Through our past projects where it is in the U.S., the Philippines, or Iraq we believe each projects success was due to sustainable planning for both the short and long term. Projects inevitably face trials both prior to and throughout implementation as well as much later, once our project team left the site. During our project planning stage we anticipate and account for all of these circumstances. For that reason, in our financial projections we secure funding for the initial project deployment as well as future maintenance. It must be able to garner support for the initial enthusiasm to get a project implemented as well as to ensure that it is well cared for in the future years. Finally, the community should see benefits from the project throughout its lifetime, not just initially, and not just at some undetermined time in the future.
When planning a project timeline, at Headway we understand that it is important to look beyond the implementation of a project, in our planning we consider economic, environmental, and cultural factors. For example, project funding at the outset can be from an initial fundraising effort by the community, by a grant, or by a donation, among other sources. However in the future, it is unlikely that such funds will be available regularly; in fact you can rarely count on it. For that reason during the project planning phase we consider how funds for project maintenance will be raised. It could be that local people must contribute to an annual fund or that profit from the sale of water, electricity, food, or some other commodity in order to fund the project maintenance. However, this crosses the line into understanding the short and long term cultural factors of a project. With our team of researchers we explore the customs and culture of the local community before project implementation to understand how it will be received. In the planning phase, we take measures to ensure that the project is well received and promoted by an influential member of the community.
We understand that no matter how much you plan, problems and obstacles will always arise. Our planning team brainstorm all possible ways that a project can fail and then mitigate as many as possible. Through our various past projects we’ve incorporate as many fail-safes as possible to ensure project success. At Headway we imagine all possible ways a project can be put in danger, be it by political, economical, technological, or social. Perhaps a change in local government could bring in a regime which does not care about the environment. These and other obstacles are foreseen and planned for. We create a network of support for the project within each of the cultural, economical, technological, and environmental categories. For cultural support, this may involve gaining project support from the local government, a local NGO, a community leader, and a local institution such as a school. Economically, it could entail securing local support from an NGO, payments for shared resources by community members, and a portion of local profits from crops. Technologically, it could be training a local mechanic as well as providing duplicates of parts which are likely to break to ensure that the system will not be deserted and not used. Finally, environmentally it may involve securing a commitment to regional protection from local residents, NGOs, and government simultaneously.