Assignment 1 Discussion Page
Online Learning: OL 204 Designing and Funding Non Profit Projects. The Community Focus Sustainable Implementation.
Center for Sustainable Development

Welcome to OL 204 Designing and Funding Non Profit Projects. Sustainable Implementation. In 201 and 202 you learned how to non profit projects designed for sustainability and long-term impact. In 203 you refined your project with local knowledge, you continued to develop community ownership, and you formed a community based management and oversight committee that you will partner with when you launch the project.

In this course, OL 204, we will be launching the project and ensuring that the community members have the tools (documents, training, resources, and contacts) that they need to both co-manage the project with us—and take it over at the end of our project cycle.

This week, in Assignment 1, we will be putting together a plan of who’s going to do what in the project (what the community members will be doing and what the NGO staff will be doing), and assembling a customized set of project management tools/documents for the community members themselves to use.

Your working relationship with the community over the next few weeks/months/years may be relatively simple—or it might be more involved if community members are actually part of the implementation team.

A very simple example of this would be that if your project was a children’s vaccination project, your community’s simple involvement in the implementation might be to help set up a meeting place and in coordinating getting the children to the meeting place to be vaccinated. So there isn’t much day-to-day engagement with community members in the implementation of this kind of a project.

On the other hand let’s say that your project was a little bit more involved than a vaccination program—let’s say that your project is to set up a food bank staffed by trained, volunteer community members to provide basic health care. 

In that type of project you could be partnering with community members to choose a location for the food bank—and to fix it up.  You could be working with them to lead workshops in nutrition. You might be working with them to set up a relationship with the local school so that the children can learn about nutrition. In this situation, your engagement with community members will be very much more involved than in the first example.

This week we’re going to learn how, as project facilitators, to begin empowering the community members.  And, it’s going to be important to determine which activities are going to be best for them to do in order to train them. So this week we will review the list that we asked the committee to write up for us in assignment six in 203 of activities that community members would like to do as part of the project.

We’ve also spent a fair amount of time over the past six or seven months developing our management tools: field guides, lesson plans, log frames, budgets, schedules, fact sheets, and proposals. These documents are reasonably sophisticated and might be overwhelming for our new partners. Perhaps they speak a different language than the documents are written in—perhaps they can’t read. It might be that some of the community members are better educated and can read, but still we need to make sure that we have tools that can be used by the people actually doing activities.

So this week we’re also going to determine what management tools we can give them—and in what format—so that they will understand how the project is going to unfold, what to do next and when—and a way for them to know when they’re on target.

Getting started
The Assignment One Homework Instructions will guide you through the process.