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close this bookIrrigation Training Manual: Planning, Design, Operation and Management of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems (Peace Corps, 1994, 151 p.)
close this folderTraining session
Open this folder and view contentsSection 1: Introduction to irrigation principles and practices
Open this folder and view contentsSection 2: Community organization and mobilization
Open this folder and view contentsSection 3: Inventorying the physical and biological resource base
Open this folder and view contentsSection 4: Developing water sources
Open this folder and view contentsSection 5: Assessing irrigation water requirements
Open this folder and view contentsSection 6: Farm water delivery systems
Open this folder and view contentsSection 7: Farm water management
Open this folder and view contentsSection 8: Waterlogging and salinity
View the documentSection 9: Project planning and development

Section 9: Project planning and development

* Conducting Economic Analyses
* Proposal Writing

Session Topic: Conducting Economic Analyses

Session Goal: Trainees will be able to select the appropriate economic analysis method and apply it to analyze the feasibility of a project.

Session Objectives:

(1) Trainees will be able to describe methods of economic analysis used to evaluate a project.

(2) Trainees will be able to analyze the economics of alternative technologies in a project.

(3) Trainees will be able to demonstrate the use of an amortization table.

Overview: Trainees will need to calculate and analyze the economic feasibility of projects and look at how different options within a project greatly influence its success. They will also need to confidently prepare risk and return factor analyses as part of an overall economic analysis. This session should be presented in tandem with the project planning and proposal writing session.

Session Activities:


30 Min.

Trainer asks Trainees to describe the need for economic analysis in a project. What are the common sense economic factors that must be taken into account in conducting a project analysis? Trainer provides a simple example to demonstrate the concepts of: break even point, net present value, partial budgeting, pay back period, and rate of return.

30 Min.

Trainer selects two Volunteers for a role play exercise. One Volunteer will be a small-scale farmer and the other will be an irrigation extension worker. The objective of the extension work will be to convince the farmer that it is worth the risk of investing some present time to construct an irrigation system. Unfortunately, it is now very close to planting time, and the farmer is concerned about the danger of getting crops in late or not at all. Dialogue should bring out the concerns and innate wisdom of both individuals.

30 Min.

Trainer then facilitates a discussion of the following: what is more important to a farmer -> the economic risk taken in a project or the economic return expected from a project? How might a farmer prioritize these concerns and on what basis?

60 Min.

Trainees are divided into two groups, A and B. The groups are instructed to conduct an analysis of a development project. Group A uses the following methods (Risk Analysis): (1) rate of return, (2) break-even point, and (3) pay back period. Group B uses the following methods (Return Analysis): (4) rate of return and (5) partial budgeting. Groups are given basic project data and determine the economic feasibility using each method. Each group presents findings to entire group. Merits of each method are discussed by the Trainees as a full group.

60 Min.

Trainees remain in the same groups. Trainer provides data on the following:

- prices of pipe: PVC and polyethylene

- expected life of piping material

- interest rate

- project life

Group A analyses the economic feasibility of using polyethylene while Group B analyses the economic feasibility of using PVC. Each group presents their findings, and discusses the factors that would influence their final decision. Trainer concludes session by asking Trainees to describe how they would communicate these concepts to small-scale farmers in a rural setting.

Trainer Notes:

Materials Required:

* data on expected life of tube materials
* handouts with examples of computed economic feasibility analyses.
* pricing information for local materials


Appendix B. Irrigation Reference Manual: Economic Analysis

Appendix D, Irrigation Reference Manual: Case Studies

Session Topic: Proposal Writing

Session Goal: For Trainees to identify and apply practices necessary to prepare project proposals and plan simple irrigation projects.

Session Objectives:

(1) For Trainees to identify factors that influence the initiation, design, management, maintenance, and documentation of projects.

(2) For Trainees to identify and describe practices and procedures that can assist in time management on a project.

Overview: In the course of their service Volunteers will very likely take on the task of planning a small project and writing a proposal to leverage funds for the project. In this session trainers guide Trainees to identify the key factors involved in preparing a project plan and writing a project proposal. Trainees also are provided with an opportunity to test their skills in planning a hypothetical project.

