Environmental conditions across the Pacific are shifting as a result of climate change and global warming. These shifting environmental conditions are having direct and indirect impacts on resource availability, food security, health—and ultimately lives, livelihoods, and the stability of communities. Unfortunately, these changes will continue into the future, and in many cases will become more severe. As these changes unfold, there will be an increasing demand for well-designed projects that draw on the strengths of the community to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. However, adaptation initiatives are most effective when they are designed and implemented by communities themselves and aligned with the social, economic, and cultural priorities and characteristics of these communities.

This guidebook has attempted to demonstrate best practices learned from experience to support your organization’s efforts to design projects that will have a positive impact in your community. It provides a general overview of some of the steps involved in developing a successful project. The tips and methods described here have been developed over time and draw on the successful practices of many project developers, as well as tools that have been refined through USAID-supported capacity development activities. However, there is no 100 percent correct way to develop a successful proposal. Over time, you will figure out what works best for you and your organization. Remember that developing a successful project proposal can be a difficult task, but it gets easier the more you do it.

This guidebook is not meant to be the definitive resource for project development. As you develop your own projects, you will find tools and techniques that work best in your situation. There are many resources available for specific tasks associated with project design and implementation. However, this guidebook addresses some common weaknesses that have been observed in small grants proposals, and covers some key elements that should be included in all project proposals.

Remember that most of the information and know-how needed to design a successful project probably exists in your community. It is hoped that this guidebook will empower you and your organization to draw upon these resources to design measures that will enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity in your community.