity refers to the amount of time required to complete it if a person worked full time, e.g. four working days.

An implementation schedule is a table that specifies when, and over what time period an activity will be implemented, thereby showing the sequence in which events should take place within a project’s total time frame.

Indicators provide concrete proof that you have achieved what you said you would. Indicators need to be precise, measurable and realistic.

Monitoring and evaluation (sometimes called M&E) refers to the systematic assessment of how well you have progressed towards the project goal or general objective. Evaluation events are periodic and ask fundamental questions about the overall progress and direction of the project. Project monitoring supports evaluation by providing information generated on a continuous basis.

Outputs are results or deliverables which you are planning to produce as a result of implementing the activities, and which will lead to the achievement of your project’s purpose or specific objective(s).

Performance questions are queries that help you define the monitoring and evaluation plan. They are based on the outputs of a project and on the four objectives of monitoring and evaluation: evaluating and monitoring, implementation, learning and impact measurement.

Resources are any types of inputs required to implement a project.

Tasks are the smallest unit in the planning of a project, consisting of things that need to be done to implement an activity.

The time period refers to the stretch of time over which an activity is implemented. This will tend to be longer than the duration; an activity may be completed over a two-week period but require only four working days of time within that period.

Steps to take

1. First, you need to determine the outputs that you are going to achieve with your solutions. To do so, put the strategy up on the wall. Determine what needs to change for each solution to occur: do stakeholders need to change their behaviour, and if so, how? Do they need information, new knowledge, different skills, different equipment or infrastructure? Make a list.

For example, to increase the professional safety and health of crew members you could give crew more information to prevent accidents, propose a breakwater to calm the waters in the harbour and provide an insurance scheme to cover accidents.

2. Refine the list in order to come up with a list of outputs. Outputs describe exactly what you are going to do. They are project results or "deliverables," things that you are planning to produce in order to achieve your purpose. Formulate them as if they had already been achieved, using a verb in the past tense. This forces you to think of practical, attainable things. For example, if your purpose is to increase fishers’ professional safety and health, your outputs might include:

Make the list as long as you can without worrying about whether the outputs are realistic to achieve; you will do that in the next step. For each solution, write a list of outputs.

3. Decide on a list of three to five criteria in order to decide which outputs you can realistically achieve. You will probably want to consider aspects such as: project cost, how long it will take to implement, how many and which people would benefit and how effective or long-lasting the benefits would be. For each solution, make a column for each of the criteria next to the list of outputs. Go through the list quite quickly and for each output assign a value for the three to five criteria:

If you find the output has a number of factors, breakdown the output further. You may need to reformulate an output into two or three different options and apply the criteria to each.

4. Once you have your list, eliminate any outputs that are unrealistically expensive, take too long, do not have any noticeable effects, and so on. Continue doing this until you have between three and five outputs per solution; these are the outputs you will actually work on. Assign letters to the outputs to identify them.

5. Read through each output, and add details including whom you want to work with, such as the stakeholder or user groups and numbers of people. This will make it easier to know what you want to achieve and, later on, to know when you have achieved it. For instance, in the example above on safety, you could write:

You should end up with three to five outputs for each of the two to three solutions.

6. Achieving each of the outputs requires a particular set of activities. For example, if your output is "A. Trained 200 fish processors in improved technical skills for fish smoking", your activities might include:

Develop a list of activities, just enough to outline how you will produce your outputs and to provide the basis for a separate, more detailed work plan. Number the activities (A1 to A4 in the example above) so that it is clear which activity relates to which output.

7. Refine the activities list by formulating them as simply and clearly as possible. Start each activity with a verb. Avoid using the word "and" because it tends to clump together more than one activity. This will make implementation much easier. For example: the output "reactivated medical insurance scheme for 70 fishers" might include conducting a study, writing a draft proposal, reviewing the draft, implementing the proposed scheme and providing follow-up services. Make each of these a separate activity:

Try not to exceed six to seven activities per output. If there are more, you probably need to reformulate the output into something more specific. Alternatively, you could go through the same process as you did for choosing the outputs, that is: define the criteria for a selection of activities, give each a value, and then choose the best options.

8. As the final step of this exercise, look at the problems, solutions, outputs and activities next to each other, and double-check whether the solutions you have come up with effectively solve the problem. You can do this by forming a causal sentence with "If ..., then ...". For example:

Should the "If...then..." check lead to illogical statements, you have to either reformulate the first part of the sentence, or the second, or discard it and come up with a more realistic statement.

Determining resources

You have defined the activities you are going to undertake. Now you are going to determine what inputs are required to implement each of them, in terms of equipment, expertise, travel, location, time and money.

Who should participate

Do this exercise with the same group as for defining the outputs and activities, namely the working group, the selected stakeholder leaders, and the partners. Make separate groups made of different actors all involved in the same issue, whether it is safety and health, fish processing or construction of cold storage boxes. They should work together on the activities of their expertise.

