Project smart “Newspeak”: a bunch of useful terms: short glossary for drafting your micro-project under UNDEF facility!

Allowable Costs/Eligible Costs

Things that can be purchased/paid for with grant funds.


An examination or review that assesses and reports on the extent to which a condition, process or performance conforms to predetermined standards or criteria. Routinely performed by certified external auditor.

Baseline data

Data/statistics that describe the situation to be addressed by a programme or project and that serve as the starting point for measuring the performance of that programme or project. Used when describing the background, problems to be addressed or situation of the target groups/direct beneficiaries and final beneficiaries.


Reference point or standard against which progress or achievements may be compared, e.g., what has been achieved in the past, what other comparable organizations such as development partners are achieving, what was targeted or budgeted for, what could reasonably have been achieved in the circumstances.


The beneficiaries are the individuals or organisations (users at any level, intermediaries/ multipliers, agents such as associations, regional authorities) benefiting in various ways from the implementation of the projects. In the European programmes they are also often understood as the entities receiving financial grants. SEE ALSO: DIRECT BENEFICIARIES; FINAL BENEFICIARIES; TARGET GROUP/s;

Budget Narrative/Budget Justification

The prose that explains the budgetメs line items and categories and how it reflects the method and design of the project.


Coordinated process of deliberate interventions by insiders and/or outsiders of a given society leading to (i) skill upgrading, both general and specific, (ii) procedural improvements, and (iii) organizational strengthening. Capacity building refers to investment in people, institutions, and practices that will, together, enable countries in the region to achieve their development objective. Capacity is effectively built when these activities are sustained and enhanced with decreasing levels of donor-aid dependence accompanied by increasing levels of societal goal achievement.

Capital Expenses

Large purchases such as buildings, land, vehicles, or major equipment.


Capitalising on investments entails getting benefits from the means invested in the project (return on investments). It concerns a projectメs tangible and intangible outcomes, which may be exploited transferred to new users and further developed (= build upon achievements).

Civil society

The web of associations, social norms and practices that comprise activities of a society as separate from its state and market institutions. A ‘healthy’, powerful civil society requires institutions with strong, intellectual, material and organizational bases, reflecting social diversity. It also requires an open, constructive interaction between the civil society organizations (CSOs) and the state and market sectors. Civil society includes religious organizations, foundations, guilds, professional associations, labor unions, academic institutions, media, pressure groups and political parties.


Commercialisation is a process of marketing the project outcome after having it transformed or not. This operation may be oriented at

  • Regaining the cost of the productメs development
  • Making a profit out of the projectメs products.

Commercialisation serves as a tool to make the results sustainable after the project ends.

Cross-cutting Issues/ Transversal Themes

They are issues that impact in more than one field – since wealth and wellbeing in a given country/region are generally affected by a series of interconnected factors These themes can vary from one donor to another. Common crosscutting themes that donors want to be integrated into projects are gender, sustainable development, environment, good governance and sometimes, even HIV and AIDS or local empowerment (some conected to MDGs). Even if your project is about acces to culture or provision of better water facilities for the community, you need to integrate it with the crosscutting themes. The idea behind getting these themes integrated is that an inclusive and effective effort is carried out by NGOs while implementing the project. A project where an NGO distributes solar-powered lights has to ensure that women are benefited equally from it. In such a case, you are integrating the crosscutting theme of gender into your project. Similarly, any project you are implementing should not negatively impact the environment. For this reason, you need to include environment as a crosscutting theme. When writing about the crosscutting themes, mention how you are integrating them into your project and how the beneficiaries will be affected by it. Any product or service you are offering to the community should be equally accessed by both women and men.

CSO/Citizen Sector Organization/Civil Society Organization

An organization whose work addresses a societal issue. These organizations can have a variety of legal structures, but may include cooperatives, social enterprises, charitable organizations, tax-exempt corporations, and others. They are defined by their social mission – and profits gained from such organizations, if any, are reinvested into fostering the social mission.


Taking factual, measurable points and using them to focus programs, missions and future development.Being data-driven is one of the most important building blocks of a results-oriented, outcomes-based organization.

Direct beneficiaries

Usually institutions and/or individuals who are the direct recipients of technical cooperation aimed at strengthening their capacity to undertake development tasks that are directed at specific target groups. In micro-level interventions or projects, the direct beneficiaries and the target groups are the same.

Direct Cost

Any cost that can be specifically identified within a project, being directly connected with the specific activity is known as a direct cost, for example experts/trainer per hour/day, travel/accommodation/board, holding events, purchase of equipment, rent of premises or development materials.


The extent to which a programme or project achieves its immediate objectives or produces its desired outcomes.


The optimal transformation of inputs into outputs.


The expansion of assets and capabilities or resources of disadvantageous individuals or communities to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives. In its broadest sense, empowerment is the expansion of freedom of choice and action. It is a participatory process which places or transfers decision-making responsibility and the resources to act into the hands of those who will benefit. This can include (i) capacity building for stakeholder organizations; (ii) strengthening legal status of stakeholder organizations; (iii) stakeholder authority to manage funds, hire and fire workers, supervise work, and procure materials; (iv) stakeholder authority to certify satisfactory completion of project and establish monitoring and evaluation indicators and (v) support for new and spontaneous initiatives by stakeholders.


