When to analyse a Logical Framework Matrix we evaluate the following:
Check whether the Project Purpose is formulated as ONE objective, which describes WHY THE BENEFICIARIES or ‘END-USERS’ NEED THE PROJECT. It is an objective (= positive, thus not formulated using ‘reduced’ …), which is achieved by the ‘end-users’ themselves by making use of the Results made available by the project and the prevailing Assumptions. The purpose speaks about the ‘utility’ level.
This is the most important objective of the project as it is the focus and should address a main problem as experienced by the ‘end-users’ in their lives.
The purpose level reflects the RELEVANCE of the project. Although the matrix does not reveal the problems, it should be a mirror image of the problem analysis. As such it should be checked whether the ‘end-users’ experience a major problem around it. The purpose is often associated with happiness and emotion as it described a state of mind or state of life. Examples are: Improved income, enhanced performance, assured security, revived business, secured employment, integrated in society, etc., etc..
The purpose will have to be specified by an OVI (Objectively Verifiable Indicator): a number of parameters with target values (now and later) indicating the change the problem situation will have. The indicator should provide an explanation on what is actually meant by the objective. It should explain the change over time in quantity and qualitative description or typology of the verb (what means ‘improved’, ‘secured’?), the subject (what is ‘performance’, ’employment’?) and the beneficiaries (for ‘who’? and by ‘whom’?).
As such the formulation of the objective or the indicator should particularly make mention of the exact beneficiaries who will experience the benefits. The specification of beneficiaries or type of businesses is crucial because the project design may have to adjust in order to reach those groups: e.g. specifying people by distinguishing male versus female, ethnicity, geographical location, educational background and social, economic status and when the project focuses on businesses: e.g. size, type, sector, location, status, market position, etc..
Mostly the ‘end-users’ are people suffering in society. That is mostly also the interest of funding agencies, as public money should benefit society. However as explained in another discussion on capacity building, the beneficiaries could also be staff in organizations, institutions, departments and units. That is why we like to distinguish final beneficiaries or end-users from direct beneficiaries or target group.
It is ‘interesting’ to note that some formats of donors have dropped the Purpose level …. They jump from a number of ‘Outcome’ straight to ‘Impact’ level …. We have not found out why they have dropped that central and focus level.
Quite often ‘LogFrames’ have several purposes formulated, which if you analyze them appear to be either results or even activities. In that case you need to reorganize the LogFrame and place the right objectives at the right levels. Sometimes you may even find ‘implement the project’ as the purpose of the project … Sounds pretty tautological.
Next, we glance at the Overall Objectives. These are less important for the project itself and provide information on the context of the project to which the project intends to contribute. They inform us WHY the project is IMPORTANT to society. There can be several. Preferably each stakeholder will relate to one or more OOs as they want to see how the project contributes to their wider objectives. Some donors like to see one or more MDGs listed among them. Just check whether these are reasonable connected to the purpose. The project will only contribute to these OOs, which are of course all positive (objectives) and are referred to as IMPACT (note that a monitor will also search for possible negative impact!).
Indicators can of course be added, but these do not say anything about the attribution level by the project.
The Assumptions at Purpose level are relevant to have the Purpose contribute to the Overall Objectives but these are far outside the scope of the project and thus not really very important to the project design. They also determine the context in which the project is situation.
Then we check the Results or Outcomes! Of course these objectives are the next most important of the Logical Framework Matrix because the project is responsible for making these available at the ‘end-users’.
- These objectives should be formulated as ‘services’, ‘products’ or ‘deliverables’ received by ‘end-users’. Examples are e.g.: ‘Knowledge acquired’, ‘ability to produce enhanced’, ‘access to … finance’,
- Each Result must be quantified and qualified with OVIs (Objectively Verifiable Indicators). Only then these become sufficiently specific in order to understand what they mean.
- Their RELEVANCE should also verified in the problem analysis. The indicators may refer to those problems in terms of change over time.
- Results plus Assumptions (at the same level in the matrix) should present a comprehensive package enabling the ‘end-users’ to make use of them and reaching the Purpose.
Often we see Results formulated as an Activity formulated into an objective. These are then also called Outputs, like e.g.: ‘Training organized’, ‘Wells provided’, ‘Information disseminated’, ‘Rural banks established’, implying a benefit, but not making it explicit. We discover the difference between an Output and an Outcome by checking whether the objective can be done (Output) or only achieved (Outcome).
Indicators will only describe some detail of the activity, like ‘nr. of courses’, or ‘banks established’, actually without referring the qualitative benefit of the users.
As already mentioned the Assumptions at Results level are important for the utilisation of the Results and to position the services made available by the project and the other services required to benefit from them. Assumptions are also positive objectives to be achieved and made available to the ‘end-users’ by others then the project. We use an Algorithm to test the Assumptions if these hold.
In the Matrix the Assumptions do not have Indicators attached to them, however in a monitoring plan these are important to be included even with indicators as these Assumptions affect the utility of the project Results.
Most Logical Framework Matrixes miss Assumptions. People tend to think that the more Assumptions are mentioned, the riskier the project. However the opposite is true. If you mention these you can monitor and anticipate them while if you don’t mention them they show up by surprise … and can damage the project success. We call that the ‘ostrich approach’; if you don’t see them, they are not there … Thus the more Assumptions are included the better the project environment has been studied and probably the better the project will be.
The Activities and the corresponding Assumptions.
We check whether the Activities are logically leading to each Result and under which Assumptions this will happen. Checking whether the proposed Activities are the correct ones could be assessed by technical expertise.
The Assumptions at the Activity level are most important because these affect the Results for which the project is responsible. Again, these Assumptions are often ignored but they are crucial to assess the potential effectiveness of the project. Assessors often need to think ‘out of the box’ to imagine the situation of the beneficiary and discover important Assumptions.
The Pre-conditions are objectives that must be in place before the Activities can start. We usually see Pre-conditions at the beneficiaries (e.g. ‘beneficiaries are prepared to pay for services’ or ‘ownership assured’) and at the service deliverers or ‘suppliers’ (e.g.: organization able and qualified to implement the Activities’; ‘contract signed’; ‘funds available’; ‘supportive policy’).
Sometimes the Pre-conditions can be considered a separate ‘project’ preceding the actual project or worked upon during an inception phase.
A properly managed project preparation phase can be mentioned as a Pre-condition.
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