Thu, Jun 17, 2021

The House of the European Union


  • 05/15/2021 - by Abel Huertas

The context presents us with changes that affect our own MISSION, equalizing people of all ages throughout the planet; in the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic it is indisputable that we are facing the greatest health challenge of the last hundred years, with consequences in the social fabric that are still difficult to assess in their depth and significance, and the role of our organizations is crucial.

When writing a project, if our organization belongs to civil society, and works non-profit, one of the questions that arise is how we will obtain the necessary resources.
That is why I have proposed as the objective of this synthesis, to give the necessary tips to dispel these doubts.

I belong to an NGO, the House of the European Union in Argentina, a non-profit civil organization that started in two thousand and five, and having collaborated in recent years in the generation of projects aimed at supporting priorities in terms of democracy and human rights and supporting civil society organizations for their contribution to the fulfillment of the sustainable development goals, I have looked at issues common to all projects and even other funds, programs and agencies.

Part 1
It is important that it is reflected in our planning that there is content beyond the forms; the project will be evaluated according to this content, so here are the basic points:
To write a project with real possibilities of receiving support from organizations, it is advisable to step firmly in three aspects:

APPLICANTS SHARE COSTS

There are possibilities for new organizations, and even those that do not meet the financial requirements to be an applicant. In this regard, I highly recommend registering for PADOR1, which stands for “Online Registration of Potential Applicant Data” in English.

Project planning by objectives.
Steps of the method, from identification to design:

1. Participation analysis.
2. Problem analysis.
3. Analysis of objectives.
4. Analysis of alternatives.
5. Project planning matrix.

Participation analysis

Objective: To offer an overview of all people, groups, organizations, institutions, authorities, etc. that somehow are going to be affected by the action.

Analyze social relations (conflicts, alliances) between people and groups that belong to the reality on which it is intended to intervene.

Each group must be identified with its interests and expectations, determining the existing relationships between the different groups.

KEY QUESTIONS

What are the groups most in need of external help?
What stakeholders should be supported to ensure positive development?
What are the conflicts that are likely to occur when supporting certain groups and what steps can be taken to avoid those conflicts?

PARTICIPATION ANALYSIS IS USED TO:

Have a comprehensive view of reality
See who we want to improve: Adopt a point of view

Problem analysis

Objective: Once the situation has been analyzed according to the different groups and entities that make it up, it is a question of reordering the material gathered according to a problem that we consider important, establishing its causes and effects, its origins and consequences.

Determine which problem seems most important to us and order the rest of the problems detected according to the first, establishing causal relationships between the problems, until forming a Problem Tree.

The purpose is to set up as complete a problem landscape as possible. Sometimes the group can restrict itself to analyzing one aspect of reality, sector, subsector, etc.

KEY QUESTIONS

The key question in each case is ………………,
or, put another way, "A is caused by B, C, D ..."

PROBLEM ANALYSIS IS USED TO:

Identify the problems that seem most important to us.
Formulate the central problem.
Write down the causes of the central problem.
Write down the effects caused by the central problem.
Create a diagram showing cause-effect relationships.
Review the complete scheme and verify its validity.

Objectives analysis

Objective: It describes the future situation that will be reached when the problems detected in the previous step are solved. It is about defining future solutions to problems.

Problems stated as "negative situations" become "positive future conditions" or "achieved states." Once the problem cards have been converted into objective cards, a tree of objectives is drawn up.

The cause-effect relationship of the problems is transformed into a means-end relationship in the objectives.

KEY QUESTIONS

The key question in each case is ………………,
or, in other words, "B, C, D, ... are means to achieve A"

TARGET ANALYSIS IS USED TO:

Transfer the contents of the cards from negative situations (problems) to positive states already achieved (objectives).

Reframe the objectives, if necessary, to make them clearer.
Complete the causal means-ends relationships by adding objectives.
Problems that cannot be converted into objectives are passed as is to the objective tree (the same card).
Review the tree and re-check the means-ends relationship.

Analysis of alternatives

Objective: Last phase of the identification, marks the step to the design of the project, indicating the alternative solutions that may become strategies for a development action.
Essential step, on which it is necessary to reach a high degree of consensus.
Determine within the objectives tree which options can be carried out with the greatest chances of success, according to a series of criteria (specific in each case).
Take into account the conclusions of the participation analysis, to determine the most appropriate strategy.

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS IS USED TO:

Identify in the objective tree the possible means-ends branches that have a “family resemblance” or have a special unity.

Generally, some type-strategies are discussed: "training approach," "infrastructure approach," "marketing approach," and so on.

Assess each of the options, discarding those that are undesirable or impossible to achieve.

The strategy that the project is going to develop is decided.

Within the chosen alternative, the card that will become the objective of the project is determined.

