Guide on how to write Project Proposal paper
1. WHAT IS A PROJECT PROPOSAL?
A project proposal is a written document containing all the details about a project which is planned to achieve a particular goal or solve a particular problem. It contains what is proposed to be done in the project.
The main purpose of preparing a project proposal is to make sure that all the details of the project are presented properly in a systematic way so that any stakeholder including funding agents can easily understand what all is about.
Many project proposals however are prepared for more specific aims like the following:
To meet the requirements of funding agents wishing to fund the projects.
As a selling document to market the project to all the stakeholders so that they can
support the project.
To guide all the activities, resource mobilization and operations (when it gets
implemented) of the project.
To serve as a reference document for future projects or plans.
2. COMPONENTS OF A PROJECT PROPOSAL
The components of a project proposal and particularly the details contained there-in depend on the type of project and the specific details required by the stakeholders in the project especially funding agents. In general, for community development projects the following are usually the main components.
Background and justification
Goals and objectives
Project budget and costs
Monitoring and evaluation system
For income generating projects (IGPS) proposals the details vary slightly because they are essentially business plans IGP proposals contain the following key business planning elements or components;
A marketing plans
3. PREPARING A PROJECT PROPOSAL
1. THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (what is it all about?) This part appears first on
the proposal yet it is the last one to be prepared. What is contained in the executive summary are the main highlights of the whole proposal and therefore can only be identified after preparing all the other parts.
The executive summary is prepared for purposes of those executives who including
representatives of funding agents who may be interested in the project but do not have enough time to go through the detailed information. They would like some “quick” information on which to make a decision. However, that information must be attractive and sufficient enough for that decision.
This section of the proposal should answer the following simple questions and contains in summary the respective parts.
Where are we now? This refers to the analysis of the problem on which the projects ID - based.
Where do we want to go? This gives a quick outline of the goals and objectives of the project.
Which route shall we follow? This gives an outline of project components,
strategic interventions, outputs activities, assumptions and resource inputs.
How shall we travel? This is a summary of the implementation plan.
How shall we know we have reached? summary of monitoring and evaluation system
How much shall this cost? Main highlights of the budget.
2. BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION (Where are we now) This part of the
proposal addresses the identification and selection aspect of a project. To be able to focus on this, this part must clearly present the problem or the need that the project is addressing or to be alleviated. It also explains the general situation and aspects that are relevant to the problem or need on need on which the project is based. In particular this section should include the following aspects.
2.1 Problem identification. The circumstances that led to identification of the current problem the project wants to solve or alleviate. This section should explain why the problem was considered a priority and particularly the main criteria or basis for its selection as a project.
2.2 What has been done so far? There should be a statement of how the problem is developing. What has been done to address the problem? What others have attempted to do about the problem and the gaps which the proposed project can fill. This helps in justifying the intervention you have chosen. Are there other previous evaluations? Give them as much evidence as possible of the need and demand for workable solution for the problem.
2.3 Relevance to the policies and priorities. This part should explain its relevance to policies and priorities of the community or organization.
3. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES (Where do we want to go?
Goals are broad statements of what is ultimately to be accomplished while objectives are more specific aims which the project is to achieve. This section therefore should contain the following;
Overall goal mission or developmental aim of the sector or programmed.
The project purpose to be achieved after completion of the project
Specific objectives to be achieved within the project
All these shows what will have been achieved when the project is completed.
4. PROJECT STRATEGY/COMPONENTS (which route shall we take). The project
strategy is a major component of your proposal. It deals with the overall design of intervention that will help in meeting the objectives and the overall goal. In particular it must clarify explain and precisely state the component the entire project. It should give a description of the project scope in terms of issues to be addressed and coverage. For instance, if it is for a service in what will it will serve the prospective beneficiaries?
This section therefore will contain details of the following items
Main beneficiaries of the project
Broad strategic intervention
Assumptions, objectively verifiable indicator (OVIs) and the means of verification.
Major outputs or key result areas of the project
Activities to help in supporting outputs, major invention to achieve the project purpose
Feasibility study results
4.1 Implementation (how shall we travel?)
This section of the proposal is meant to give an outline of the proposed methods of operation using the project plan. It contains three major components:
Work plans – this can also be called work scheduling. These work plans are
drawn from the major outputs and activities contained in the strategy. They are now planned in terms of time, outputs priorities and who is responsible. Activities are broken into sub-activities and put into a time schedule.
Resource inputs in this section, all the resource inputs are given in details and are matched against specific activities and outputs. Resource inputs include human, physical, material and financial resources.
Management and organizational systems, this should give some details of the
expected staffing requirements and specific who will be responsible for what. Policies and procedures and developed to indicate how the project will be managed.
4.2 The project budget (how much will it cost?). The project budget is of
very great importance to all stakeholders. Therefore, it must be well prepared. The components of the budget will depend on the design and requirements of the project. The best approach for a project is to prepare zero-base or priority base budgeting which does not base the budget’s historical data.
In the project proposal the following main areas must be included
Evaluations (timing and their purpose).
The monitoring systems particularly reporting systems and persons responsible.
Who will be responsible for monitoring and evaluation?
It also includes provisions for both the internal and external evaluations.
Appendix. This section is often ignored but it is very important. It contains documents or illustrations that have too much detail to be included in the main proposal e.g. feasibility study analysis. It should also contain any other extraneous information which is meant only for reference. This includes the profile of your organization or resumes of key persons. 4.0 making the proposal more effective and acceptable One can come up with a proposal which has all the technical aspects but which still cannot “self” because of the way it is prepared.
The following are some of the things to be keen about when writing a proposal
The language, must be polished and suitable for the purpose for which the
proposal is meant. If the proposal is technical, it must appear so even in its language and particularly the use of the correct words and terms. The grammar must also be polished.
Information, the proposal must give enough information without being unnecessarily
verbose or too technical.
Illustration - wherever necessary, appropriate illustrations must be included. Good use of matric/tables is helpful for presenting analysis of issues. However, any issues that are too detailed should go to the appendix.
Numbering, must be appropriate and sequenced.
Steps to follow when writing a project proposal:
A good and logical way to go about writing the proposal is to start be preparing a draft followed by the final copy. This ensures that there is room for ‘polishing’ your proposal before presenting it.
1. Gather the project planning facts (develop the project plan/design)
2. Research and collect all the background information. Much of this should be available from the project document.
3. Draw an outline, containing all the components (main sections and sub-sections). Stick to the recipient’s guide, if any.
4. Write the first draft
Start with section (s) you like
Do not pay attention to spelling and grammar at this time
Make it as complete as possible
Spread your time for writing
Make use of numbering but do not use too many divisions.
5. Editing and revision
Give yourself a day or two before revisiting the document
You need self-criticism – try objectively
Use pencils for small corrections
Check the sequencing of titles, headings and numbering
Check and correct grammar
Write the final draft, print and appropriately
Project proposal writing: conceptual framework