|Sustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)|
|Section II: Building economic self-reliance|
|Chapter 6: Income generating project planning|
We use it to do the three things necessary for planning that we identified at the beginning of the chapter, namely:
a) Project Identification
b) Project Feasibility
c) Project Designing and Formulation
For project identification we need a market survey. However, let us not get too scared by the phrase "market survey." For modest projects that do not need a great amount of capital outlay, we can carry out this study ourselves. For example, if there are too many bakeries around, or if the local village bakery is daily supplied with bread from a large town nearby, then clearly it is risky to get into it. For bigger projects, a proper market survey would be necessary.
Bamba Ndiaye, ILO Zimbabwe and Godfrey Dembe of the Karusandara project in Uganda role-playing a donor/applicant planning session. (Photo by Marla Feldman)
Next is: project feasibility. It is another big scare word, but it simply means: is the objective of the project we have identified "achievable" or not? Is it practical? Is it viable? Shall we risk going into it? Can we sustain it, and not get bankrupt? We obviously need to have all this information before venturing into it. For a proper feasibility, we need not only a market report, but also, additionally, a whole lot of other information, such as:
· First and foremost, the suitability of the project to the PWDs
· The availability of land, and its cost
· The availability of capital, and its cost
· Kinds of skills needed, their cost and availability
· Need for unskilled labour, labour regulations and the availability of labour
· The kinds of machinery needed, their cost and availability of maintenance and service
· Transport requirements
· Buildings (office, factory, storage, etc.) requirements, and accessibility of PWDs to them
· Water, electricity and telecommunications
· And so on, and so on.
Clearly, we cannot make a comprehensive list here. Planning, we need to repeat, is a concrete exercise, not theoretical, not abstract, not speculative. Each project must be treated in its own terms. If it is a big project, an "expert" might be hired to carry out a cost-benefit analysis. Another big word. It only means, (s)he will carry out an exercise that will show if the benefits (financial and social) that flow from the project are worth the proposed capital and recurrent expenditure. (S)he may additionally carry out a financial cashflow analysis to try to show how the income and expenditure on a monthly basis will effect the cash situation of the enterprise, since sometimes an acute shortage of cash at some critical period could put the enterprise in a "cash flow crisis," thus risking its survival.
Finally, we come to project design and formulation. Once the market study is done, and the feasibility is assured, we must now write up the project design.
The market and feasibility studies sometimes come up with several options, several possibilities. For example, a market study could say: "You could make exclusively women's dresses, but if you add on house soft furnishings as well, such as curtains and bedsheets, your prospects for success will improve." And a feasibility study could say: "With more machinery, you Will cut down on your unit cost and be competitive; on the other hand, the initial outlay on capital would be high, so you could, initially, go for more labour-intensive methods."
So, we as the project holders must make our choices. The experts are there only to advise. They don't take risks. We have to do that. And, therefore, after studying the various bits of information (including, where necessary, market and feasibility studies), we have to make choices and design the best option that is within our means and capability.
We must now draw some practical guidelines.