History of logical framework approach:
The Logical Framework Approach (LFA) was developed in 1969 for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It coined from a planning approach by the US defence force and was then further developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to plan space programme. It is based on worldwide research by Leon J Rosenberg. Since then, it has been adopted by a number of International Development Organisations and Donor Agencies across the globe. Log-frame is another name for LFA. LFA is also known with other names such as Objectives Oriented Planning or Goals Oriented Planning.
What is Logical Framework Approach:
At the outset the emphasis of LFA was on inputs for project but gradually outputs, purpose, and goals were included in the project design by focusing on external factors influencing project planning and implementation. The approach is a blend of planning (what should be done with end in mind) with an analysis phase (by who and why). The LFA is a highly effective strategic planning and analytical process and project management methodology useful for the entire project lifecycle. It is a map, or a graphical design summarising the key elements of the project design and execution. It is a planning tool that is used for design, implementation, monitoring and evaluating projects and programmes.
Usefulness of Logical Framework:
LFA is required by the Donor Agencies and governments for their Grant Proposal or Application. It is essential for professionals, students, project managers or coordinators or anyone who is writing or planning to write the project proposal for their projects or missions. It is a planning tool for project management and a linear theory of change as well as a means for fundraising. The LFA is the basis for monitoring, evaluation and learning for a project with inbuilt accountability instruments. This is associated with results-based management methodology.
Logical Framework Approach and Logical Framework Matrix:
There are two confusing terminologies in this work. They are LFA (Logical Framework Approach) and LFM (Logical Framework Matrix. Both terminologies are overlapping but not similar. LFA is a map for the entire planning and management process and LFM is a graphical representation of LFA – a working tool or system or design. LFM is based on a simple grid narrating what is required to achieve the goal. Here is an example of LFM.
How Logical Framework Approach works:
The Logical Framework operates as per following logic.
If the activities are carried out AND the assumptions are realised, THEN the outputs should be delivered.
If the outputs are delivered AND the assumptions are realised, THEN the objectives should be achieved.
If the objectives are achieved AND the assumptions are realised, THEN the project will contribute to the goal.
● First column (particular):
The Goal defines the longer-term impact that a project or programme aims to contribute to.
The objectives are to change it hopes to directly influence within project lifespan.
The outputs include the tangible products or services the project or programme aims to produce.
Activities and inputs (resource required), to achieve outputs to goal.
● Second column (verifiable indicators):
The information that needs to be collected to indicate whether or how far the goal, objectives and outputs have been achieved. This column does not include activities. (Verifiable – able to check or prove or demonstrate). Indicators can be qualitative and/or quantitative.
● Third column (means of verification):
The methods that will be used to collect the indicators such as interview, training documentation, etc.
● Fourth column (assumption):
To identify the key risks and assumptions (internal and/or external) that might influence the success or otherwise of the project or programme.
Varied Logical Framework Matrix:
LEM has different versions with their own terminologies based on the donor agencies and government. Though the underlying logic and focus is the same. The table summarises various LFM used by the government.
Benefits and drawbacks of Logical Framework Approach:
Enhance quality of project planning and design.
Provides logical thinking and hierarchy for the entire project lifecycle.
Improves the project design and monitoring.
Useful in project monitoring, evaluation and learning process.
It facilitates common understanding and better communication between stakeholders.
It summarises the entire project or programme in a couple of pages.
It helps to organise thinking and set performance indicators.
Many practitioners find it difficult to understand and work on it.
It is considered a static tool with limited or no flexibility.
Timeframe for individual logical framework matrix is missing.
It requires systematic training for individuals and organisations, so it is costly.
It is time consuming and sometimes hinders participation.
Though it is a management tool but does not guarantee project or programme success.
The underlying logic is too simple and vague for the complex issues affecting the project or programme implementation.