The Proposal

A general format of the proposal consists of the following parts:

  • Problem Statement
  • Project Rationale or Justification
  • Project Goal and Objectives
  • Strategies and Activities
  • Results: Impact, Outputs, and Outcomes
  • Budget

This basic format of a proposal has expanded covering many concepts and issues, confronting project funding, and project implementation.

As new experiences are gathered by donors in project implementation and funding processes, new explanations are sought from the applicant through the proposal.


Problem Statement or Project Rationale in a Proposal

The Problem Statement/Project Rationale gives an explanation about the issue that is being addressed by the project and why it needs to be addressed. It also argues in favor of implementing the project in the proposed area in the existing conditions.

It is critical that we give evidence to what we are writing in this section of the proposal.

Evidence can be in the form of other research, existing literature or data collected by the organization itself


What to remember when writing a project statement

  • Problem Statement/Project Rationale is a brief analysis or summary of the problems identified relating to the project or issue to be addressed by the project.
  • It has to be precise and point-to-point basis.
  • The use of quotes, live examples, references, research data, and press articles would be very helpful.
  • It has to be very specific to donor issues and priorities.
  • Giving references to other NGOs, Governmental work in the area
  • What information to include in a project statement
  • Country, region, area details (location in the region, government, population etc);
  • Poverty information, including information on the state of the economy,
  • Employment/unemployment;
  • Gender issues;
  • Health and education

Sometimes, we may find difficulties in writing the exact problem we intend to address in the proposed project. It happens this way that the problem we are mentioning in the proposal is not a problem at all, but is actually an effect of another problem.

For example, suppose there is high child mortality rate in our project area and we wish to put up a proposal on it, we cannot mention this as a problem because this is an effect of a problem, while the problem is something else. In this case, it could be the prevalence of diarrhoea that is leading to high child mortality. So the problem here is “the prevalence of diarrhoea” and not “high child mortality rate.”

It is also necessary to mention the cause of the problem because it is an integral part of the project implementation. In this scenario, the cause of the problem for the prevalence of diarrhea could be the “poor knowledge of the community about proper hygiene and sanitation.”

Effect > Problem > Cause

The relationship between the three (Effect, Problem and Cause) has to be outlined in the Problem Statement of the proposal. If we have an issue, it will be a good exercise to go a step back and forth to find out its cause and effect relationship. The best way to understand the cause of an issue is to ask “Why” continuously. This will help reveal the cause of the problem. A problem can have many causes and effects.

“The Why or Why”

  • Projects evolve out of identified problems
  • It is the problem that comes before a project
  • The secret of solving a problem is proper identification of the problem. This requires a thorough investigation.
  • A problem does not happen in isolation. It goes hand in hand with cause and effect.
  • There is a relationship between cause and effect. They are linked by the problem.
  • A way to analyze a problem is through analyzing the root causes and its effects.
  • State the problem as effectively and precisely as possible
  • Refer to any research data that is available, including publications, reports, newspapers, etc.
  • Give a narration of community perception with quotes.
  • Check back how well it matches with the donor guidelines or issues.
  • Give thorough background information about the region, community, and resources available.
  • Explain the organizational strength and capacity in countering this problem and achieving long-term results.