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS: Resources available. Probability of achieving the objectives. Political feasibility. Available time. Development policy priorities. Specific conditions in the country. Social and ecological risks. Impact. Use of regional / local resources. Target group priorities. Cost-benefit analysis. Concentration in the beneficiary groups.

Bibliographic References Part 1:
European Commission, EuropeAid / 170197 / DH / ACT / Multi (July 2020), Guide for grant applicants.
The logical framework approach: 10 practical cases (2001), Notebook for the identification and design of development projects. Hugo Camacho, Luis Cámara, Rafael Cascante, Héctor Sainz Fundación CIDEAL, (Development and Cooperation Actions A.D.C)

Part 2
Project planning matrix
It is the skeleton of the project design (document), which incorporates the basic information of a development project. It is a summary, on one page, of the project design.

WHY >>> SUPERIOR OBJECTIVE
FOR WHOM >>> BENEFICIARIES
WHAT >>> SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE
HOW >>> ACTIVITIES / RESULTS
EXTERNAL FACTORS >>> ASSUMPTIONS
HOW SUCCESS IS MEASURED >>> OBJECTIVELY VERIFIABLE INDICATORS
WHERE IS THE DATA TO MEASURE SUCCESS? >>> VERIFICATION SOURCES
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST >>> BUDGET

The Project Planning Matrix, known as the “Logical Framework Matrix” is a very valuable visual tool, the “Live Dashboard” of the project. This provides structure to express in a single table the most important information of the project.
It consists of a table divided into four rows and four columns with horizontal logic and vertical logic

We take the work of the problem and objectives tree together with the analysis of alternatives to outline the relationship of the optimal strategy or alternative with the objectives and actions. In the Analytical Structure of the Project, the relationship of hierarchical levels that is addressed in the logical framework matrix begins to be built. The organization of the levels in the matrix is ​​as follows: 1st level, activities. 2nd. Level, components. 3rd. Level, purpose. 4th. Level, purpose.

At this stage it is necessary to capture what has been done so far in a NARRATIVE SUMMARY

Here we begin to create the logical framework matrix. It is the first column, it is nothing more than the ordering of the levels of the project analytical structure on the logical framework matrix. In other words, each level of the structure is a row in the logical framework matrix. End, purpose, components, and activities are the rows of the logical framework matrix. The end is a medium-term impact; it represents the contribution that is achieved when the project is completed and can be made up of one or more elements. Purpose is the central goal of the project, and there should only be one. The project is completed once the purpose is achieved, and it is achieved when we have the components completed. The components, or products, are the deliverables; call them goods, services or tangible products of the project. They are the results of having the activities carried out. Lastly, the activities are those necessary to deliver the project components.

Objectively verifiable indicators. In the 2nd. Column of the logical framework matrix we define the way to know the progress of the project, either the current or final progress, creating indicators to measure everything that is in the narrative summary. This step is important for 3 reasons: all project stakeholders must be aware of them, they must be independent and focused practitioners, and there must be indicators to determine to what extent the objectives are achieved, but also to monitor progress over time. 

The means of verification. To know the status of the project, it is not enough to define the indicators, where and how we are going to obtain the data and information to carry out the measurement. The answer is part of the third column of the logical framework matrix: with the sources or means of verification we evaluate and monitor the indicators defining the following aspects: source of information; collection method; responsibility for the collection; analysis method and frequency.

Assumptions. They are all those conditions or factors that we consider to be true, but that are not controllable by the project team and that in the event that they are not fulfilled, affect the results. What can go wrong, everything that can lead to an assumption not being fulfilled is considered a risk; therefore, in this step we try to ensure that the assumptions are fulfilled, so we identify everything that can go wrong before starting a project item or during its execution. With item we refer to an element of the narrative summary, that is to say: end, purpose, components and activities.

Monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Sometimes not everything goes as planned. Unforeseen events, delays or things that are not being done as they should be done. It seeks to reduce the difference between what is real and what is planned. The difference between monitoring and evaluation is: With monitoring we control progress and we do it in the execution phase (costs, physical progress, compliance with times are subject to verification). We must inform those involved about the results of the monitoring and take the relevant actions to ensure the continuity and success of the project. Therefore, with monitoring we identify to what extent the activities are carried out on time and at the lowest cost, that is, project efficiency, and the components are being produced and if the purpose is achieved, that is, project effectiveness. To take actions that correct the path of the project, that with respect to the monitoring of the follow-up. Evaluation means putting a point on the road and thinking: Is the project working? This simple question must be answered considering a vision of the project as a whole and not as something specific. For what is specific is monitoring; on the other hand, in the evaluation we reflect on what has been done so far and the results obtained, which leads us to obtain high-level conclusions.

Bibliographic References Part 2:
Betancourt, D. F. (February 23, 2017). Logical framework: Definition, elaboration and detailed example. Recovered from Ingenio Empresa: www.ingenioempresa.com/metodologia-marco-logico.

Abel Huertas.
CEO The House of The European Union.
Argentina.