CSDi OL 101:

Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact

Sustainable Development Course | Fund Development Projects | Project Management Templates

An online field experience to develop real sustainable development projects in real communities.

An 8-Week Online Sustainable Development Projects Training Course.
The 8-week course begins again monthly.
Enroll Now in OL 101: Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact.
*From the developing world? Take your $50 scholarship.
This video gives an overview of both 101 and 102.
Advance your Career, Raise Funds and Solve Challenges
This online Sustainable Development Projects training course is for NGO and donor staff—and job-seekers wanting to successfully solve community challenges. Participants work on projects as diverse as food security, water, health, income generation, adaptation to climate change, gender, education—or with connecting farmers to a market—and decided to enroll in the program because they were:
  • developing skill sets for a better job or for a promotion
  • hoping to improve donor communications and donations
  • wanting to learn to develop projects that solve challenges
  • seeking time saving techniques for getting everything done
What Participants Say:
“I just want to take this opportunity to complement you on the practical ideas, knowledge and vast experience that you continue to share with us on each assignment. Many times your examples are the solution of choice for our community. I have been provided with constant support, practical solutions suitable for my project, feedback specific to our project submissions and unwavering encouragement.” Gillian Primus
“Thank you for all your effort in putting together a great program and all of the program resources. Thank you for everything – for making this possible, for your guidance, and for your continuous optimism and encouragement. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you again in the next session.” Wye Yee Yong.
Great Project Design + Extra Funding = Increased Services
The course will lead you in developing a winning, impact oriented project to help you:
  • increase funding for your programs
  • design impact and sustainability into your project
  • boost project successes using evidence-based techniques
  • engage donors with improved communications
Design your own Solution-Oriented Sustainable Development Projects & Attract Donors
The course provides cutting-edge information, tools, time-saving templates, training and expert consultancy—and leads you in developing a real project for your organization. You will:
  • use a participatory needs assessment to define community challenges
  • design sustainable development projects using evidence-based activities
  • incorporate initial feedback from the community and a donor
  • organize the project design into a logical framework
Course Overview: Aligning Your Project to The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Participant projects begin with engaging community members in a needs assessment and maintaining that engagement throughout the program. During this process, a problem is co-identified and research is conducted into evidence-based best practices for that particular challenge.
We then analyze which of the SDGs does the challenge align with—and we try and work within that framework to begin project design and development. Aligning project design to the SDGs lends an internationally accepted direction to the project—and can positively impact negotiations with potential donors.
In this certificate program the principles behind the sustainable development goals begin with the Brundtland report (‘meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs) and progress through community engagement and evidence-based best practices for long-term sustainability of the solutions that course participants come up with. Aligning with the SDGs offers an international focus, credibility, and access to additional resources for project design, management—and funding.
If you would you like to receive our free monthly newsletter containing helpful project-oriented information simply subscribe here. Subscribe now to the newsletter for sustainable development projects professionals.
OL 101 Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact
Detailed Program and Course Information
The Challenge
Although many NGOs have been working hard to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we still have over 1 billion people suffering from hunger, a lack of safe drinking water, and extreme poverty.
An important underlying cause of these challenges is that sustainable development effectiveness can be limited by in-country field staff’s poor access to mission-critical information and training. CSDi is delivering solutions by providing cutting-edge information, tools, time-saving templates, training and expert consultancy—and lead you in developing a real project for your organization.
This video gives a detailed overview of both 101 and 102.
Video: See this course’s first discussion on participatory needs assessments—and how to conduct one with community members.
Become your NGO’s Sustainable Development Solution
  1. Empower people in your communities to change their lives,
  2. develop impact-oriented projects from the ground-up,
  3. use proven methods that produce sustainable results,
  4. attract donors, and
  5. collaborate with colleagues from the North and South.
Sustainable Development Definition: Real Projects in Real Villages. Our online courses are for members of nonprofit organizations working in northern countries—and members of international development organizations solving challenges in developing nations aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They present an online field experience and lead participants in the process of developing empowered, sustainable communities. Online course participants learn to develop real projects in real villages.
Development practitioners from 153 countries and 500 different organizations have developed course projects that are impacting over 400,000 people. See a sample assignment and complete project overview from Tanzania.
“Keep up the good work. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was offered to join the valuable online course six years ago. Due to the assignments related to the course I got in contact with different institutions/NGO’s, communities and individuals. Since then I am involved in more community- based projects, especially with the focus on adaptation to climate change.
All the very best and please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance from me.” Usha Satnarain, MSc. Research-Assistant, Programme in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Suriname
Overview OL 101: Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact
Women in Bangladesh participating in Sustainable Development projects.
The course will lead you through the development of a real project, in real time, and leave you with the practical field tools to sustain it.
We are committed to achieving results-based sustainable development goals. You will learn to incorporate community identified need into the design of your project and research project activities that have shown evidence of having worked at solving challenges.
Projects Become your NGO’s Sustainable Development Solution
Woman in Kenya with Bananas participating in Sustainable Development projects: Project Design, Funding, Project Management
For example, student projects have included efforts to help communities in Europe and North America with community development projects—and communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that face the challenges of drought, hunger and poverty. The course will lead you through the development of similar real projects, in real time, in your own country.
Online Field Course. Students develop real field projects in the course. See a complete list of over 270 types of projects that students have developed.
Outline Design Projects to meet the Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Projects Community Committee member in Kenya
Course leaders have gained their development expertise providing face-to-face consulting services to NGOs & nonprofits in the field and will also provide you with personalized consulting to ensure your project has a solid beginning.
  1. They will help you conduct a participatory needs assessment in your community,
  2. develop a preliminary project concept,
  3. conduct research on your project to identify evidence based activities for the sustainable development goals,
  4. refine your community based projects and share it with your community, and
  5. share your project concept with a potential donor.
The online course in the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be led by Tim Magee, CSDi’s Executive Director, who has over 30 years experience in both working with nonprofits and leading international online training workshops. Mr. Magee is the author of A Field Guide to Community Based Adaptation published by Routledge, Oxford, England.
Women in India participating in Sustainable Development Projects
  1. You will only need to have functional knowledge of Word, Excel, email and the Internet.
  2. A 2-to-3 hour per week time investment.
  3. There are no books to buy—all course materials are available on the course site.
How to Enroll in Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact. See how to enroll by clicking on “Enroll Now” at the bottom of the page.
Optional Blended Learning Program. You are welcome to take this course as a component of a 2 Month Training Program which includes a 5 day workshop.  Each program participant develops their own project with the full support and guidance of CSDi workshop leaders. Follow the link to get the full details—or contact us directly.
Last, fill out the Student Enrollment Form to complete enrollment.

