A lot of work to do together on the New Logical Framework, my critical contribution
The debate on the New Logical Framework, continues and after the first intervention we have here Andrea Stroppiana’s answer, Project Manager for Ricerca e Cooperazione and a long standing lecturer for the Masters of ASVI Social Change, provides his critical contribution on the theme:
“The document is very clear and well done in some sections, more confused in others. In general, I can say that I like it and that I partially commit to it. Therefore, I would like to focus the attention on the aspects that I think should be improved.
Finally, we clearly talk about the Intermediate Outcomes – the famous 5th level of the LF of which we have been talking in our education for 15 years. It looks like we reinvented the wheel, but if we do not rigorously distinguish the level between Outputs “infrastructures, goods and services produced by the project..” (quoting the chapter on the “Disappearance of the Expected Results”) and the Intermediate Outcomes (constituted by the “benefits” generated by the use of infrastructures, goods or services) we risk to go around it and to keep the confusion unchanged.
Creating services or goods, for example by building a hospital, is considered as a part of the Outputs universe (no doubts about this), but, the “improved access to the sanitary care” (or the “improved awareness and information”) results amongst the Outcomes. Too often, this concept, risks disappearing due to the lack of care if we do not talk of the notorious level of the Intermediate Outcomes, which are not a facultative option.
Here is the difference with what appears in the document, that states “when necessary, they can appear…” I would rather say that it is always and absolutely necessary! It must be necessary, if not, there is no RBM-Result Based Management, no Result Chain and no Intervention Logic…If we keep running away from the reality of the 5th level, because we are not comfortable with that in the Intervention Logic (or for who prefers of the 6th level in the result chain, including the one of Resources under Activities), we will continue to be necessarily not clear.
To get to close the loop, we need to face the huge conceptual difference between the Intermediate Outcome and the Specific Objective or “non intermediate Outcome” (please let’s change its name if we don’t want more confusion). Whilst the control and responsibility (never mentioned in the document) arrive until the Intermediate Outcomes included, the specific outcome is instead, for its nature, completely out of the control and the responsibility of the project, as it is the result of a bet, between the applicant, stakeholders and Donor (the tripartite bet, as I love to call it). It is not a small difference the one based on responsibility and control, it is the factor that conceptually separates two worlds: the one of the Intermediate Outcomes (and not the one of the Outputs) and the one of the Outcomes, that is the specific Objective and that it is the only element that ratifies if a project had success or not.
Some sections have to be defined more clearly, for example the part on the Old and the New, that unfortunately is incorrect and misleading, with a style that is not appropriate for a document that should be clear and rigorous.
The heading on the indicators must be clarified, “an indicator, defines then, what has to be measured and not where we want to arrive, which is duty of the target”. This new definition, with the distinction between quantitative and/or qualitative indicators, is in effect, more coherent with a ToC, and it looks to give more freedom to the co-applicants when defining a strategy of action monitoring . An indicator, has to specify what has to be measured (in its variable element) and what is the dimension of the change (in its target element), if it doesn’t have those two elements inborn in its formulation, it cannot be defined as such.
Finally, the paragraph that follows on the baselines and target is well done, and it is clear and explicative. The paragraph on the Assumptions is clear as well, and nothing changes respect to the old Logical Framework.”
We would like to remind you the First Part of the debate, if you still haven’t had the occasion to read it: “The New Logical Framework: a collaborative work for developing the tool” with the Introduction by Marco Crescenzi, followed by an intervention by E.Gerovasi from Info Cooperazione.