As we mentioned previously, the needs assessment process consists of five stages, and in this article will talk about the first stage of this process.
Usually, we underestimate the importance of this step, while it is the most difficult step of the proposal writing, because selecting the targeted area helps to speed up the next steps from identifying the main problem, problem analysis, needs assessment to the designing of the project activities and its budget.
However, selecting the targeted area is subject to several points related to the donor first, next to the implementing agency then the severity of needs in the different areas in the targeted country. To speed up the selection of the targeted area, we need to bear in mind the following points:
In case the donor identified specific districts or governorates for interventions in the call for proposals, then the organization should decide as soon as possible the district or the area in which it will implement interventions. Next, the organization informs the donor of any other party related to funding like clusters that work on coordinating the interventions and reserving the districts for each organization that informed them first.
It is preferable to select districts that the organization is already in with former projects or ongoing projects. This is a powerful point for the applicant organization that gives it an edge in accessing the funding, because the donor wants to make sure the organization is able to implement the project in this area. Also, the organization’s presence in the area helps to facilitate the coordination with the authorities and collect information concerning needs assessment. Moreover, it accelerates designing the project and making sure of all the information needed during writing the proposal.
In case there was a difficulty in coordination or the timespan was short to write a proposal, it is preferable for the organization to choose a partner organization, which is already active in the targeted areas to facilitate needs assessment and collect needed information to develop the project proposals.
Huge organizations usually select strategic places to work in for many years and focus their interventions, plans and expenditures in these areas. This enables the organization to more quickly submit a proposal to the donor, because they collect information and assess needs in these areas periodically.