Key Actions by:

Standard 18: Learning from and leveraging results during close-out.

Engage participants, partners, donors, host or local governments and other stakeholders in project close-out evaluation and reflection activities with the intent of learning from and leveraging the project.

Write a comprehensive final project report that summarizes project achievements and learning.

  • Why

    A final project reportFor a summary of the differences between final project reports, final evaluation reports, and after-action review reports, see the “How” section below. offers a space for CRS to present the project team’s overall analysis and interpretation of project achievements, along with successes and challenges related to technical programming, operations issues and project management. The final report is also a place to summarize key learning from the full project implementation experience. Too often, however, project teams approach the preparation of final reports as a “tick the box” exercise and simply repackage information presented in previous reports. Taking time to prepare a high-quality, comprehensive final report:

    • Deepens internal and external understanding of project achievements and lessons learned.
    • Builds the evidence base for future project design and management through clear documentation of project achievements and learning (see Standard 2).
    • Demonstrates CRS’ commitment to learning and accountability to project donors and other internal and external stakeholders.
  • Who

    • Primary responsible : Project manager or chief of party (PM/CoP)
      • The PM/CoP is responsible for coordinating inputs and compiling a project final report that includes comprehensive information, evidence-based analysis and key learning.

    • Others involved: Project team, including programming (MEAL, sector leads, project officers) and operations staff; head of programming (HoP); head of operations (HoOps); country representative (CR) as needed; IDEA staff as applicable
      • CRS and partner project team members contribute content for the final report;
      • The HoP and HoOps support report development and review the final draft report;
      • The CR may also review and approve the final report, particularly if submitted to a donor;
      • For centrally-funded awards, IDEA staff help identify key messages for the report, confirm/provide guidance on report format and length, and support with final report review and submission.

    Final reports and staffing transitions: Each project should budget for the PM/CoP position to continue through the end of the project, and senior managers should act to retain the PM/CoP until completion of project/award close-out activitiesFor external donor-funded awards, the award close-out period often extends beyond the project end-date. (see Standard 17, key action 1). However, there will be situations where the PM/CoP leaves the project team before the completion of project/award close-out. In such cases, before leaving, the PM/CoP should prioritize completing the project final report, or hand over a solid draft report to the HoP or another designated staff member along with clear guidance on what is needed to finalize the report.

  • Partnership
    • Although partners may not be directly involved in writing the final report, the CRS final project report should build on information from partner reports submitted to CRS, as well as joint CRS-partner reflection, analysis, and interpretation through the evaluation and after-action review process (see Standard 18, key action 2).
    • In some cases, CRS and partners may identify additional inputs needed from partners for the final report. Be sure to give partners sufficient time to prepare these inputs, and keep in mind partner staff availability as partner staff may depart the project earlier than CRS staff as field-level activities conclude ahead of the project end date.
    • Share the final version of the report with partners. As needed, revise the report before sharing to avoid inadvertent sharing of any sensitive information.For example, information related to another stakeholder.
    • Encourage partners to write their own final reports that document their project accomplishments as well as any challenges they faced in managing their components of the project. Partners can also use such reports with their stakeholders and prospective donors, and for partner-level institutional learning. Support partners as needed with tailoring their reports to these different audiences.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • When CRS is a sub-recipient, the prime will typically request a final report. Prepare CRS’ final report following the prime’s guidance, including any templates from the prime or donor. If the prime does not provide guidance, use the guidance above and the CRS Final Project Report Template.
    • Request the prime to share a copy of the final report submitted to the donor. 
    • Use the report submitted to the prime to prepare an internal final report for CRS that includes CRS and partner key learning from the project, information that may help position CRS with other donors, and observations and recommendations related to CRS’ experience working with the prime. File this report on Gateway under both the award record and the institution record for the prime.
  • Emergency projects