How to Create a New Programme as an NGO

How to Create a New Programme as an NGO

For every non-profit enterprise, designing a new programme can be both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because it’s difficult to know if you’ve designed it the right way. Rewarding if your programme ends up working as anticipated.

Here are the steps to follow before designing your programme. It is advisable to start on a small scale and upscale later as the programme gathers momentum;

  • Find out what the problem is. Use a Problem Tree Analysis to define the problems, causes and effects. The Problem Tree Analysis is like a tree. It has three parts: a trunk, roots and branches. The trunk is the main ‘problem’, the roots are the ’cause’ and the ‘branches’ are the effects;

  • Find out who the stakeholders are. No program operates in a vacuum. So it’s essential that as part of the design process you identify all the other stakeholders who might be involved in your programme. They may include government agencies/officials, beneficiaries, other NGOs, and even key individuals in the value chain. Reasons for stakeholder engagement;
  • What resources and skills are available to you? One tool that some people like to use for this step is a SWOT analysis, which identifies the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to an organisation;
  • Research into interventions that are effective. Key ways of testing the waters are through Theories of Change and Needs Assessment studies. These will be discussed in another write-up;
  • Choose your goal and how to measure it: One way to identify the goal and possible objectives is simply to reverse the statements in your problem tree from negative statements to positive ones. For example, “lack of awareness” becomes “increased awareness”, “increased deforestation” becomes “reduced deforestation”;
  • Identify activities that can lead to the goal. You could explore previous success stories and the drivers of that success. Where this is not done, an NGO stands the risk of trial and error and losing valuable resources in the process;
  • Document the Processes. The stage to create the documents that you need to describe the programme. These documents include Logical Framework, Monitoring & Evaluation Framework and Workplan. These will be discussed in detail.
  • Be flexible. Now you’re ready for the next step – implementation. The most important thing to remember during implementation is to be flexible. If something doesn’t work according to the plan, or if you aren’t getting the results you expected, then change the program design. There’s no point wasting time and money on a program that isn’t working.

Next time, we will talk about tools needed when running your programmes.

© PRL Research 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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