Logframes can be useful In the last edition of the newsletter we discussed the basics of Project
Cycle Management, and explained that the central feature of this approach
is the logframe. In many instances logframes are constructed by officials
who feel they are only doing this work because the funder insists on a logframe,
and so they grow to resent anything to do with logframes. Anything imposed
from outside, without being properly explained and integrated, will appear
burdensome. Logframes, because of their technical language, are easily hated.
In this article we outline the useful role a logframe can play in the design
of a monitoring and evaluation system for one’s project or programme.
Levels of monitoring
The primary purpose of an M&E system is to enable managers of the
various projects and implementing agencies to monitor progress and performance
(and in turn react to the information). At a higher level in the management
hierarchy, and over the longer term, the effect and impact of the programme
on beneficiaries can be evaluated. For both monitoring and evaluation, reporting
the results in accessible format to all role-players is a critical challenge,
as is communication with the general public and target groups. Central to
any M&E system is the participation and contribution of stakeholders
in the design.
Steps in designing a monitoring and evaluation framework include: assessing
the institutional arrangements and organisational structures in the programme
and information needs at each level; using the logframe matrix as a project
planning, monitoring and evaluation design tool; and identifying key indicators
with which to measure progress.
Having established the key organisational arrangements for the programme,
the next stage in the design of the monitoring and evaluation system itself
is the analysis of the objectives, purpose, results and activities of the
programme using the logframe.
The logframe identifies the overall objective and purpose of the programme.
Moreover, it explains how the programme will meet the objective and purpose
through the implementation of projects (usually at the results level). Moreover,
each result/ project has a unique set of activities that will ensure that
the results are delivered.
For the implementation of a programme there are three logframe levels.
However, for each level (row) within the logframe there are different types
of indicators. Those for the activity and results level primarily measure
progress in programme implementation. Indicators at purpose and overall
objectives level measure effect and impact of the programme.
The relationship between the levels of the logframe and the type of indicator
and information contained in the indicator is defined below for a programme
The selection of indicators is the next key step in the design of the monitoring
and evaluation system. It is important in the design of the M&E programme
that the indicators (the Objectively Verifiable Indicators or OVIs) identified
are appropriate to the monitoring of programme and project delivery. Experience
has shown that poorly specified OVIs are a major weakness of M&E systems.
A second weakness to guard against is the listing of too many OVIs. Project
managers will have to ask themselves whether they need the information specified
in OVIs to manage the programme and make decisions. If they do not need
the information for this purpose, they should leave the OVI out and use
it for ad hoc purposes.
A critical step in the design of a monitoring and evaluation system lies
in ‘operationalising’ the indicators that are to be monitored. In other
words, translating policy themes into specifications about what data should
be collected, how it would be gathered, and how it would be analysed.
The success of a monitoring system lies in the availability of accurate,
timeous data. This is often achieved through the design of a simple system.
Some key performance indicators or OVIs will have to be excluded if the
system if it is to be cost-effective and manageale. There must be a deliberate
and purposeful decision to monitor performance regarding certain information
and not all. Key decisions revolve around what data needs to be collected,
what variables need to be assessed, how data needs to be analysed, how often,
for what purpose and to whom the data should be reported.