Sample Grant Proposal: Sustainable Livelihood Development

This is a sample grant proposal to assist small NGOs to understand proposal writing and project planning. However, we do not claim this sample to be perfect and should not be copied as it is. We urge our website visitors to read through this material carefully for the purpose of seeking clarity about writing proposals and further undertake research on it before you can actually sit and start building the proposal. The most successful proposals are those which are tailor-made for community needs, providing a deeper knowledge about the situation. Hence, our attempt is to only provide a basic guideline for facilitating an understanding about proposal development process.

The following sample grant proposal is relevant to propose projects in poor and developing countries. Specifically, it is useful for NGOs proposing to implement a livelihood development project in areas such as the river basins, which are prone to natural disasters.

Click on the Next button to access the sample proposal.


What is the Sample Proposal about?

The sample proposal presented here is a request for grant support to an international donor agency. It is assumed that there is no general proposal format under these conditions and we have used a general framework to present the information about the project. We are using references for the proposal applicant as ORG, referring to the NGO proposing the project for seeking funds to implement it.

The proposal format comprises of the following information:

  • Project Summary
  • Problem Statement
  • Project Description
  • Project Goal, Objectives & Results
  • Project Methodology or Project Approach
  • Gender as Cross-Cutting Theme
  • Sustainability
  • Monitoring and Evaluation

For general guidelines to write a proposal, visit this link and for specific guidelines on writing a proposal for a livelihood development project, visit this link.


Sample Proposal on “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project

Proposed by ORG

Part 1: Project Summary

“Communities residing in the river basin face a high level of economic risk due to the prevalence of unexpected natural disasters such as floods and landslides. Although these natural disasters are seasonal, yet the communities end up bearing livelihood losses in addition to loss of life, housing and health. This is mostly due to inadequate planning, lack of organizational skills, inaccessible markets and poor mitigation strategies. Under such a situation, ORG proposes to implement a set of interventions to reduce the economic risks and increase livelihood opportunities of the poor communities living in the river basin area. The project will build the capacities of the communities in assessing economic risks, adopt coping strategies, reduce losses in addition to increasing livelihood opportunities through proper planning, quality production, improved market access and collective work. The project will use subsector approaches, promote new agricultural techniques, experiment community insurance and promote cooperatives with a strong focus on women’s participation. As a result of this intervention, it is expected that the community will acquire new skills to increase their livelihood opportunities in a sustainable fashion.”


Part 2: Problem Statement for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“The low-income and disadvantaged communities, residing in the river basins of the country/region, are open to increasing economic risks, besides facing the hard consequences of natural disasters and climate change. Most of the rivers in the country are snow-fed and flow down from north to south with a high velocity and since the land hosts a complex geographical structure, the seasonal monsoons cause enormous pressure on the environment, leading to unexpected natural disasters every year, especially in the proposed region. Such events have caused severe damage to human life, settlement patterns, local environment and, above all, to the economic sustainability of the river-basin communities. Floods and landslides have spoiled agricultural land, destroyed livestock, displaced biodiversity, reduced productive human health and demolished habitation. These unfortunate periodical incidents increase the vulnerability of poor communities, fracturing their sources of income and undermining their sustainability practices. Further to this, these communities, time and again, adopt unsustainable income-generation activities which are characterized by inadequate planning, inaccessible markets, lack of organizational skills and poor coping strategies. Hence, a holistic intervention is required, in which disaster preparedness is combined with a mechanism that sustains and increases livelihood opportunities for the communities living in the river basin.”


Part 3: Project Description: “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“In response to the request from the donor agency, ORG has developed this paper to initiate, design and implement an effective livelihood intervention strategy targeted at the poor and the disadvantaged communities living in the river basin. The strategic approaches, outlined in this concept note, will leverage with the ongoing efforts of other donor-supported projects in mitigating disasters and reducing the vulnerability of the communities. The proposed project will specifically contribute towards increasing livelihood opportunities of the marginalized people in the river basin areas, taking into account the natural risks and disasters and ensuring communities’ long-term livelihood sustainability. The project will examine disaster-prone areas and, on the basis of participatory studies, it will build up strategic efforts to increase skills and knowledge of the targeted beneficiaries in planning income-generation activities, exploiting markets, establishing linkages, enhancing incomes and organizing community-based institutions.

The main features of the project are:

  • Educating the community on economic risks caused due to natural disasters and reducing the impact of natural disasters on livelihood activities.
  • Developing the skills of small and marginal farmers, including women, in identifying potential agricultural, NTFP produce and other micro-enterprises, adopting better production techniques and exploiting market opportunities based on sub-sector approach.
  • Building the capacities of the community in establishing strong and sustainable cooperatives providing member-based financial services and also facilitating input supply, resource management and collective marketing. The cooperatives will ensure practice of equity, participation, better management and good governance.”