Session Activities:


30 Min.

Trainer asks Trainees to define "project." Example: Any specific activity carried out for a definite purpose or goal, within a defined time frame, and with defined resources. Trainer asks Trainees to define "program." Example: An integrated group of continuing activities directed at implementing many projects. Have Trainees describe the kinds of projects and programs they see themselves being involved in. Trainer discusses three basic components of effective project planning and management: 1) clear, precise, plans for a finite project (has a beginning and an end), 2) based on appropriate information and resource assessment, and 3) involves the appropriate people from within and outside the community. Trainer then divides Trainees into three groups and assigns each group a topic from these three components. Trainee groups are given 10 minutes to list the factors and strategies that are necessary to accomplish successfully these three components. Example:

A. Plans

- clear, concise, realistic goals and objectives,

- alternative strategies to achieve goals and objectives,

- comprehensive task list,

- schedule/timeline for tasks,

- organizational development and administrative procedures in place,

- community involvement in designing plans,

- on-going evaluation mechanisms, and

- maintenance measures.

B. Resource and Information Gathering

- appropriate data about cultural and physical conditions, and

- accurate interpretation of community needs and ambitions.

C. Involvement of Appropriate People

- identify community leaders,

- work with a motivated community, and

- working with motivated agencies.

30 Min.

Trainer presents brief lecture on project planning and proposal writing, using case examples where possible, and plenty of visual aids to demonstrate how these concepts are applied to small-scale irrigation projects. Discussion should include advantages and disadvantages of proactive versus practive planning. For example:

A. Reactive Planning

- passive acceptance of events,

- response to immediate problems,

- short-time crisis management, and

- lack of overall coherent plan.


- limited responsibilities required, and

- very little time or financial investment. Required


- are always working at a crisis pace,

- are not looking ahead to future needs,

- often lose sight of original goals, and

- find successful conclusions are rare; more often move from one crisis to next.

B. Proactive Planning

- active on-going management of project tasks,

- advance planning and setting of goals,

- contingency planning to overcome obstacles, and

- evaluation and continual improvement of project.


- anticipate and respond to actual needs,

- organize of resources available,

- garner enthusiasm and participation of community,

- maintain track to goal completion, and

- frequently have successful conclusions.


- requires time, skills, and considerable effort,

- requires organization, participation, and lots of people, and

- requires a considerable amount of management responsibility and decision making.

Trainer moves on to outline a step-by-step approach to project planning. This can appear something like the following:




1. Feasibility study(preliminary)

1. Project initiation by community

1. Water Association formed

2. Social/technical survey

2. Design consultation with community

2. Membership/ responsibilities assigned

3. System design

3. Organizing tasks, training

3. research funding options, organizations

4. Proposal preparation

4. Community mobilization

4. Proposal presented to funding source

5. Construction

5. Evaluations

5. Funds and materials

6. Operation and maintenance

6. Organizational functions, meetings

6. Disbursement of funds, finance management

7. Project documentation

7. Next community: priorities/projects

30 Min.

Trainer has Trainees describe the components of a complete project proposal. Trainees should describe the content and format of a proposal and the level of detail that is necessary to make a proposal understandable and appealing to a reader. Trainer walks Trainees through a sample proposal that was successfully financed to do an in-country project. Trainees critique the proposal, then modify their own description of an effective proposal. Trainer briefly reviews a list of potential funding sources that can be leveraged by Volunteers. This list should be country-specific and appropriate to host country conditions.

45 Min.

Trainer gives Trainees the following assignment to be done independently by each person: Identify or imagine one project that you can see yourself working with at your site within your first year. Prepare an outline of the procedures and tasks that you anticipate doing as a part of this entire project process. Then put together a rough outline for a project proposal that you will help draft to solicit funds for this project.

15 Min.

Have Trainees reunite and share what they came up with. Identify problems or uncertainties, and indicate areas in which more skill development will be necessary.

Trainer Notes: The discussion of proposal writing can be best facilitated by having a current or recent Volunteer who successfully financed a project with a written proposal come in and share her or his experiences. Have this Volunteer describe the entire process she or he went through from developing the initial project idea to writing the proposal to managing the money once it arrived. Be certain to work with a Volunteer that did not do everything alone in a vacuum but acted as a participant in a community proposal development process.

Materials Required:

* list of potential donors with addresses and contacts
* sample project proposals from in-country projects

Selected References:

Appendix B. Irrigation Reference Manual: Proposal Writing