Needs assessment is considered the first and most important step in project proposal writing and in preparing the donor to understand the problem. So this part must be written carefully and clearly.
In order to assess needs, we have to take into consideration that need is a problem that the community suffers from, specifically, targeted groups that are children ( boys and girls), young men and women, men and women or it may be a specific group of the population like people with special needs or the poorest groups only. To make it clear, we have to analyze problems in the targeted community.

⦁ Selecting the target area:
Usually, we underestimate the importance of this step, while it is the most difficult step of the proposal writing because selecting the targeted area helps to speed up the next steps from identifying the main problem, problem analysis, needs assessment to the designing of the project activities and its budget.

But selecting the targeted area is subject to several points related to the donor first, next to the implementing agency, then the severity of needs in the different areas in the targeted country. To speed up the selection of the targeted area, we need to bear in mind the following points:

1- In case the donor identified specific districts or governorates for interventions in the call for proposals, then the organization should decide as soon as possible the district or the area in which it will implement interventions. Next, the organization informs the donor of any other party related to funding like clusters that work on coordinating the interventions and reserve the districts for each organization that informed them first.
2- It is preferable to select districts that the organization is already in with former projects or ongoing project. This is a powerful point for the applicant organization that gives it a priority in accessing the funding because the donor wants to make sure the organization is able to implement the project in this area. Also, the organization’s presence in the area helps to facilitate the coordination with the authorities and collect information concerning needs assessment. Moreover, it accelerates designing the project and make sure of all the information needed during writing the proposal.
3- In case there was a difficulty in coordination or the timespan was short to write a proposal, it is preferable for the organization to choose a partner organization which is already active in the targeted areas to facilitate needs assessment and collect needed information to develop the project proposals.
4- Huge organizations usually select strategic places to work in for many years and focus their interventions, plans, and expenditures in these areas. This makes the organization faster in a submission of the proposal to the donor because they collect information and assess needs in these areas periodically.

⦁ Identifying the main problem:
It is difficult for many people and organizations to identify the main problem or the need they are going to analyze and find solutions for, due to lack of experience and clarity in some calls for proposals from some donors. The lack of clarity of the main problem leads to loss of confidence in all the steps that follow, starting from analyzing and assessing the problem to finding solutions from the activities, outputs, and impact which leads to that the proposal will not be connected to what the donor wants to support. Therefore, there is a likelihood that the proposal will be rejected and it will be difficult to convince the donor to fund the project. 

 the relationship between the people affected by the problem and groups responsible of the problem.

the relationship between the people affected by the problem and groups responsible of the problem.

Example :
The difficulty to enroll 39 thousand boys and girls at school age(7-18 years), who are displaced with their families from  Hudiedah to Sana’a, in schools for the year 2016-2017

Displaced children in the age of education

To identify the main problem correctly with confidence, we need to do the following:

⦁ Identify the group affected by the problem, age group, geographical area, type and field of damage.
⦁ Identify the three main groups responsible of the problem who affect it positively or negatively resulting in damage to all or group of people in the area.
⦁ Read carefully the call for proposals of the donors particularly objectives/ sectors/topics/ priorities indicated in the call for proposals and their relation to the affected people from the problem.
⦁ Make sure the main problem and the ones affected by it are related to all or some of the objectives/ sectors/ topics/ priorities indicated in the call for proposals and this relation should be clear also in all the solutions intended to be done ( activities ) and the beneficiaries.
⦁ Search and consult those who have experience in these objectives, sectors, topics, and priorities to make sure if there are agreed standards on the interventions we plan to implement. We have to find references that contain these standards and look for similar activities that were implemented by other organizations in the same country or other countries that undergoing the same economic and social situation especially if these activities were funded by the same donor.
⦁ It is important to look for the theoretical background and motives that made the donor focus on these objectives, sectors, and topics mentioned in his call for proposals to assure that the project problem and the interventions planned in the proposal are related to these sources:
⦁ Laws, regulations, strategies and government plans
⦁ Declarations and international conventions that member states are obliged to carry out. Like UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Women as Active Agents in Peace and Security, UN Security Council Resolution 2250: Youth, Security and Peace, Resolution 2419 of 2018 on the call to increase the involvement of youth in negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements, UN Universal declaration of a culture of peace, the CEDAW Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Convention on Human Rights…etc.

 


Note:

The paragraph of analysis situation should not exceed half a page of A4 for all the projects with a period of implementation of one year or less. As for the large projects that are implemented over several years may need to write a longer paragraph of analysis situation from one page to several pages. And we must follow the donor's instructions if this paragraph is specified by a certain number of words or characters.