Project plans are usually quite explicit about WHAT should happen. This is presented in the traditional Logical Framework Matrix. The results and related activities are directed at end-users or final beneficiaries. Obviously because development principles and because the donors want to see improvements in their lives, the plans are directed towards them.
However, it looks like many projects actually interact with intermediary agencies and help them to build the required capacity to implement the activities in the WHAT matrix.
We see that many struggle with the presentation of the capacity building activities. Mostly these are just added in the matrix as an activity or as a result formulated as a general activity: ‘strengthening the organization’. Sometimes we even see it added as a second purpose breaking the rule to have only one purpose and messing up the logic of the Logical Framework (results plus assumptions lead to the purpose). Obviously confusion exists on how to incorporate activities geared to the implementing organization(s) as being the target group(s) of the project into the matrix that is directed to the final beneficiaries.
For a number of years we advocate the use of several matrixes. When the project is clear on WHAT should happen, the WHAT matrix will be prepared. In that matrix the organization(s) that are responsible for implementing the activities show as a pre-condition: ‘effective organization(s)’. When assessing the competency of those organizations it may appear that something needs to be done to help them build capacity. In that case we prepare a separate matrix, which we call the HOW (should it happen) Matrix. In that LogFrame matrix the Organizational Purpose will be ‘Professional or effective organization’ and the Organizational Results will be INTERNAL services or outcome directed at the staff of the organization, e.g.: ‘adequate competence’, ‘mandate assured’ or ‘policy in place’, right staff at the right place’, ‘supportive leadership’, ‘adequate facilities’, etc., etc. Actually we identify these weaknesses first in a participatory brainstorming session and then use a checklist for additional areas of concern.
We can prepare separate HOW matrixes for each organization involved that is receiving support.
We can even prepare a separate matrix for Project Management or for the Partnerships, which we call the SUPPORT matrix and by doing so we make the different entities and its interventions and responsibilities explicit.
Making the capacity building initiatives explicit in a different matrix offers a clear and handy facility to identify and visualize the different components that are part of ‘strengthening organization’. The technique also clearly demonstrates the separate responsibilities and allocates separate budgets. Budget problems often crop up for the capacity building activities when only ‘strengthen organization’ is listed in the WHAT matrix.
Monitoring of progress and assumptions should happen of course in the different matrixes, but developing the monitoring system belongs in the PM or SUPPORT matrix.
The dilemma that often exists is the requirement of the donor that speaks of one matrix only. This needs to be dealt with. Several donors are embracing this technique already.
We explain and practice this technique in our next training.
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