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Key Action: Cooperation and Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices
Action: Strategic Partnerships
Which field is most impacted: Strategic Partnerships for youth
What are Strategic Partnerships?
Strategic Partnerships aim to support the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices as well as the implementation of joint activities promoting cooperation, peer learning and exchange of practice at organisational, local, regional, national or European levels.
In the field of youth, in line with the proposed EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027, priority will be given to:
Projects contributing to the EU Youth Work Agenda, by promoting quality, innovation and recognition of youth work. Priority will be placed on projects that:
- Support the capacity building of youth workers and in youth work;
- Support youth workers in developing and sharing effective methods in reaching out to marginalised young people, in preventing racism and intolerance among youth, and in addressing the risks, opportunities, and implications of digitalisation;
- Foster the inclusion and employability of young people with fewer opportunities (including NEETs), with particular emphasis in young people at risk of marginalisation and those with a migrant background;
- Promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen knowledge and acceptance of diversity in society;
- Open up youth work to cross-sectorial cooperation allowing greater synergies across all fields of actions concerning young people;
- Ease transition of young people from youth to adulthood, in particular the integration into the labour market; develop their competences, setting quality standards, ethical and professional codes;
- Reinforce links between policy, research and practice; promote better knowledge about the situation of young people and youth policies, recognition and validation of youth work and informal non-formal learning at European, national, regional and local levels.
□ Have you read the relevant sections of the Programme Guide?
□ Have you checked how your application links to current EU policies?
□ Have you checked whether this is the right Key Action and field for your project?
□ Have you checked whether your organisation is eligible for Erasmus+ funding?
□ Can you demonstrate the organisational and financial capacity of your organisation?
□ Does your organisation have a PIC number?
□ If your organisation does not have a PIC yet, have you registered on the European Commission’s Participant Portal via ECAS?
□ Have you uploaded the updated Legal Entity Form onto the Participant Portal?
□ Have you uploaded the updated Financial Identification Form onto the Participant Portal, along with any required supporting documents?
□ Are all your details on Participant Portal correct and up-to-date?
□ Are your partners aware of the Participant Portal requirements?
□ Have you checked the quality criteria against which your application will be assessed?
□ Does your organisation have a Euro account or an account that will accept Euro payments?
The proposal forms for education, training and youth (Strategic Partnerships – KA2) are in a standard format, without a national difference, but provided by National Agencies in their specialized platforms for project submission (check your National Agency website for this information). You should carefully check the call year written on right top of the application form, which should be the year we are currently in. Submission of a project on an old version of application form will result in automatic rejection in administrative evaluation phase.
Managing a project means following planned steps of implementation from the initial idea to the final stage, while adjusting it in compliance with the environment, context and resources throughout the process.
In European project as well as in other areas, is to define local and international needs and issues, root problems, symptoms and consequences of specific actions already implemented. It’s also important to develop an analysis of the communities or the subjects who face these challenges and all target groups impacted. The project also needs a vision, an idea, a common goal towards which all participants will direct their efforts and work. Project’s goals are to be achieved through settings and objectives – concrete, accessible, multiple, realistic, timed, flexible, recognizable in the activities – paving the path towards reaching the main vision for the project itself.
Choosing the right priorities and commenting on them
In the first pages of the form you will see Context and Project Identification sections. The most important part is the project title which should be catchy and concise but at the same time conveying the meaning, intervention and aim of the project. Then you will directly go through the priorities section where you can choose two or three horizontal and/or sectoral priority, the latter are defined according to the field you are applying for. Aims and priorities are updated every year on the Programme Guide, thus the application form is updated accordingly, although the main themes are usually teh same throughout the years. Choosing and commenting on priorities is highly associated with the project description. Since you know all the aspects of the project, you will easily select the available priorities and comment on them.
For instance: If you have selected ‘achievement of relevant and high-quality skills and competences’ you will explain how the project is going to support such priority: elaborate on the methods you will use, the concepts and their innovativeness in terms of delivering relevant and high-quality skills and competences for your target group.
