Writing a Project Proposal that gets funded

TO: Dear Members
FROM: Dr John Vong
RE: Template that will increase your success in grant writing.

PROPOSAL FOR TELECENTRE PILOT

This document is prepared in accordance with guidelines of ………….regarding regulations on managing and using ODA (Official Development Assistance). This outline is written in accordance with formats laid out in Index 2, Page 3 of Circular No. …………

I. Project Information
1. Title: Rural Telecentre Pilot Project
2. Host agent: CapDev Project
(a) Address:
(b) Email/Telephone:
3. Telecentre Pilot Executive Agent:
(a) Address:
(b) Email/Telephone:
4. Agent proposing the Telecentre Pilot: CapDev Project
(a) Address:
(b) Email/Telephone:
5. Estimated start date/end date:
6. Location of Telecentre Pilot: 10 communes in 5 provinces
7. Total Budget: USD500,000, in which
7.1 Donor 1: USD400,000 (grant)
7.2 Donor 2: USD100,000 in domestic currency
8. Form of ODA funding: Grant

II. Content of Telecentre Pilot Project

1.0 The Need of the Telecentre Pilot

1.1 Context

The emerging nation of (name of country) has at least 80% rural population engaged in agriculture production but contributes to only 18% of the GDP. The UNDP have conducted two studies on farmer livelihoods in 2009 and 2010: Farmer Needs Study (UNDP Report 98/004, 2010) and Feasibility Study on Rural Pilot Telecentres for Farming Households (UNDP Report/02/016, 2010) that revealed the plight of poor farmers and confirmed a need for information to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural production leading to higher incomes.

1.2 Main findings of the Farmers Need Study and Telecentre Feasibility Study

The Farmers Needs Study (2008) under the Ministry of Agriculture Project, identified problems faced by farmers in their efforts to increase the size and quality of agriculture production, and the alternative ways to support rural farming through public service delivery. The six-month Farmers Needs Study conducted not less than 1200 door-to-door interviews in 60 communes in 30 randomly selected districts that were engaged in crop cultivation, animal husbandry, fishing and forestry. Among the key findings is that almost all farming households, of four persons on average, are living below US$4 per day, and having average monthly household incomes of US$ 100 or less. The farmers voiced their major problem as the lack of information to help them: control insects, rats and fungus devastation; and increase the selling price of agriculture products..

The 2010 ICT Feasibility Study took the form of a structured field survey of 20 randomly selected communes in 10 districts within 5 provinces across the nation, over a period of four weeks. The ICT Study found that information on agriculture output is most helpful to farmers; information is urgently needed for agriculture production reform; and technical information on agriculture extension, animal health and plant protection is urgent for farming communes. The ICT Study also highlighted that the district and communal extension at present has limited capacity to help farmers to resolve their problems and they themselves lack information and technical knowledge. The deployment of ICT for poverty reduction is already welcomes at three levels: commune, national and international.

The main findings of the two studies highlighted that the “information gap” lowers farm incomes and production due to:
1. Price exploitation of farmers by middlemen, slaughter houses, and food manufacturers;
2. Devastation of crops and animal husbandry by fungus, rats, insects and disease thus lowering production volume and quality;
3. Inability to find long-term buyers to stabilise their incomes;
4. Inability to seek the best credit sources (80% of farming communes borrows to fund their agriculture production) thus paying higher interest rates and reducing incomes;
5. Inadequate knowledge of agriculture marketing skills to increase sales volume;
6. Lack of forward production planning thus lower incomes;
7. Inability to increase crop yields and husbandry;
8. Inadequate knowledge of agriculture extension to help farmers;
9. Outdated and non-specific training from agriculture extension;
10. Untimely and sporadic TV broadcast of agricultural information.

1.3 Market knowledge
Field study shows that in all communities, the biggest difficulty encountered by farmers is the lack of information on their output market. In both those communities where the target is the domestic market and communities where products are mainly for exports, farmers sell their products through individual middlemen. Rarely do processing enterprises come to farmers to collect raw products nor do they contract farmers to grow specific plants and commit to purchasing all the outputs if the qualify is satisfactory. Thus, the sale of agricultural products of farmers is totally dependent on the middlemen. However, the middlemen only participate in the process of delivering agricultural products from farmers to purchasing agents/collecting enterprises, they are not very effective in assisting farmers to select what crops/trees to grow and what animals to breed.

