11.005 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate

Introduction to International Development


Final Project


Develop a final project independently, or in groups of 2 or 3. The project consists on the elaboration of a proposal for a development intervention of their choice (i.e., a draft business plan for a business targeting the BOP; a project for implementing sanitation in rural areas; or an advocacy campaign to increase awareness on women’s rights), as if they were to be presented to a funding / supporting organization for actual implementation.

The idea is to expose students to the process through which development ideas are transformed into practice, preparing them future work in the international development field.

Students are free to choose topics that interest them or that they have worked on in the past. These proposals are not supposed to be completely professional, but should represent students’best effort to create an idea, gather evidence, and create an initial plan to transform this idea into practice.

For example, successful students will demonstrate thoughtfulness by considering how the local context (history, geographical area, and culture) affects their plan. They will also be asked to consider which theories, practices, stakeholders, and implementation issues (especially those discussed in Class) are the most relevant to their individual projects.

As the teaching team has supervised students closely during individual office hours throughout the semester, this Final project intends to be a thoughtful step towards a “next step” in their engagement with development issues, be that a summer internship, a Major Thesis, or a volunteer project they might be interested in pursuing further after the semester ends.


The project consists of an outline (created from this final project outline template (PDF)), a class presentation, and a final paper.

Final Project Paper Length: If paper is written individually: 2,500 to 3,000-word document that details the answers to the relevant questions below. If your project is written as a group: 5,000–6,000 words. You could either: Focus on the same problem of two different perspectives (two sides to the solution) or extend the depth of detail of the solution you’re proposing.

Presentations will happen during sessions 22 & 24. If presenting individually, your presentation limit is 7 minutes with time for a brief Q&A. If presenting as a group, your presentation limit is 14 minutes with time for a brief Q&A. You will receive feedback after your presentation so you can integrate it into your final paper.

The final paper is due on session 25.


Every project is different, so every proposal will be different. Use the questions below to help guide the development of your proposal:


  • Lay out the need for your project.
  • What is the problem you are trying to mitigate?
  • Where is this problem happening?
  • How long has this been a problem?
  • Who are the actors involved in the problem?

Project Description

  • Describe your solution.
    To consider: How does it work? What is the methodology? How is your idea compare to existing solutions for community needs? What key factors contributed to the design of your project?


  • Share your work to date
    To consider: What preliminary planning or work have you done already? What research have you done to support your project? What have been your major milestones? Do you have a prototype, business plan or other plans?
  • Share your implementation plan
    To consider: What is your approach and plan for proceeding? What will be your key milestones? How will you measure your progress? What is the scope of your project?
  • Challenges
    To consider: What are the challenges that you’ll face in developing your project? How will you address these challenges?
  • Support network
    To consider: Describe the set of community partners and advisors who will assist you with your project development. What roles will they serve in developing the project?
  • Timeline: What is the time horizon you are proposing to implement your solution?
    To consider: Sketch out the main steps in a Gantt chart or timeline. What will you do in the next 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and beyond. Who is responsible for each role?

Community Connection & Impact

  • Connection
    To consider: Who are your partners? How do their roles fit with your work? What types of relationships will be necessary to build in the next year as implement your project?
  • Magnitude of effect
    To consider: Who will be affected by your work? How will it affect the people for whom it is intended?


  • Who is on your team or who do you need to recruit?
  • Does the composition of the team match the skills needed to implement the project?
  • Do the team members bring transferrable experience from previous work to this project?

Describe Your Audience

  • Which organization do you intend to request support from?
  • How are your project goals aligned with this supporting organization?
  • What are the benefits you envision from having support from this organization?
  • What are the limitations you foresee facing your project because of eventual support from this organization?