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It’s a powerful book which lets you know the donors mind

Front page of the publication

“Thinking through the concepts of a project proposal” discusses the logical processes behind designing and implementing a project. It is an attempt to reflect and think through the familiar words we meet daily that we take them for granted and are fixed and standard dogmas in our experience. For anyone who has attained some level of literacy, writing a project proposal has become as easy as getting regrets wherever it is submitted. Too many people writing bouncing proposals, is a daily business, as others have gotten frustrated and left the field. But do we ever pose to reflect on these concepts we communicate and how we craft them to make a complete whole called a project? Do we ever reflect on the one we are targeting for resources and what he may be interested in? A project is a complex phenomenon, involving craftsmanship of coordinating diverse actions to generate pre-determined effects.

After implementing a programme funded by one donor for ten years and receiving regrets from hundreds of other donors, I didn’t believe I needed any lecture on project proposal concepts. One day I was challenged, at international level, to evaluate a proposal using one question “Assess the viability and feasibility of the proposed project”. The key words are only ‘viability’ and ‘feasibility’ but these called for an intellectual analysis of every word in the document and consulting volumes of documents to come up with a professionally acceptable evaluation of the proposed project. When I returned to my duty station, I opened my ten years old files of proposals I had submitted to numerous donors and only earned regrets, after reading through one by one, I described them myself as “embarrassingly unviable and unfeasible”. One begins knowing the moment he realizes that he does not know and loses knowledge the moment he believes that he knows it all.

At times we put these concepts together by intuition and cram work and somehow get it right but as senior development workers, we need to engage in fundraising as a conscious and deliberate process.

Back cover of the book

This book isn’t appropriate for those beginning to learn the concepts and formats of a project proposal, as it will appear abstract and academic. It will help those who want to reflect deeper on what they already know and master the art.

The book is structured into three chapters. The first discusses the conditions and favorable ground for a successful proposal. These include mastery of the field of intervention, relevant institutional and professional background and having carried out feasibility not only on the targeted problem but also the existing donor base. The second chapter introduces the concepts that build up the underlying logic of the project design. These concepts include viability, feasibility, coherence, consistence, justification and accuracy. These are the concepts which are in the minds of the experts as they evaluate project proposal documents. The third chapter analyses the principles underlying the constructions of the sections of the proposal document like title, situation analysis, objectives, activities, results, work-plan, assumptions, monitoring, sustainability, budget and financing. I wish you good reading.

The author Stephen Rwagweri Atwoki is the current Executive Director of Engabu Za Tooro which is currently implementing a UNESCO co-funded project aimed at safeguarding and revitalizing Empaako naming system among the Batooro, Banyoro, Banyabindi, Batuku and Batagwenda and has published many books.

You can get a copy at Engabu Za Tooro main offices located on Plot 18, Kaija Road, Kabundaire, Fort Portal – Uganda or contact the office on +256 (0) 483 422 187, +256 (0) 772 469 751 or Email:, To know more about Engabu Za Tooro visit our websites:,

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