Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Managing Programmes/What is a programme

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Pcm.jpgDevelopment Cooperation in Action - Swiss sknife.png Steps and Tools


A programme is the response of an organization to the need for concretizing its mission into a series of actions. A programme is a framework that contains planned activities (project) directed towards achieving a common (overall) programme goal.

This goal represents the meeting ground between the organization's mandate (or mission) and the needs (including the need to recognise and exercise rights) of the people that the organization works with. These people/communities that the organisation works with are called programme beneficiaries. In the sector of Humanitarian and Development Aid, the first step in developing a programme is to assess the needs of potential beneficiaries, their expectations and aspirations, the problems and challenges they face, their access and ability to exercise their rights.

Development needs and overall programme goals are identified within programmes and represent the response of the organization for addressing the issues identified in the beneficiary needs assessment (during identification phase). All projects that are conceived are expected to contribute to this goal. Over a period of time, it is expected that these beneficiaries become programme partners and work together with the organisation towards achieving a common goal.

Programmes are implemented through actions that address specific programme areas. These actions, i.e. these programme components, are also called "projects", because their objective is specific, their scope is limited and because they are terminated once the expected outputs are delivered. Programmes, instead, have a wide scope and are not specifically time bound.
While projects tend to proceed along a linear path ... from conception to closure (the earlier the better), programmes tend to follow a cyclical process, wherein the lessons learnt, during project implementation, feed into the identification and designing of a new phase of the programme, i.e. a new programme.

project stages

Like projects, programmes also move through phases: identification , formulation or design , implementation, evaluation. However, unlike projects, that are temporary efforts aimed at early closures, programmes move through cycles of renovating and re-designing that constantly regenerate new projects that address newly identified problems and opportunities.

Programe stages

Actions produce results: in order to produce better results we need to improve the management of actions. Therefore, managing programmes signifies understanding the correlation between the way actions are managed and the way the quality of life of the beneficiaries changes as a result of actions performed. This means, on the one hand, learning how to improve the capacity to respond appropriately to the needs of the beneficiaries; and on the other, learning how to improve the capacity to generate a sense of team partnership within the organization and externally with the programme/project partners.



See also[edit]

Issues icon.jpgHow to design and manage successful cooperation programmes?

Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg What Is a Project
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Clarifying the relationship: Responsibilities of Project Managers and programme Managers
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Organizational Types
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Organizational Structure
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg Organizational Culture
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The projectized organization
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The learning organization
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The employee empowering organization
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The Organization’s mission
Ezra Cornell's first book.jpg The Organization’s vision


On Wikipedia

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On other Wikibooks

Wikibooks Programs Management


In Devcopedia - EuropeAid Wiki

Further reading[edit]