The overall Programme (Aspire) is based on national, regional and local measures of deprivation and on baseline studies which is used to identify specific issues. A Programme could comprise of:

  • A geographical area
  • A particular group of people
  • A number of sectors and themes
  • Total fund allocation
  • Time period

A Programme consists of a group of individual projects that seek to address the same objective. Programmes can include long, medium and short term projects.  Within a programme, there will be a number of projects that will address the specific identified needs/challenges. Designing and implementing individual projects is the method by which Programmes are carried out.

The project management life cycle develops a programme strategy and a set of criteria to provide an operational framework that is specific to local conditions and to complement the contributions made by funders. This creates a framework within which operational decisions and actions are taken to meet the objectives of the Programme.

The projects are the method for solving the specific problems and managing specific initiatives that contribute towards the Programme. The contribution towards strategy from each project is strengthened once all projects are aligned within the programme strategy.

1. Guidelines for selection of Programmes

1.1. What is a programme?

Regeneration and development programmes and projects are short term interventions to create long term benefits. Their purpose is to change an existing negative situation into a positive situation. Generally, programmes and projects are initiated to:

  • Put in place better services
  • Change the behaviour of service providers and service users

The Programme is the overall plan within a policy framework. The Programme sets the overall outcome and budget limits, defines the geographical, social and economic parameters within which the programme operates, and will be established for a number of years. It will be based on a general set of indicators (identified through a baseline exercise) that determine the need for the initiative.

A well formulated project should derive from Government’s development policy. Within the scope of these policy priorities, the executive arms of government or non-governmental agencies formulate the broad areas of work required to implement policy decisions. These broad areas of work are often called programmes, which, like projects, may vary significantly in scope and scale.

A programme could…

  • Cover a whole sector e.g. Agriculture sector
  • Focus on one part of a sector
  • Be a package of projects within a common focus/theme
  • Be a “large project” with a number of different components.

Programme selection Guidelines

Ensure that the Programme ….

  • Supports the realisation of the Overall Programme (agency) goals and objectives
  • Is realistic and achievable in its potential for achieving the objectives identified
  • Incorporate a number of related complimentary projects using a variety of methods that address different aspects of areas of the programme objective (Outcome). They may be implemented by a variety of actors or stakeholders in the community, and can be acted upon by an individual stakeholder or in collaboration with the other stakeholders or government

2. Guidelines for selecting Projects within a Programme

Note: During this phase, the focus is merely on how to make an initial selection of projects. During the Project Conceptualisation phase, a more detailed analysis is included. The process of project identification leads to the preparation of a project concept.

2.1. What is a project?

Definition :  A project is a series of activities aimed at bringing about clearly specified objectives within a defined time period and with a defined budget within the parameters of the Programme.

  • Development projects are a way of clearly defining and managing of investments and change processes
  • A project links the policy initiative of the Programme at the higher level with the unique problems faced by a particular group at grass roots level.
  • A project is viable, realistic and has measurable or observable outputs.
  • A Project represents the demand set by sub-group focused on a specific set of issues and problems within a narrow geographical area ( whilst a Programme is an initiative that deals with a particular broad set of issues within a wide geographical area.)

Critical Qualities of a project :

  • Clearly identified stakeholders, including the primary target group and the final beneficiaries
  • Clearly defined coordination, management and financing arrangements
  • A monitoring and evaluation system to support performance management
  • An appropriate level of financial and economic analysis, which indicates that the project’s benefits will exceed its costs.

2.2. Project Identification

  • Should include all individuals or groups that will be potential involved in project implementation ( potential partners or recipients of the project)
  • Consider a broad range of alternative projects that will achieve the programmes
  • Effective project identification should set broad criteria and analysis should be undertaken to inform decisions whether to progress to the next stage or not.
  • Identify target group and other relevant stakeholders, problems, objectives and strategy options
  • Analyse local situations
  • Objectives need to be relevant to problems and capacity of participation by potential beneficiaries (participants)
  • Project selection needs to align with the development priorities and strategies of the country.