The New Logical Framework: a collaborative work for developing the tool

First Part

Introduction, by Marco Crescenzi.

The theme of the New Logical Framework, that is to say,  the most used tool in the international cooperation projects, at least in the European scope, has suddenly overheated and we could say, that sometimes, instead of flying dishes, there are “ flying (logical) frameworks”. The Social Change School has introduced the PMC and the LogFrame in the Master’s didactic as a reference tool for the projecting since 2000, before with Stefano Oltolini and then with Andrea Stroppiana- one of the trainers that has ‘divulged’ it in Europe on behalf of the EU. In the fundamental appreciation, therefore, I have always reported the limits, due in my opinion, to a lack of usability in “entrepreneurial” and self-sustainable projects:

  • For example, the partners section is missing, a fundamental part
  • For the projects in progress, the tool tends a bit to “embalm” and it limits the innovation that is itself partly unpredictable
  • The presence of only one specific objective is usually surrealistic
  • The vice of the operators to focus on the OUTPUTS (short term results, “built the well”, “made the training course”) rather than on the OUTCOMES (the “real” results in terms of social change)

In other respects, the historical tension with the RMB-Result Based Management technology before, and with the Theory of Change today, and different definitions of outputs and outcomes and impact, risk to be messy. For that reason, and sure that an instrumental maturity (unitary) or a clear “instrumental plurality” for the use of smart designers will be achieved, we support and share with pleasure this debate and path started by the friends of Info Cooperazione.

We present the intervention of E.Gerovasi from Info Cooperazione: 

“A few months ago, I contributed to the organisation of a workshop on the financial tools of the European Union for the cooperation of development, organised by Concord Italia, an occasion in which the sector operators, had the opportunity to deepen and enter into the merits of that tangle of programs, action plans and tenders that compose the multi-year EU programming. I was surprised to see how that large audience composed by colleagues from NGOs, associations and other entities engaged into the European project management, “warmed up” as the workshop analysed the project management technicalities, a subject that no one thought would have created debate.

Apparently it was an unpleasant topic, the new format of the Logical Framework, adopted by EuropeAid and the contradictions that this new tool carries between Project Cycle Management and Theory of Change. The new Logical Framework, in fact, does not clearly integrate the two different approaches that have contrary end goals, enough explanations are not provided and  not having previously updated referenced documents available for those who work with EuropeAid funding. On one side then, it does not look coherent with the actual EC Project Cycle Management Manual, whilst some other aspects, seem to be in line with the methodologies used by other development agencies, in particular those of Anglo-Saxons matrix (USAID, DFID), scopes in which the Theory of Change is in fact born and has majorly developed.

The seminary has obviously contributed to put the problems on the table, the doubts of the operators that everyday have troubles on projects of their organisations, but could not offer immediate solutions. After that meeting, we thought about calling the community of the cooperation operators that rotates around the blog Info Cooperazione , in order to set up a working group that could analyse the issue in more depth and together create a sort of vademecum.

And then, the second surprise has arrived, the availability of a large group of colleagues with different provenience and experience, the Social Change School included, ready and available to explore the specific topics and were helpful to all who were committed in the project management sector. A path with an “open knowledge” attitude, the spirit from which Info Cooperazione was born, a space accessible to everyone, up-to-date, and enriched by reports of the readers, where exchange, sharing of information on the cooperation horizons, the potential donors and new planning.

The creation of the document “A collaborative guide to the understanding the New Logical Framework of EuropeAid” marks an ulterior step above the sharedness of the information. It is in fact the production of an unreleased document, that we believe could be of great utility to many operators of the sector. An important sign that shows one more time the potentiality of the network and collaboration.”

If the topics on the New Logical Framework has interests you,  there another intervention by Andrea Stroppiana in the coming weeks!



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