E Co. bites: How can logical frameworks be used as a tool for better project design?
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Speaker: Mel Phadtare
Question: How can logical frameworks be used as a tool for better project design?
A logical framework is a methodological approach drafted during project development, and used for designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating a project. It is typically presented as a table, with content focused on: the objective, outcomes, outputs and sometimes activities – these are the project results.
For each result there is a corresponding indicator including baseline and target, a means of verification and finally assumptions. Logical frameworks basically provide a roadmap for the project team, helping to show exactly what the project is delivering, what to monitor in terms of that delivery and what assumptions have been made about the deliverables during project design.
We use logical frameworks as a tool for improving project design. If the logical structure has been designed well, then logically the results should be met, as long as the assumptions hold true. On the other hand, if the logical structure has been designed without fully understanding context, challenges or possibilites, then there is a gap in meeting the objective.
Critically reviewing a logical framework means you are examining the most basic building blocks to determine if its relationship to the other building blocks is direct and reinforcing. If the analysis shows this not the be the case, then course correction of activities through redesign is possible and should ultimately result in a logic woven through the project from its most basic building block, to the objective.
In our view, logical frameworks, are useful to help design and explain the logical structure of the proposed project. However, real-life systems can never be explained fully through a simple framework like this. Theories of Change sometimes try to represent this more complex system better, but even they are not perfect.
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