Part 4: Project Goal, Objectives & Results: “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“Project Goal

The overall goal of the project is to build sustainable livelihoods for the poor and the disadvantaged communities living in the river basin.

Project Objectives

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To reduce economic risks, caused due to the natural hazards, of the targeted communities living in the river basin.
  • To build capacities of the targeted communities in identification, production, financing and marketing of potential agricultural and non-agricultural products, including micro-enterprises.
  • To promote business-oriented community-based organizations, undertaking collective production and marketing techniques for long-term sustainability.

Project Results

At the end of the project period, the following results are expected to be achieved after the intervention:

  • Increased awareness and knowledge among the communities on the impact of natural disasters on economic sustainability
  • Effective participatory mechanisms adopted by the communities to reduce the impact of natural disasters on economic livelihoods.
  • Increased capacity of the communities in production, management and marketing of agricultural and non-agricultural products, including micro-enterprises.
  • Economically-viable and sustainable community-based organizations are managed by the communities for successful production and marketing.”


Part 5: Project Methodology or Project Approach for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“The project will adopt the following components while implementing the methodology to achieve the expected results:

(1) Disaster Preparedness-Awareness and Education

(2) Sub-sectoral Approach for Increased Production and Marketing for Small Farmers

(3) Introduction of New Agricultural Techniques

(4) Building Sustainable Community-Based Organizations”


Part 5: Project Methodology or Project Approach for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal) -2

(1) Disaster Preparedness-Awareness and Education (Sample Proposal)

“In addition to the existing programmes on disaster preparedness, the project will organize awareness workshops with the community on disaster preparedness and mitigation. Special emphasis will be made on reducing economic risks caused by disasters. Participation will be the key. Community insurance is a significant concept that can be utilized in this intervention. Through community-owned and managed institutions, community insurance can be adopted by the community to lessen the impact of natural disasters on household economy. However, this concept will be developed in consultation with the community after analyzing risks and needs and will develop a participatory package. At this stage, the project will commit itself to undertake research and development of community insurance practices in the project area to evolve a risk coping strategy against economic losses caused due to natural disasters.”

“(2) Sub-sectoral Approach for Increased Production and Marketing for Small Farmers (Sample Proposal)

The project will adopt sub-sector approaches to strengthen the livelihoods of the community, residing in the river basin area. The sub-sector approach has been identified as a beneficial tool for farmers with small and scattered land holdings in increasing their productivity levels and establishing linkages with markets in a sustainable manner. This approach will carry out a detailed diagnosis of potential vegetables, NTFPs, and micro-enterprises combined with intensive market studies to examine the demand and supply chains. The studies will be followed by close training programmes and technical support in production and marketing for the community. The process will help address constraints and seize opportunities to improve incomes and sustainability of the community.”


Part 6: Gender as a Cross-Cutting Theme for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“The project will promote greater equality among women and men. It will ensure greater participation of women in all aspects of the intervention such as disaster management, production, marketing and cooperative development. It will enable women and men to collaborate and work together on strategies improving the overall household livelihood situation. The project will focus on building women’s leadership through women’s cooperatives. Gender will be integrated in all reports and documentation.”

Part 7: Project Sustainability for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“The project emphasizes on the creation and strengthening of community based organizations, which are crucial to build confidence within the community. The project will begin with a withdrawal strategy from day one onwards to practically facilitate the community to own resources and act accordingly. Cooperatives, as well managed institutions, will have high technical capability by the end of the project to undertake planning, pool resources, develop produces, access markets and share profits. The project believes in strengthening the skills of the community in managing resources in a sustainable manner and this will be achieved by intensive capacity-building programs organized during the term of the project.”


Part 7: Monitoring & Evaluation for “Community-managed Sustainable Livelihoods in River Basin” Project (Sample Proposal)

“The project will develop a monitoring strategy to examine the progress of the interventions and also to document lessons learned. In addition to the monthly and annual reports developed by the project staff based upon a set of pre-identified progressive indicators, the project will organize semi-annual and annual meetings with the community to generate feedback, facilitate planning and promote people’s participation. This will be a two-way approach for the achievement of effective results and ensure community ownership of the activities undertaken. Further, project visits will be undertaken by senior organizational staff and donor agency representatives on regular basis.

The evaluation will be conducted at the end of the project period. In consultation with the donor agency, the evaluation will be carried out by an external agency/resource person. The progressive indicators, identified during the baseline, will be used to compare the project results. Case studies, best practices, lessons learned and other information, including gender disaggregated data will be carefully documented and presented in the final report.”