What Students Think About the Online SDGs Courses

In the next SDGs course, OL 102: The SDGs: Planning for Impact, you will transform your project with the real management tools of a logframe, a budget, and fact sheets (letter of inquiry) into a project ready to formally present to a donor.

Certificate. Course participants who successfully complete the Sustainable Development Projects course on time will receive a course certificate. Learn more. Your certificate will be e-mailed within 30 days of the end of your course.

Developed Nation Course Fees
The 8-week course is $150.00 for citizens of developed nations. Are you from a developing nation? You may qualify for a $50 Scholarship.

If you have a question don’t hesitate to contact us. Many questions are answered on our Online Learning FAQ.

Sustainable Development Projects: Design, Fund, Manage for Impact Enroll Now Button



  • Week 1 Learn to navigate the course website, download the week’s documents, and form partnerships.
  • Week 2 & 3 Read the document on participatory needs assessments and conduct an informal assessment with a few community members to uncover a real challenge. List the needs identified and organize them into a clearly described challenge—a development/nonprofit challenge that you are going to solve with your project design. We want this as real as possible.
  • Week 4 We will clarify your project’s challenge, develop a theory of how you plan to solve it, and research 3 solution-oriented activities that would fulfill the premise of your theory.
  • Week 5 Research one peer-reviewed paper for three of your project’s activities and see if scientists have found evidence that they are effective in solving your project’s challenge. Write a one paragraph summary of the papers’ findings.
  • Week 6
    1. Share your proposed project concept locally with colleagues to gain feedback and constructive criticism.
    2. Return to the community with your project concept and get their feedback and hopeful buy-in.
    3. Pick one of your evidence-based activities and write a simple one page guide on how a field staff person could implement it.
  • Week 7 Write a workshop lesson plan for introducing this activity into a community, and then make an illustrated, How-to card to give to community members.
  • Week 8
    1. Share your project with someone that you would like to sell it to: a donor, your boss, your professor, someone in the development/nonprofit world for feedback.
    2. Lay out your challenge, proposed solutions, and activities in a simple matrix (logistic framework) that I will supply. This will prepare you for the next course: OL 102 where you will transform your project into a set of management documents that can formally be presented for funding.