OL 101. Sustainable Development Course: Design, Fund & Manage Projects

Earn a Sustainable Development Online Certificate While Running a Real Project in a Real Community.


Learn Sustainable Development from The Center for Sustainable Development: Take this sustainable development course and learn how to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Learn project design & project management. Get field experience: Run a real sustainable development goals project in a real community. Enroll now!

An 8-Week Online Training Course.
Courses begin the first Monday of each month. Enroll Now!
Enroll Now in the OL 101 Development Course
This training program includes a complimentary PDF eBook of the course textbook: ‘A Field Guide to Community-Based Adaptation‘ (a $37.67 value) by Tim Magee, Routledge, Oxford, England.
Video overview the Sustainable Development Course. Learn Sustainable Development Online.
Advance your Career, Raise Funds and Solve Challenges
This Sustainable Development Course is for NGO and donor staff—and job-seekers wanting to successfully solve community challenges sustainably. Participants work on projects as diverse as food security, water, health, income generation, adaptation to climate change, gender and education. Learn sustainable development goals project design by:
  • Clearly defining the community and the overall challenge.
  • Conducting a participatory needs assessment.
  • Developing a theory of how to solve the challenge.
  • Embedding sustainability using evidence-based solutions.
  • Analyzing which UN Sustainable Development Goals the challenge aligns with.
  • Developing a detailed project outline & logframe.
  • Sharing your project with a donor for feedback.
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
Links for this page with complete, detailed information on this Sustainable Development Course:
Detailed Program and Course Information
Great Project Design + Extra Funding = Increased Services
Design your next project to increase project funding & impact. The course will lead you in developing a winning, impact oriented project while learning to:
  • Become your NGO’s go-to solution for community challenges.
  • Engage donors with improved communications.
  • Enjoy increased funding for your programs.
  • Develop skill sets for a better job.
  • Standout in an interview for a new job in the development world.
  • Use time saving techniques to get more done: less time—less stress.
  • Develop projects that solve challenges sustainably.
  • Boost project successes using evidence-based solutions.
  • Begin using sustainable development project management techniques.
Design Sustainable Development Course 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 NGO. Program highlights include:
  • Affordable training.
  • Interactive instructors.
  • On-the-job training.
  • Flexible course schedule.
  • Learning project design for project management.
  • Learning how to run real projects.
  • Gaining field experience.
  • Developing documentation for a Sustainable Development Goals grant.
  • 9 years: 4000 students, 500 organizations.
  • 153 student countries.
Methodology Sustainable Development Course: Design, Fund & Manage Projects
Women in Bangladesh participating in Course 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. For long-term sustainability 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.
Real Projects Become your NGO’s Sustainable Development Solution
Woman in Kenya with Bananas participating in a Development Course project
For example, student projects have included efforts to help communities in Europe and North America with sustainable development course 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.
Step-By-Step Design Projects to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Course 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 fulfilling the UN 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.
Participants in a development course.
This training program is for members of NGOs solving challenges in developing nations aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It presents 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.
Women in India participating in a Course Project
  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.
Tim Magee facilitating a sustainable development course.
This sustainable development course aligned to 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 NGOs and 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.
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 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals does the challenge align with—and we try and work within that framework to begin project design and development. Aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 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 professionals.
A Challenge and a Solution
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 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 NGO.
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.
“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.
“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 sustainable development. 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.

What Other Students Think About the Online Sustainable Training Course.

How to Enroll in this Sustainable Development Course: Design, Fund & Manage Projects. See how to enroll by clicking on “Enroll Now.”
Last, fill out the Student Enrollment Form to complete enrollment.

In the next Sustainable Development Course, OL 102: Sustainable Development project funding, management and impact, you will transform your project concept 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 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.

Course Fees
The 8-week course is $150.00.

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

An 8-Week Online Training Course.
Courses begin the first Monday of each month. Enroll Now!
Enroll Now in the OL 101: Sustainable Development Course Online: Design, Fund & Manage Projects.


  • Week 1 Learn to navigate the course website, and download the week’s documents.
  • 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 sustainable development 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 sustainable development 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.