1.4 Technical knowledge:
The changes in agricultural production are posing new challenges for farmers. When new seeds or breeds are introduced, new farming techniques must be applied. Farmers cannot just apply traditional techniques and take care of their production based on experience. For example, in VL Province, many farmers are shifting from growing rice to developing “Local orange”, a crop that brings much higher profit. But this kind of orange necessitates special efforts, especially in selecting saplings. Many farmers are now learning the costly lesson that free-from disease saplings must be selected carefully from reliable suppliers.

1.5 Agriculture reform
Resolutions of the National Assembly (2006 to 2010) stressed the importance of “strongly changing agriculture structure to increase cash crop production”. Following the resolutions, there is a restructuring in farming activities in all communities investigated. However, the extent to which agricultural production is restructured varies between different communities. In some communities, there are small changes such as increasing from 2 crops of rice per year to 2 crops of rice and 1 crop of non-rice food, or introducing new seeds or breeds to production. For example, in 2 northern provinces, the communities are now making efforts to achieve a target of US$1500 revenue per hectare by rotational and alternate crops. In 2 central provinces, new types of cash crops are introduced. In other communities, there are basic changes in the structure of cultivation and husbandry, such as shifting from paddy fields to fishponds in the southern provinces or from paddy fields to fruit in VL province. In all cases, significant information is needed on land use.

1.6 Agriculture extension services:
The system of these agencies is the most important source of technical information for the farmers. These agencies issue farming manuals, leaflets, brochures etc. to introduce farming techniques, pest and disease prevention and treatment etc. and provide training to extension officials of the agencies of the lower level and to farmers. Currently, the extension workers at the commune level have limited capacity to train farmers, thus all training for farmers is either provided by the district or provincial officials.

At the commune level, there are usually one to two workers who take on the responsibilities in all three areas: agriculture extension, animal health and plant protection. These workers are not Government personnel, and they are not administratively linked to the support systems. They are paid with small allowances of from the provincial budget, resulting in low motivation to advance their skills.

1.7 TV Broadcast of information:
At present National TV weekly programme “Happy Farmers,” is very popular with farmers. Television stations in the provinces surveyed also have similar weekly programmes under different names. They provide farmers with introduction on new production techniques and models, new breeds and seeds etc. However the broadcast is often too general while detailed and specific information is needed and (ii) and that the broadcasts are in the morning and afternoon at a time when farmers need to work. Therefore, there should have appropriate facilities to record agricultural-based TV programmes and circulate the discs/video tapes amongst farmers.

2.0 Telecentre Pilot Goal and Purpose

a) Propose development and sub-component purpose:

The propose development goal for the sub component is:

To improve the lives of the rural community through providing them with better access to information.

The proposed purpose of the sub-component is:

Piloting 10 Telecentres in farming communes to identify appropriate and financially sustainable Telecentre model/s that can best provide information to enhance income generation capacity of farmers.

b) Immediate objectives

To deliver and exchange useful and useable information services to farmers based on their needs, priorities, aspirations and identified opportunities for improved agricultural production, leading to increased incomes, and within a tested and replicable mechanism that makes effective and sustainable use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

3 Major Outputs for Telecentre Pilot

3.1 Output 1: 10 pilot Telecentres established

3.2 Output 2: Capacity of Telecentres’ operators improved

3.3 Output 3: Information supply channels developed

3.4 Output 4: Information distribution channels developed

3.5 Output 5: Impact Study of Telecentre Pilot

4 Overview, Scope and Activities of Telecentre Pilot

4.3 Overview

The underlying reason for the sub-component of support is to reduce poverty in the rural areas by increasing the income-generation capacity of farmers through the deployment of ICT. This is a direct contribution to national priorities in agronomic restructuring and ICT application for poverty reduction in the nation.