Evaluation (at project level) is a crucial phase for projects since it allows a review and qualitative and quantitative assessment of:

  • the results achieved against the aims (as regards activities/products), with implications for the whole of the grant if results are unacceptable and where results are very poor;
  • the means used to achieve these results in relation to the contractually agreed budget

Evaluation (at program level): Evaluation in the Commission is defined as a judgement of interventions according to their results, impacts and the needs they aim to satisfy. Can be performed by project’s staff/experts (self-evaluation) or better exteral evaluator.


As a process, consists of the organization and packaging in appropriate form of relevant information from monitoring and evaluation activities, the dissemination of that information to target users, and, most important, the use of the information as a basis for decision-making and the promotion of learning in an organization. Feedback as a product refers to information that is generated through monitoring and evaluation and transmitted to stakeholders for whom it is relevant and useful. It may include findings, conclusions, recommendations and lessons from experience.


A final beneficiary is an individual or an organisation directly positively influenced by the project outcome. Not necessarily receiving a financial grant and even not directly involved in the project, the beneficiary may exploit project outcomes for its own purposes.


See objective


A good practice is an exemplary project (including results or processes) which has positively influenced systems and practices throughout its activities and results. Consequently, good practices are worth transferring and exploiting in different contexts and environments by new users or entities.


Impact is the effect that the project and its results have on various systems and practices. A project with impact contributes to the objectives of programmes and to the development of different European Union policies. The effective transfer and exploitation of results, together with the improvement of systems by innovation, produces positive impact.


see Results.


Signal or a measure that reveals progress (or lack thereof) towards objectives; means of measuring what actually happens against what has been planned in terms of quantity, quality and timeliness. Example: women’s annual income from small-scale and micro enterprises assisted by a project over a five-year period, to show if there has been an increase in the women’s level of income as planned. See Baseline Data too!

Indirect Costs/Overheads/Operating Costs

The costs being not directly linked to the activities, although incurred. Typically include the following items: communications/telephone Utilities, Depreciation of buildings and equipment, Licenses and fees, Maintenance, Office supplies, Postage and shipping, General & Administrative expenses (G&A), Bid & proposal efforts.


Means mobilized for the conduct of programme or project activities, i.e., financial, human and technical, physical resources.

Lesson learned

Learning from experience (of someone else) that is applicable to a generic (of certain type or category, similar) situation rather than to a specific (focused on exact case) circumstance.

LOI/Letter of Intent

A short summary of the proposed project/service and needed funds sent to a donor for preliminary review prior to submitting a full proposal. If I’ll be awarded I’ll get involved!


Mainstreaming is a process which enables activities to impact on policy and practice. This process includes identifying lessons, clarifying the innovative element and approach that produced the results, their dissemination, validation and transfer. More specifically, mainstreaming also defines the phase of transfer and the way in which other actors take account of the elaborated results, approaches and key elements.


The process involves continuous and systematic control of the projectメs progress. The intention is to correct any deviation from the operational objectives and thus improve the performance. Every project should be monitored throughout its duration in order to ensure its success. Monitoring consists of supervision of activities, comparison with the work plan and using the information obtained for the improvement of the project*. During the monitoring process dissemination and exploitation activities must be carefully checked, verified and, if necessary – reoriented and adapted.


The prose, or written explanation, of the project design and purpose of the grant request.


Needs analysis is a fundamental starting point in the process of dissemination and exploitation of results. Ideally, it takes place at the planning stage, before starting a project (ex-ante needs analysis). The aim is to define the needs of a target group (future beneficiaries and users of the project results) and to better orientate the projectメs activities, with the objective to effectively answer these needs. The project designed and planned on the basis of needs analysis

  • brings more added value to the project itself
  • is more likely to produce useful and sustainable results which may have positive impact.

Non-Allowable Costs/Non-Eligible Costs

Things that cannot be purchased/paid for with grant funds.

Non-government organization (NGO)

NGOs are defined as private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development. NGOs often differ from other organizations in the sense that they tend to operate independent from government, are value-based and are guided by the principles of altruism and voluntarism.


In preparing a project design, and when writing a proposal (for approval or for requesting funds), the goals of the project are stated. The goal is easily defined as the solution to the problem that has been identified. The problem with such a ‘goal’ is that it is too general; it is not easy to obtain consensus as to when it has been reached. That is why, when preparing project documents, a distinction is made between a ‘goal’ and an ‘objective’ (in EC jargon a specific objective). An objective is derived from a goal (it’s general/overall objective=goal), has the same intention as a goal, but it is more specific, quantifiable and verifiable than the goal. Every objective must start with the word , ‘To.’ An easy way to remember the characteristics of a good objective, is the acronym, ‘SMART.’ It stands for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.’ When identifying objectives as part of an exercise in preparing a project design or proposal, use the SMART acronym as a check list, to see if the objective is a good objective. (Making sure each objective begins with the word, ‘To.’) The objectives must be derived from, and consistent with, the intention of the identified goals.The objectives of a project should be ‘SMART.’

