Task of a supporting institution
Supporting institutions in health promotion and prevention are professional organisations specialising in one or several themes (physical activity, nutrition or tobacco), settings (workplace, school, focused communities) or target groups (youth or the elderly) and implementing intervention projects in these fields. The institutions are competent in their field and, having gained recognition and distinction, become established as expert bodies.
A supporting institution is responsible for the quality of the projects that are implemented either by themselves or delegated to others. The institution is also responsible for establishing and maintaining professional and methodological competencies. In addition it provides the necessary resources, conditions and networking opportunities.
Decision for or against a project: the contract
For any project to start, the institution requires a sound basis in the form of a contract. The contract meets certain conditions which have been developed and negociated between the institution's project managers, who are ultimately responsible for any supported project, and the executive project leader(s).Some of the following issues need to be discussed and resolved before the conclusion of any contract:
- Does the project fit into the institution's core business?
- Does the theme stand a chance of becoming sustainable or is it a one-off activity?
- Are there enough resources available for implementing the project and for the necessary investments?
- Does the project meet with acceptance within the institution?
- Can the institution provide the necessary skills and resources for technical assistance in order to guarantee quality during implementation?
If it is decided to address a new theme the project design should clearly identify the required framework conditions for such an undertaking and how the new theme may be integrated in the institution in the future. The time and money spent on justifying a new core theme is only worth the effort if these preliminary questions are researched. In order to spread risk, cooperation with one or more partners must always be considered.
Why you would disregard these aspects
- You are very convinced by a draft project and you wish to implement the project in any case. You do not see or you minimize danger signals.
- You have developed a project idea, but the theme does not fit the profile of your institution, and there is also little experience regarding implementation and networking.
What you have to gain
If your project is well supported in the supporting institution, you will receive the necessary technical and financial support and you can use any existing network.
What you can actually do
- Think about the framework conditions that the institution needs to provide for your project and negotiate them with the project managers.
- Use expertise and experience already available in your institution for the development of the project design.
Questions for critical reflection
- Does the envisaged supporting institution provide the best possible conditions for the planned project?
- Is existing experience and expertise available from the institution sufficiently utilised for the development of the project design?