Resolutions of the National Assembly (2001-2005 and 2006 to 2010) stressed the importance of “strongly changing agriculture structure to create cash crop production”.

Another national directive has outlined the main targets of ICT application for rural development and poverty alleviation in the nation.

Decisions No. XXX and No. ZZZ of the Prime Minister were promulgated, providing basic contents of ICT application and development in rural infrastructure construction and poverty alleviation.

Decision No.123 has approved the Science and Technology Development Strategy and indicated that, “by 2015, ICT must make important contributions to progressive rural development. Furthermore, ICT application and research should be further enhanced in agriculture, forestry, fishery and food-processing industry to take full advantages of tropical natural resources and to improve the competitiveness of export farm products equally to developed regional countries. This will lead to creation of jobs for rural people, improving people's lives.”

4.2     Scope

Piloting 10 Telecentres in farming communes in 5 provinces to identify appropriate and financially sustainable Telecentre model/s that can best provide information to enhance income generation capacity of farmers.

The 10 pilot locations were selected based on the factors of ecology, key agriculture production areas, ICT awareness of communes and the ease of accessibility of digital.

4.3 Major Activities

Output 1: 10 pilot telecentres to be set up
Activity 1.1: Recruiting operators for the 10 pilot telecentres
Activity 1.2: Leasing premise for the telecentres
Activity 1.3: Procuring equipment for the 10 pilot telecentres

Output 2: Capacity of telecentres’ operators improved
Activity 2.1: Preparing a manual of running a telecentre, including procedures for monitoring its operation
Activity 2.2: Conducting a training course on (i) the use of computers; (ii) searching for information; (iii) running telecentres
Activity 2.3: Organizing experience exchanging workshop

Output 3: Information supply channels developed
Activity 3.1: Establishing a central information help desk
Activity 3.2: Establishing a library of books, videos/VCDs in the central information coordination unit and pilot telecentres
Activity 3.3: Developing a list of information sources
Activity 3.4: Contacting and studying information sources
Activity 3.5: Establishing cooperation mechanisms with information sources

Output 4: Information distribution channels developed
Activity 4.1: Strengthening common interest groups/extension clubs
Activity 4.2: Developing forms of bulletins
Activity 4.3: Issuing bulletins regularly
Activity 4.4: Developing a form to receive queries/requests from farmers
Activity 4.5: Processing queries/requests from farmers
Activity 4.6: Developing a mechanism to support the development of demonstration models

Output 5: Impact Study of Telecentre Pilot
Activity 5.1: Contracting an external consultant to conduct a baseline study
Activity 5.2: Contracting an external consultant to conduct impact studies

5.0 Underlying reasons for proposed funding

5.1 Project objectives relevant to Donor’s interest

Donor 1has provided assistance to the reform process to the National Government from the early stages. The Telecentre Pilot falls neatly into Donor 1’s global mandate to support poverty reduction and governance to attain sustainable human development. Sustainable human development is, within the on-going Country Cooperation Framework (2001-2010), aimed to assist reform efforts in the nation and the access to reform experiences in the world. It is also that the National Reform Project is considered a success in the National Government by all Donors.

5.2 Comparative advantage of Donors in terms of IT, finance and management experience

Donor 1’s global experience recognized in the creation of UNDP New York of the Management of Development and Governance Division, its network of country offices in over 135 countries, and its tradition of high-quality, neutral advice to governments makes it a partner of choice of many countries in such sensitive reform areas, particularly in the group of countries that is transitioning to a market based economy.

In supporting the Telecentre Pilot, Donor 1proves itself to be a strong potential donor for effective reform process in the nation. In addition, Donor 1 at the request of the national Government and donor community plays a key role in providing expertise and assists the Government in mobilizing and coordinating donor funds. The Donor 1 also helps to develop several capacity development projects that need bilateral funding through the organization.