Steps to take

To define your inputs you have to subdivide each activity further into very specific tasks. Again, use a verb to write down the tasks. Use numbers to identify each task as part of a specific activity and output. An example: for output X "increased knowledge about safety measures on board and prevented accidents for crew, skippers and boat owners", your first activity is X1 "develop a training curriculum". This activity can be broken down into the following tasks:

Your activities and tasks must be subdivided only to the extent needed to be able to realistically estimate required resources and time. Write them down on a piece of paper, leaving five columns to the right.

9. Put a title in each of the five columns to indicate the type of input you are likely to need e.g.: equipment and other inputs, expert knowledge, travel, location, physical labour. If you have other titles you usually work with, feel free to use them. Fill in what you need for each task (do not forget things like paper, photocopies and so on!). Think of:

10. Take a new piece of paper and put it up on the wall next to the list of tasks and the five columns. Add two more columns. In the first, write "Duration", in the second "Cost". In the "Duration" column, write:

For example, it may take four full days to identify a consultant by going through rosters, contacting colleagues to get suggestions and to approach possible consultants. In reality, those four days may be spread out over the period of a month, but do not worry about that for the moment.

11. Finally, fill in the "Cost" column: how much money you need. Calculate how much things will cost, writing down both the unit cost (e.g one consultant for one month), then the total cost (if you need the consultant for three months, then put in the unit cost times three to get the total). Include everything, from the cost of buying equipment and transportation to a daily subsistence allowance or the use of space for meetings and trainings.

It is important to define unit costs as precisely as possible. Prices for seemingly simple items may differ significantly. This is true for photocopiers, accommodations, seminar rooms, but also for technical experts depending on their individual experience, level of knowledge and country of origin. Do some research to compare prices.

12. At this stage it tends to become difficult for the subgroup to see if anything is missing. Pair up the subgroups and have them explain their task and resource planning to each other. Have them pretend they actually have to carry out a task now, mentally going through the motions to see whether they have forgotten anything. Make any final adjustments to the resources schedule.

13. The final stage of the planning process is creating the budget: the total amount of money required for completion of all tasks listed in the implementation schedule. It will indicate how much it will cost to implement your project and who will contribute what. A budget ensures the completion of activities within the budgetary constraints and the timeframe and allows you to estimate the financial consequences in the event that activities change.

Refer to the costs you calculated in step 11 above. You are now going to group costs according to type for the entire project. For example, all travel costs should be grouped together in one category, all costs for consultants in another, all equipment in yet another. Budgets vary greatly in their structure and headlines and most funding agencies have their own format. Make sure you discuss this step with someone from the funding agency. Table 20 gives an example of a project budget.

14. Expenses for a project should also be defined according to the source of financing. The total share that each partner agency will contribute must be very clear. Make agreements with and between partners on who will contribute what type of support to each project activity, and calculate the share based on your budget. Once the shares are agreed, write them down in a simple table for everyone to see, so that there will be no disagreements later on.

Basic layout of a budget

Project 1

Output 1

Output 2

Output 3


Civil works

Vehicles, equipment, materials

Studies, research, demonstrations


Technical assistance

Staff training

Fishers’ training

Salaries and benefits

Operations and maintenance



Creating the implementation schedule

In this exercise you are going to make an implementation schedule, indicating every task with its start and completion time, who is going to do the work and who will be responsible for making sure it is done. (The difference between the latter two is indicated below.) You will also indicate critical points that can jeopardise the activity, the output, or even the solution.

Who should participate

Use the same the subgroups as the previous exercise.

Steps to take

1. In the previous exercise, you determined the duration of a task, that is, the time it takes to do the task if you were doing it full time. In step 1 of this exercise, you have to determine the period of time over which the task will be carried out. For example, the task of identifying a consultant was estimated to take four days of full-time work (duration). In actual fact those four days may be spread out over a three-week period. The period depends on many factors. The main one is probably that the person responsible for a given task is likely to have other responsibilities within or outside your project. Examples of other influencing factors are:

Be realistic in the planning of the period required to complete activities and tasks, and add in extra time for unexpected delays.

2. Consider what would be the logical sequence and of the inputs, tasks, activities and outputs and whether they are dependent on one another. You will need to:

Define which task/activity/output:

3. Based on the period, logical sequence and interdependency of tasks/activities/outputs, make an implementation schedule, including start and end dates. An implementation schedule can have many forms. Table 21 gives an example.

4. Based on the implementation schedule, you will need to do develop periodic budgets. This is required for cash flow planning and is in essence a more detailed budget showing the inputs required, the cost per unit and the total costs for each activity over a short period of time. It is generally most useful to consider one-month periods, or in the case of a project with a longer duration, a three-month period (or quarter). Use the implementation schedule and the overall budget that you prepared under the previous exercise to serve as a basis for the periodic budgets.

5. Identify any critical points that is, points where there is a high level of interdependency between activities, or where something has to happen before a certain date or time (e.g. before the start of the rainy season, or coinciding with the availability of a key consultant or expert). This will help you to monitor your progress during the implementation and be clear on deadlines. The periodic budget will help you to determine critical points.

