Project report – Background and Justification

Outlined below are the contents of the “Background and Justification” section of the Project report of a new start up non profit organization.

This section delves into the needs,justifications and background work conducted on the project till date.
It typically provides the following information -

1) The work completed to so far. (for a new start up this would be an explanation of the surveys conducted in the past few months)
2) The program details & processes being followed.
3) Need & Justification for the proposed project.

This is a sample of how this section should look like ( adapted from the project report of ‘People for change’ with their permission)

<b>Background of the organization and programs conducted so far</b>

‘People for Change’ ’ has been running a lifeskills programme called “Metamorphosis” with adolescents for the past three months with the objective to take them through a journey “From Me to We – Self to Society”. Under this programme we facilitate a 40 hours long curriculum and an action project with school going students in the age group of 13 -18 years . The workshops are designed separately for students of affluent schools and differently for rural, semi urban and government run educational institutions.

This curriculum for the workshop is designed and updated by the board members of People of Change  with support & feedback from students, educators and several youth development organizations working in the country. The design draws heavily from the youth training modules of other organizations working on youth issues like P ,Q, R just to name a few. But the contents are then customized and tailored to address the needs of the local youth mindset in {location}. The workshop design has also been contextualized and improved over the last 3 months based on feedbacks, and observations gathered from conducting these workshops in various schools.

<b>Need & Justification for instituting clubs in schools</b>

We feel that instituting formal clubs in schools is the next logical progression towards running ongoing and sustainable youth development programs. Firstly this is expected to give a structured framework to our activities in schools.

Secondly, this will enable us to establish ourselves as formal partners of these schools, thereby giving us more freedom and a chance for greater participation within these schools.

This will also enable us to identify and formally designate youth leaders in these schools for our programs thereby helping us attract structured involvement of the students in our projects.

A formally instituted club will also help us to assess the impact of our programs and monitor the developments in a holistic manner.

<b>Need & Justification for instituting Youth Resource Centers</b>

Working from within the school campus has certain limitations.

Firstly, schools have restrictions in terms of providing time for non curriculum activities. Most of the schools have hard time coping up with the academic syllabus work. Plus, they have their own share of constraints in terms of meeting the expectations of parents and the school management.

Further, many a times the youth do not fully open up to voice their concerns within the school campus for several regulatory and extraneous reasons. A space outside school premise is expected to provide them with a non threatening space where they can uninhibitedly express themselves and give voice to their concerns.

Thirdly, evening is the time when most of the youth come out to interact in their community and this is one of the best times to involve these youth in creative expression of their energy. Most of the schools close their space after late afternoon and we thus find it difficult to interact with these youth who come out in scattered pockets across the city. Youth resource center is expected to provide us the space to invite and interact with the young from across the city.

We also find ourselves constrained during school vacations and on weekends which again are great times to work with the youth since the school premises is not available at these times. We currently do not have space for conducting summer camps and camps on weekends.

Each school has its own environment, culture and methodologies. A space outside the school premises will enable an inter-school interaction where they can and make friends and share ideas with children from diverse culture and socio economic backgrounds.

Further, we want to equip the resource center with tools that will help them better express themselves through various media and also increase our involvement with them through activities. To begin with we intend to equip our resource centers with:

1)    A non-curriculum library
2)    Film screening equipments

We plan to use Non curriculum books and movies as vital tools in our youth development endeavors.

Rationale behind proposing 2 different Youth resource centers:

{location} alone has more than 185 large schools and 25 colleges. The count of small unregistered schools would take the list to as high as 700. There is however a visible and clear cut demarcation amongst these schools on the economic front. For instance the children from the more aristocratic schools do not ever interact with students from schools for the economically weaker sections and hence do not have any idea about issues that are present in a different class in society. The students from the well to do school ‘hang-out’ at different places as against the students from the first generation school goers. Moreover the problems of both these sections of students are also different.

The students from economically sound background have immense pressure of good academic performance. The schooling is limited to classroom transactions and text books and the only indicator of success is marks/ percentage. Education for them is primarily treated as a means of securing white collared jobs. Adolescents are experiencing lot of stress, pressure to perform, and dearth of opportunity to showcase their talents. The pressure is so huge that suicide attempts for fear of failures are common phenomena in {location}. (Read this recent news on student suicides in {location} at: http://www.my{location}.com/news/failure-fear-bad-result-forces-3-commit-suicide.

On the other hand, the problems of the students from the economically weaker sections are entirely different. A large number of such first generation school goers have problems pertaining to financial difficulties, domestic violence, lack of parental involvement, absence of proper teaching infrastructure and the pressure to start earning at a lower age.

Access to schools and quality teaching are still distance realities for many adolescents in this section of the youth.

Most of these students belong to the tribal communities. At home they speak in their local dialect and this dialect is not used in offices, schools and the outside community. In the absence of a proper teaching infrastructure many of these students are not able to pick up Hindi(the local language) or English (the official language) well enough to interact with the outside community. Thus these students struggle hard to get into the mainstream life forget the chances of earning their livelihood in their immediate community. In the absence of a method whereby they could get into the mainstream, many of them eventually fall prey to unwanted things in life.

Given the startling differences in the problems of these two different youth communities, we envisage to begin by setting up two different resource centers within the next one year.

The proposed Resource center for the youth from economically better off sections intends to begin with the following objectives:
a)    To provide an alternate non threatening space for the young to explore and understand life beyond the academic realm.
b)     To help them initiate a journey beginning from self and extending out to the community.
c)    To help them hone their innate creative talents(using theatre, music, dance, painting & other performing arts) and then use it to address issues that plague them.
d)    To help them channel their creativity in choosing careers that make best use of their strengths and interests.
e)    To provide them a platform to help them appreciate individual, social & cultural diversity.

The proposed Resource center for the youth from economically backward section aims to accomplish the following objectives -
a)    To provide them coaching classes in English to enable them to get into the mainstream.
b)    To provide them with reading materials and access to good educators.
c)    To help instill self confidence (using theatre, music, dance, painting & other performing arts)
d)    To provide need based vocational training to enable them move from isolation to participation.
e)    To help them to identify and initiate action on self development and community issues that are of concern to them .

Considering these problems and a complete absence of active youth organizations in the area ‘People for Change’  is committed to run and support initiatives for adolescent and youth development in this region. Thus it is proposed to set up 2 youth resource centers in {location}.

We at ‘People for Change’ very strongly believe in the need for youth development processes and do not see young people as means to an end. We are deeply committed to building a platform to support activities pertaining to youth development, lifeskills, citizenship education and volunteering.

The successful implementation of the youth development programs for the 3 months has given us confidence to expand our programs. ‘‘People for Change’ ’ has been able to create good relationship with more than 35 schools in the region. The organization, its volunteers and members are known individually to more than 35000 students in {location}. It is thus ideally placed to take forward the experiential learning processes for these adolescents and young people to broaden their thinking, develop sensitivity to social issues and develop skills to address
them.

Hence the proposal for putting up two Youth resource centers.

______________________________________________________

The next section describes the results of surveys that validate the need for starting a new non profit organization in the location.

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About the Author:


Lori is an independent nonprofit coach and consultant in San Francisco, Bay Area. Lori specializes in people training in areas of public administration and execution of community outreach programs for organization.

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