6.0 ODA Capital and National Capital

6.1 ODA Capital

ODA funds will be taken under the following forms:

(a) Donor 1 grants;
(b) Budget for capital construction;
(c) Budget for administration cost, which account for 100% of total ODA capital;
(d) On-lending

6.2 National Capital

National budget will be mobilized in one of the following forms:

(a) Budget granted by the Government accounts for 100% of the total National Capital (in which, Central Government budget is at 0%, local budget at;
(b) Investors’ capaital accounts for 0% of total National Capital;
(c) Beneficiaries’ investment capital accounts for 0% of total National Capital.

7.0 Implementation Organization

The Telecentre Pilot will work within the existing structure of the CapDev Project with the PSU working in close collaboration with provincial departments of agriculture, fisheries, Farmers Associations, district agriculture stations, Local Committees, NGOs, and community schools. The CapDev National Project Director, and National Project Manager and the Donor 1 Resident Technical Adviser will take on added responsibilities.

III. Analyzing the efficiency of the Telecentre Pilot

  1. Preliminary assessment on economic and financial efficiency

For this type of project sub-component, it is difficult to quantify economic and financial efficiency. However it is certain that CapDev Project has made significant contribution to economic growth in the nation. Targets that the Telecentre Centre Pilot aims to achieve are:

(i) Íncome-generation capacity of farmers is increased;
(ii) Quality of agriculture production is increased;
(iii) Volume of agriculture production is increased;
(iv) Effective land use;
(v) Better methods of animal disease control;
(vi) Increase ICT knowledge in rural areas;
(vii) Speed up the reforms in agronomic sector;
(viii) Rural poverty is reduced.

  1. Preliminary assessment on social efficiency

Social efficiency is better recognized in terms of:

(i) An effective local government would ensure stability and sustainable development;
(ii) Improved methods of public service delivery to the rural population;
(iii) Wins the trust of the citizenry on the Government;
(iv) Having greater levels of transparency and accountability that ensures social equality between citizen classes, areas, gender, individuals and organizations.

  1. Preliminary assessment on environmental impact

Though the Telecentre Pilot has no direct linkage to the environment sector, there could be indirect impact, such as:

(i) Decision making by the rural population on agriculture production planning and land use as a result the development of Telecentres may affect the environment;
(ii) Improvement of administrative procedures or internet use to deliver public services in some departments may reduce the time travel of the rural population, which may help to reduce traffic congestion

  1. Preliminary assessment on sustainability of Telecentre

The Telecentre Pilot will create sustainability because it is designed to develop capacity and to identify the best approach towards assuring financial sustainability when the pilot ends. Different models will be tested in 10 pilot telecentres and key success factors are identified to ensure sustainability, including building capacity in ICT skills among the rural population through:

(i) Training of Telecentre Staff, provincial authorities, People Associations, Farmers Unions, Rural Cooperatives;
(ii) Operations of the Telecentres;
(iii) Replicating Telecentres based on identified key success factors from the Impact Study;
(iv) Increased knowledge of maintaining and sustaining a Telecentre using appropriate entrepreneurship models

Comments

FROM: Dr John Vong
TO: SAMNANG SOU (Mr Rich Farmer) who sent a message using the contact form at http://leadershipcorp.com/contact.

Please find below a simple template, after which you may send to me for review and comment:

  1. What is the ISSUE/problem/need?
  2. What is the SOLUTION to resolve the ISSUE/problem/need?
    What are the ACTIVITIES the project will carry out/implement?
  3. What do you think are the RESULTS/Outputs of the SOLUTION
  4. What is the cost for each of the ACTIVITY that the project will carry out?
  5. Who is leading this project? (Provide a 1 page detailed CV)

SAMNANG SOU (Mr Rich Farmer) who sent a message using the contact form at http://leadershipcorp.com/contact................
I was very glad of having a chance to meet you in Cambodia last Saturday morning at Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL). Your presentation has been inspired me to further develop the professional writing. Hopefully, I can because "One single word cost USD1000" (Your word).
What if I want you to help/suggest a template to write a small proposal to get funded. I am forming a small team working to help Grade 11 &12 (high school students) to prepare themselves for choosing the right major to study at the higher institutions in Cambodia. As what you have said, they only think about the solution before the problem or issue, so as a team of around 9 people is going to help them wholeheartedly. Eagerly await for your response.
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