It is possible to improve the management of uncertainties in international development projects.•
It is needed to tailor project management to prevent future events or adapt to externalities.•
The strategic prospective helps minimizing risks and to increase the project’s effectiveness.•
The strategic prospective is a novel approach to involve participants in improving project’s results.•
The strategic prospective approach is applied to an educational project in Colombia with success.
International development projects face uncertainty challenges more often than other projects. The strategic prospective approach is based on understanding the future and accepting uncertainties. This theory is presented as an appropriate methodology for this type of projects. This study presents the case study of a development project designed and executed according to this discipline. The project involved implementing an innovative model of higher technical education and employability for low-income young people in the Department of Cauca (Colombia). The results show that despite the region’s circumstances and the overall context, future problems were identified in advance, and this had a positive impact on the project. From international development, project management can learn flexibility to deal with the uncertainty and participative processes required for managing stakeholders, and the strategic prospective approach can be a good alliance in this challenge.