TOOLS: Project Agreement Letter — Example

In many countries a Memorandum of Understanding is the appropriate title for this letter.

To: [Key client manager or team leader]

From: [PI facilitator]

Subject: Summary of Initial Performance Improvement Understanding and Next Steps

Purpose: The purpose of this memo is to summarize our collective agreements about the two key performance issues identified by you and your colleagues, and to describe what we jointly decided would be useful next steps to further assess the situation. This assessment data and analysis can then be used to help us fully understand the performance issues and their impact so that we can target interventions that will be most likely to improve performance at the primary FP/RH provider level. These steps will help move your region toward the overall country objective of providing quality and sustainable comprehensive reproductive health services in all clinics and at the community level by 2005.

Process: At your invitation, for the last several weeks we have conducted general discussions about possible solutions related to two issues: the apparent decline of client return rates to clinics in your region, and preliminary evidence that Norplant® acceptance is still very low in spite of efforts to increase its use.

Last week at your request, we met individually with you, several other staff from [the organization] and key stakeholders involved with RH at the primary care level in the region. These individual meetings were followed by last Friday’s group meeting with you and your team from [the organization] and with [stakeholders in attendance]. At that meeting, we summarized what we had learned in the various meetings held during the week, and then had substantive discussions about desired results, performance gaps and next steps we might take to begin to understand how best to address the problems.

Results—agreements and next steps: During our Friday meeting, we established consensus on the following points:

  1. There is a problem with client return rates and Norplant® acceptance. These problems may be related to the quality of client-provider interaction. We agreed that, ideally, return rates would rise by 25 percent per quarter and that acceptance of Norplant®, especially among young people aged 16–22, would be in the range of 20 percent by the end of the year.
  2. Even with current data limitations, we recognize that performance problems extend beyond issues that can be addressed by training alone. Meeting participants expressed different opinions about the causes of performance problems. Many of these opinions were based largely on anecdotal evidence.
  3. In order to understand these problems more fully, we need more concrete data, especially from a field perspective. This data will guide us in choosing the most effective interventions to help move clinics toward desired client return rates and broader acceptance of Norplant® as a contraceptive option for families.

We agreed on the following steps to conduct an assessment:

  1. A team of three people will collect and analyze the data during this phase of the initiative (or PI approach). We will provide two team members, and you agreed that [individual] from [client organization] would join the team to contribute and to learn the particular tools associated with our methodology. [Individual from client organization] will not conduct interviews or focus groups because people might feel intimidated by headquarters staff collecting data. We estimate it will take two weeks of this staff member’s time, one week in August and one week in September.
  2. The assessment team will develop a list of PNA questions, many of which were raised in our Friday meeting, for your review and approval by August 20.
  3. During the period of September 15–27, the performance assessment team will collect data using the following methods and sources:
  4. The team will analyze the data from September 27–October 3. During Friday’s meeting, we set October 4 as the target date to report results. We also tentatively agreed that the same group of participants would be able to attend the results-sharing meeting. Generally, this kind of assessment produces the following results:
  5. We agreed that we would collaborate as closely as possible, and that we would conduct periodic consultation meetings with you and the Performance Needs Assessment team to check progress at key points in the project.
  6. You agreed that [client organization] would provide logistical support for the assessment team, including office space while in the regional capital, travel to and from clinics, etc.
  7. [The donor] agreed to provide funding for necessary technical assistance costs incurred during the performance needs assessment phase.

Please let me know whether this project agreement letter is accurate from your perspective. If you have any questions, corrections or suggestions, we would be most happy to make the necessary changes. Once you have approved the memo, we will send it to the attendees of last Friday’s meeting.