How far should you know how you will design activities when you plan the work?

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This post is in answer to the following question:

Question: Hello Team, please can you help me on this: In the SDWC method, how far should you know how you will design activities when you plan the work? For example, in Bardia project in Nepal, we will probably work to strengthen the capacities of the primary response teams as a way to mitigate human-tiger conflicts. But at this stage we don't know yet details exactly. According to you, is it something that should be clarified in the pre-project phase or can it be part of the project itself? Thank you!

Answer: I think the main thing to do to help visualise what that capacity building work will entail is to detail in your strategy what result you want – what that group will do exactly to help reduce the conflict – then what they need to have and what skills they need to be able to do it. Then you will have a much better idea if your capacity building work package is made up of training or equipment provision or creating protocols or all of those or something else. A combination of your current situation analysis and talking to those groups would clearly show what capacity building is needed. The level of detail you need and when you need it depends on what decisions you need to make – if it is just to put a capacity building work package on your theory of change then you do not need much detail. If you are going to use your strategy for raising funds and/or moving into implementation/monitoring, then you will need sufficient detail to inform both of those. Overall the take home advice would be – get your impact (behaviour/contributing factor results) sufficiently detailed (for your needs at the stage you are at) before thinking about work packages. Also - until you get that detail in impact - it wil be difficult to see/justify why you need capacity buildling activities at all.

Adam Barlow

Executive Director, WildTeam UK

I help run a UK charity that builds the capacity of conservationists to plan, implement, monitor, and report on their work. I also have a fair bit of experience in tiger and sea turtle conservation.
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