The definition of the steps to achieve the planned objectives through specific methods, strategies and activities. Resources (human capital, finances, local context, etc.) are required to identify and to approach stakeholders interested and with the capacity to contribute to the project implementation in terms of added values and involvement. Furthermore, an important project’s step will be the “monitoring and evaluation” stage to assess the vision of the project and the improvements in project management as well as possible and potential implementation in the future.
A good project manager is a professional and experienced person who has always a clear overview of the work flow and the expected results step by step. To do so, in the world of the project management one of the main tools used by the professionals is the Project Cycle Management. The European Commission adopted it for the first time in 1993, realising a manual updated in 2004 by the Aid Delivery Methods Helpdesk in collaboration with European Aid Cooperation Office (EuropeAid). In this study, the research team defined the structure of the tool according to the Logical Framework Approach, considered the best method to apply in the management of a project due to its flexibility, accountability and simplification in the procedures.
Indeed, the planning embraces different aspects: since the design of the idea until the implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the project. The application of this tool in the management of projects is the best way to improve the effectiveness and efficient of the job of the project manager.
Project Cycle Management is used to describe “the management activities and decision-making procedures used during the life-cycle of a project (including key tasks, roles and responsibilities, key documents and decision options)” .
It helps to achieve:
- through problem analysis,
- relevant objectives and goals for a clear identification of needs and challenges,
- logical and measurable outputs and objectives,
- strengths and weaknesses of the organisations
- monitoring actions on verifiable targets identifying solutions
- evaluations actions to improve in the future implementations and projects,
- sustainability of the beneficiaries and of the actions
Key elements applied for the PCM are:
- Preparatory phase, strategic for a good kick-off and as base of a good structure for the implementation;
- Implementation phase, the heart of the project where the partnership creates results and achieve project’s goals;
- Dissemination phase, helpful to spread at all levels (local, national, EU, international) the results achieved by the project;
- Evaluation and Monitoring phases, fundamental to make an analysis of the project’s implementation, the results achieved and their exploitation during and after the project.
Quality assessment criteria are included at each main decision point within the management cycle. The quality of a project is measured in terms of relevance, feasibility and effectiveness, which provide the framework for the Quality Frame of key quality attributes, criteria and standards.
For a project to be relevant it should meet demonstrated and high priority needs:
- consistent with, and supportive of EC development and cooperation policies
- consistent with, and supportive of, Partner Government policies and relevant sector programmes
- key stakeholders and target groups are clearly identified; analysis of institutional capacity and equity; demonstrated local ownership
- problem analysis – assessment of cause and effect relationships, and identifies underlying problems which impact on target groups; problems encountered by different socio-economic groups are clearly identified and addressed
- the project is positioned in the framework of other ongoing/planned projects – lessons learned from experience and links with other programmes are assessed and incorporated into strategy selection
If a project is well designed and delivers sustainable benefits to target groups this translated to its feasibility:
- identified and clear needs, clear objectives (overall objective, purpose and results), clear activities (the work programme)
- the project is financially viable and has a positive economic return, the resources and costs are identified and explicit
- coordination, management and financial arrangements are clear and enhancing the local ownership and institutional capacity
- anticipated project management responsibilities are briefly defined, build on the analysis of institutional arrangements and capacity
- there is clear and practical monitoring and evaluation system in place
- identified assumptions/risk and appropriate risk management practices are in place
- assumptions in the (draft) Logframe Matrix highlight key factors outside the direct control of project managers which have the potential to impact negatively on the project (risks)
- environmentally, technically and socially sound and sustainable – appropriate level of environmental impact analysis has been carried out, and the scope of further studies determined
The effectiveness of a project is determined if it delivers the anticipated benefits and is well-managed:
- remains relevant and feasible
- objectives are being achieved
- well managed by those directly involved in its implementation
- addressing effectively and in due manner sustainability issues
- applying good practices and principles of project management