Every Year, Billions of US Dollars are spent on developmental projects. These funds are given to in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal number 17 which promotes international partnerships. Such partnerships must work to eradicate inequalities among the peoples of the world. While it is desirable to pursue effective development, the real questions is: where does it come from? Grant monies? Why?
To understand where grant monies come from, it is imperative to note the relationship between projects, programmes and policies. A policy is a plan of action agreed or chosen by a political party, government or business on the various issues affecting society such as health education, employment or power. These issues are termed development needs. Governments have the responsibility to meet the developmental needs of the people. This responsibility is also shared by businesses in the areas where they work popularly called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Both government and businesses try to meet developmental needs via special agencies which are either, international aid agencies or foundations.
Governments and donor agencies have areas of preference among all development needs; some prioritize education, others health and others security. These are reflected in their development policy priorities and budgetary allocations made yearly. The huge budgets of these organizations can be applied directly or given to smaller organizations to provide developmental needs. Funds handed down to smaller organizations is what we call grant money.
Relationship between Projects, Programmes and Policy
Development Policy Priority areas are often broken down into broad areas known as programmes by the executive arms of governments or non-governmental agencies. Programmes facilitate implementation of policy decisions. The main difference between projects and programs are scope and scale. A common comparison of programme and projects is a folder that has many files in it. The folder represents the programme while the files represent the projects; in other words; a number of projects make up a programmes while a number of programmes help achieve a policy. Projects making up a programme have to be complementary in the sense that if they were all fully executed, the goal of the programme must have been achieved.
A well-formulated project should derive from a good fit between an organization’s development priorities often reflected in the strategic plan and the donor agencies’ development policy priorities. The relationship between policy, programmes and projects is illustrated below:
Notes on the above diagram
- Nos 1 & 2: National and sector policies have a direct relationship with regional policies such that they both influence each other. Regional and international policies include those made by the United Nations, African Union, European Union and ECOWAS to mention a few. These are the grounds for international aid. The MDGs and SDGs have been instrumental to the large sums of donor funds given by developed countries to poorer nations.
- Nos 3 & 4: Both programmes of government and non-state actors such as development agencies and CSOs (local and international) are drawn from national and international policies. Note that even government depends largely on non-state actors and private organizations to implement its development programmes.
- Nos 5 & 6: All projects whether they are implemented by governmental or nongovernmental agencies all work towards the same aim. That is to implement the development programmes of government in the best possible way. This should inform the purpose of project design: to work for improved equality among people and nations especially in the areas of human rights, national growth and development.
Grant monies are funds designated to implement programmes and policies of either the government or other nongovernmental organizations. This makes it important for organizations seeking funds to implement a project to ensure an appropriate balance between project goals and donor agencies’ development priority areas. All projects implemented by non-state actors such as NGOs/CSOs, should be consistent with government policy to ensure their relevance and promote prospects for sustainability.
Every year, loads of funds are spend on developmental projects all over the world. How effective are grant monies in reducing inequalities? What’s your take on the matter?