6. Add two more aspects to the implementation schedule:

What is the difference between the two? A landing site user group may send 20 of their members to carry out some cleaning work, but their leader is responsible for making sure that 20 members are chosen, are aware of the date, hour and place they are expected to be at, what work they will be expected to do there, for how long. Again, this makes it a lot clearer when it comes to implementation of who you should speak to in order to get things done.

7. Once the implementation schedule is ready, organize a feedback meeting with landing site users. Make sure that those responsible for certain tasks are very clear on what they are responsible for, what that responsibility involves, and most importantly, that they agree to take on that responsibility. Make it clear who is overseeing the project, so they can contact this supervisor in case unexpected problems arise.

Basic layout of an implementation schedule


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3














Output A

Activity A.1

Activity A.2

Activity A.3

Activity A.4

Activity A.5

Activity A.6

Output B

Activity B.1

Activity B.2

Activity B.3

Activity B.4

Activity B.5

Output C

Activity C.1

Activity C.2

Activity C.3

Activity C.4

Activity C.5

Activity C.6

Activity C.7

Activity C.8

Planning monitoring and evaluation

In this exercise, you will define indicators for monitoring and evaluating the progress of your project so that you can ensure that you are working in accordance with the implementation schedule, or if necessary, can respond to changing circumstances. It also allows for objective and transparent reporting to funding agencies and other parties. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, 2002) has created a useful guide for project monitoring and evaluation. In this exercise it has been adapted to achieve the following:

Basic layout of a monitoring and evaluation plan


Performance questions

Information needs and indicators

Baseline information requirements

Methods for data gathering, frequency, responsibility

Format for data gathering

Analysis, reporting, feedback

Output A

Output B

Output C

Output D

Source: IFAD, 2002

Who should participate

Continue working with the subgroups from the previous exercises. It would be best if at least one or two people per working group had some experience making monitoring and evaluation plans.

Steps to take

1. For an idea of the type of information required for this exercise, see the layout of a monitoring and evaluation plan in Table 22 below. It gives you an idea of the type of information required. In this exercise, we will go through each column one at a time.

2. Go through your outputs and activities, and for each, identify performance questions based on the four purposes of the monitoring and evaluation plan. Examples of performance questions are:

3. You are likely to have come up with a large and complex list of questions. To reduce the list, match up ones that are the same, and eliminate ones that are too vague. Choose a limited number of them, concentrating on those that are most pertinent and, when answered, will provide most of the information you need.

4. Information indicators are data that will help you answer your performance questions. Indicators can be anything from health statistics or catch information to training reports or contracts. Some indicators will be clearer than others, and some will be direct indicators where others will be indirect.

For example:

Be selective in choosing your indicators, concentrating on a few that will give you much information. Make sure you choose ones that accurately represent the situation and give you the information you need.

5. Baseline data in the third column should be collected at the start of the project so that you can compare information in order to be able to answer your performance questions. For example, if you want to improve health or income, you want to know what the situation is before the project starts, and then how it evolves as the project progresses. Check to see if baseline data already exist elsewhere, or whether another organization is already collecting similar information. It could save you the time and effort to do so and avoids the stakeholders being bothered twice for the same information.

6. Once you have agreed on the information that is needed and the indicators that will be used, you need to decide which sources or methods you are going to use for data gathering. A source is where or from when you will obtain your information. This could include documents that regularly publish statistics, key persons or institutes and visible results. Choose a few sources that are accessible, keeping in mind that in some cases, funds will be required to access the resources.

7. Methods describe how you will obtain information from your source. Methods can be qualitative, quantitative, more or less participatory and more or less resource-intensive. They can include accessing databases, doing surveys and interviews, group evaluations or workshops. Each will provide data of varying degrees of accuracy and reliability. Your choice of methods depends on balancing these different factors. Do not include everything; focus.

8. Decide on the format, analysis, reporting, and feedback for the data gathered. Clarifying the format will help you focus on which information you need and how you will use it for the four purposes of doing the monitoring and evaluation, checking the implementation, learning from the experience and assessing whether you are achieving the project’s objective.

9. The monitoring and evaluation plan is now ready. Check it for consistency using "If...then" sentences as you did earlier.

10. Add an output in the project implementation schedule, which you might term output 0. "Project successfully implemented and completed". Establish the purpose and scope of the monitoring and evaluation plan in the overall project plan. Include the activities and tasks required to implement the monitoring and evaluation plan. Decide whether the project needs to train staff, implementing partners or community members who will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation techniques. Agree on who will carry out different tasks, and who is responsible for them. Organize external monitoring and evaluation or research expertise if needed. And finally, ensure everyone has sufficient time, financial resources and equipment to perform the tasks.

Before going on to the next unit

You may wish to organize a feedback meeting with landing site users at this point. Be sure also to organize one with the likely project partner agencies. This is advantageous because it is easier to change things now than once you have written the project proposal. Writing the proposal is what you will be doing in the next, and last unit of this manual.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page