to prioritise your ideas according to the
needs of your community. Have your
team vote on this -
it will help them
feel “ownership” of the decision-making process. Write
up the needs
highlighted by your research then
prioritise them in order of urgency
i.e. What is the thing that absolutely
has to be addressed immediately?
Once you have identified your priority need, it’s time to get
Think about how youth can solve the
problem or at least how you can
make the effects of it more bearable
for the people in your community.
Consider ideas from your research.
Think laterally across a problem -
come at it from different angles.
What are YOU going to do about it? If you absolutely cannot
an achievable project that can help
address the first priority need, then
move on to the next need
or the next
until you find one that you
all think you can usefully address.
Don’t give up!
What makes a good project idea:
Achievability: Make sure your project
ideas are within your powers to
complete successfully. If you feel
an idea can’t be done, then try a
different approach. For example, if
your priority need is for electricity,
building a power station is probably
beyond your competence. However,
you could build a wind generator
hooked up to batteries. That’s an
achievable project goal!
Relevance: It essential that your
project’s main goal will address a
priority need. A common mistake
is to start a project that is exciting
without clearly thinking how it will
help improve your community.
To help you figure out if your project is going to work or not,do
a S.W.O.T.analysis. This will allow you to measure your
project’s Strengths: The people, skills, facilities
and equipment that you have.
Weaknesses: What limits your actions
(e.g. lack of skills, equipment, local
Opportunities: Possible ways to build or
add strengths and lessen weaknesses.
Threats: Possible events that could
weaken your organisation and so
should be avoided.
By getting your team to write down the S.W.O.Ts of your idea/organisation,you
get a clearer idea of where you are now and whether your project
idea is realistic
Make sure you are able to give a clear
step-by-step explanation of how
your project will address the need.
A web-based educational group,
for example, may be more exciting
to set up than community classes.
However, it would not be of any use
in a community with limited internet
Originality: Be prepared to think of
new ideas. While an idea must first
be relevant and achievable, it helps
to be bold and inspiring, especially
for catching the attention of funders
and development professionals. So
try to think of ideas that are different and innovative.
Having said this, tried and tested
means can sometimes be a safer
method. You may be able to combine the two by being the first
in your area to use an idea from
abroad. Do what is right for you, and
don’t be afraid to be different.
Fleshing out the project: So you
have an idea! It is your “Project”! Well
done! Now break it down into all of
its component parts to build a workable programme. You can use these
pointers to help you: each of them
will be explored further in the Take
Action and Follow-up sections:
Your Team: Who, what roles and
where will responsibility lie?
Your resources: Why are you collectively capable of taking on this
Your supporters: Who in your community can offer assistance in the
form of finance, goods in kind, experience or ideological support?
Estimated time frame: How much
time do you have to complete the
Estimated costs: How much will this
Evaluation method: How will you
record and measure your project’s
Simplicity: Ask straightforward questions.Avoid undefined time definitions
such as ‘sometimes’or ‘usually’. Different
perceptions will confuse your answers. Instead stick to
defined time frames
such as ‘everyday’. Avoid leading questions:
Keep questions neutral.Remember you are trying
to find out the views of the participants,
not trying to impose your views on
Clarity: Try and focus your question
on a specific issue rather than general
ideas.If you make your questions too
broad,different issues will get lumped
together and will be impossible to break
Relevance: Don’t ask questions just
because they might be interesting.Stick
to the issues you wish to tackle.
When you are designing a questionnaire,think about:
Now breakdown your project idea
into a set of realistic goals. Divide the
goals into short-, medium- and long-term SMART Targets. Your targets
should be practical, step-by-step and
allow you to focus on one thing at
a time. Use your SMART targets to
make a clear plan of action, scaling
down from your overall goal and
highlighting pitfalls and obstacles.
This will give you an overview of the
Creating SMART Targets.
SMART targets are:
Specific – Precisely state what is to
Measurable – Have clear criteria for
Achievable – Have all the resources
to complete the task.
Realistic – Can be completed within
the time-frame and budget.
Time related – Have a clear date/deadline for completion.
Example: Digging a well. A bad
target is: “We will dig a hole.” A
SMART Target is: “We will have dug a
2m diameter wide, 1m deep hole by
the 12th October.” This SMART target
specifically states what is to be done,
how it can be measured and when it
will be completed. How achievable it
is depends on whether you have sufficient resources and personnel
the job within the time-frame. Always
think about the time frame when you
are setting the target dates.
Also, be sure to set up a process to
evaluate your progress and see how
far you have progressed every step
along the way.
Think about the following tips when you are conducting interviews:Be
Confidential. Be personal, friendly and place the interviewee at
Allow the interviewees to fully express their views.
Make sure you record the interview or take notes so you have
information to refer back to later.Try to end the interview on
a light note and always remember to thank your interviewees.It will
leave them feeling valued and useful.
Remember,you may want to engage their help on
your project in the future!
mapping is one popular method of generating ideas. It can be done
alone or with
a team and
is an excellent tool to help you put
thoughts in order. Take a whiteboard or large piece of paper. In the
centre, write the main point you want to address and circle it. As
you have a thought about the issue, draw a line out from the circle
and write it down. This thought might be an idea about how to solve
the problem or an observation about the problem. If you have a point
about this new thought, then draw a line out and write down this new
thought and circle that too. As the map grows you will be able to see
lots of ideas and how they relate to your central issue. Write down
everyone’s ideas. Seemingly silly ideas can often spark better
ones and the more ideas you have the more opportunities you have to
create a great project. You can always discount the irrelevant ones
later. Use other people’s ideas as inspiration for your own.Feel
free to develop,or make points based on another’s idea. Encourage
participation from everyone - everybody will think of different things,which
will lead to an eclectic and well developed mind map.
Documentation - For your organisation’s future, it is
extremely important to learn how to
document every step.Keeping a record
is useful when tracing the progress of a
project,and keeping a log of who said
and did what is invaluable when conflicts
or confusions arise. Try to keep track of
Finance: budget and financial report
Receipts and invoices
Correspondence: copies of all letters& faxes; a summary of all
People management: Work schedule
Networking: names & contact
Research: interview notes; your team
member’s observation notes
Legal agreements: contracts signed Back