They should be:

  • Specific: clear about what, where, when, and how the situation will be changed;
  • Measurable: able to quantify the targets and benefits;
  • Achievable: able to attain the objective (knowing the resources and capacities at the disposal of the community);
  • Realistic: able to obtain the level of change reflected in the objective; and
  • Time bound: stating the time period in which they will each be accomplished.

To recapitulate overall objective is a long-term goal that a programme or project aims to achieve in synergy with other development interventions. An immediate or specific objective (usually in plural) is a short-term purpose of a given programme or project.


see Results.


see Results.


The extent to which a programme or project is implemented in an effective, efficient and timely manner.

Programme approach

The process of defining and providing technical cooperation/assistance through a cohesive national programme framework, which in turn consists of a coherent set of interrelated policies, strategies, activities and investments designed to achieve a specific, national development objective.


Time-bound intervention that differs from a project in that it usually cuts across sectors, themes and/or geographic areas, involves more institutions than a project, and may be supported by different funding sources. As a rule NGO is implementing several different programmes.


Time-bound intervention that consists of a set of planned, interrelated activities aimed at achieving defined objectives.


Proposal for action to be taken in a specific circumstance, including the parties responsible for that action. Example: As a strategy to ensure the acceptability of its research results by target users, the Agricultural Science and Technology Institute should establish a centre for sharing of information between the target users and the Institute. Through a systematic information exchange programme, the Institute should provide target users with information on new technologies being developed and obtain their views on how to improve such technologies.


A broad term used to refer to the effects of a programme or project. The terms outputs, outcomes and impact describe more precisely the different types of results.

Outputs – tangible products (including services) of a programme or project that are necessary to achieve its objectives. Example: NGO capacity building seminars, agricultural extension services provided to rice farmers.Outcomes – results of a programme or project relative to its immediate objectives that are generated by the programme or project outputs. Examples: enhacned foundraising skills, increased crop yield, increased income for the farmers.

Impact – results of a programme or project that are assessed with reference to the development objectives or long-term goals of that programme or project; changes in a situation, whether planned or unplanned, positive or negative, that a programme or project helps to bring about. Examples: higher standard of living, increased food security, increased earnings from exports, increased savings owing to a decrease in imports.

Rolling Based Grants/ Deadline

No specific closing date when applications are no longer accepted. Applications/proposals are constantly being accepted and reviewed periodically.


Spin off effects are unexpected effects happening along the project life and that are normally considered in the ex-post evaluations.


Individuals or institutions that may, directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, affect or be affected by a project and/or a programme. Examples of stakeholders in the activity field of: decision makers, social partners, sectoral organisations, local authorities, CSO, NGO, communities, informal groups etc. Groups/institutions that have a role and interest in the objectives and implementation of a programme or project; they include target groups, direct beneficiaries, those responsible for ensuring that the results are produced as planned, and those that are accountable for the resources that they provide to that programme or project (cf. Target groups and Direct beneficiaries).


Sustainability is the capacity of the project to continue its existence and functioning beyond its end. The project results are used and exploited continuously/ in the long term. Durability of positive programme or project results after the termination of the technical cooperation channelled through that programme or project; static sustainability – the continuous flow of the same benefits, set in motion by the completed programme or project, to the same target groups; dynamic sustainability – the use or adaptation of programme or project results to a different context or changing environment by the original target groups and/or other groups.

Target groups

The target group concerns those who will be directly, positively affected by the project by its activities and its results. The main stakeholders of a programme or project that are expected to gain directly from the results of that programme or project; sectors of the population that a programme or project aims to reach in order to address their needs based on gender considerations and their socio-economic characteristics.

Technical Co-operation/Technical Assistance

Technical co-operation is the provision of advice and/or skills, in the form of specialist personnel, training and scholarship, grants for research and associated costs.

Transfer of Innovation

The aim of the innovation transfer process is the adaptation and/or further development of innovative results of a project, their transfer, piloting and integration into public and/or private systems, companies, organisations at local, regional, national and/or Community level. The process has the objective of answering the needs of new target groups and users. The actors who can take part in transfer of innovations are: users at any level, intermediaries/multipliers, decision makers, etc. The process for transferring innovative content ideally has a number of steps which go beyond simple dissemination, and which are described below:

  • identifying and analysing targeted user requirements;
  • selecting and analysing innovative content to meet these requirements and analysing its transferability;
  • adapting it to the culture, needs and requirements of potential users (updating the product, translations, etc.);
  • transferring it to new socio-cultural and linguistic contexts (target groups, sectors, etc.);
  • using it in new sectors, with new target groups, including piloting it in public or private structures;
  • integrating (or certifying) it in regional, national, European and/or sectoral systems and practices.
Posted on