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Program Design

How to use root cause analysis to fix problems

All aid projects face problems at one stage or another. It could be that an employee stole money from the project, or that an activity kept running for years even though it was ineffective. It can be tempting to put these problems down to individual people. The employee was unethical, ... Read More »

Three questions to ask before organising a capacity building workshop

In my opinion, capacity building workshops are one of the most overused activities in international development / aid programs today. Normally involving the words “strengthening”, “sustainable” or “empowerment”, these events have the potential to waste large amounts of money and achieve relatively little. That’s not to say workshops are completely useless, ... Read More »

Should I use interviews or focus groups?

Deciding whether to use interviews or focus groups for collecting qualitative data is an age old question that plagues every international development / aid worker at some point in their career. Some experts think interviews are better, some think focus groups are better, while others say it depends on the situation. ... Read More »

Proposal template

Large Folder with Papers

The most common way to get funding for an international development / aid project is by writing a proposal and submitting it to a donor (or many donors!). Donors read hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals each year. Well-written proposals are more likely to get their attention and ultimately to ... Read More »

Risk assessment template

Before implementing any type of international development / aid program it’s a good idea to identify all the risks you might face, and work out what you are going to do about them. Risks to the program might include internal issues, such as the necessary resources not being available or ... Read More »

How to do great semi-structured interviews

Semi-structured interviews are a staple of international development programs. Unfortunately they are often done in a rush without proper planning and analysis. The result can be a pile of interview notes that don’t contain the information you need, or simply repeat the same points over and over without adding anything ... Read More »

Job description template

Every employee and volunteer in your program should have a basic job description that lists their responsibilities, who the report to and who they supervise. Job descriptions are important for making sure that everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for. Common roles in international development programs include the Program ... Read More »

How to design a new program

Designing a new program can be both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because it’s difficult to know if you’ve designed it the right way. Rewarding if your program ends up working (or discouraging if it ends up not working!). There are plenty of manuals on how to design programs, like these ... Read More »

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