BOND Quality Group – Debate on logframes

Date: 2-5.30pm 11th June 2009
Venue: NCVO offices, N1 9RL, London

For more information contact: Alex Jacobs <>

Motion: this meeting believes that the logframe is the right tool for managing most NGO work

Logframes (Logical Framework Analysis) are very widely used in NGOs. But they split opinion sharply throughout the sector: some people love them, some hate them.

To their supporters, logframes provide a simple short way of summarising a project’s aims and activities. They force staff to map out the intermediary steps that link activities and overall goals. They can be applied at any level, from an entire organisation to one specific project. They help managers and donors alike by providing a guide to action and a set of indicators to monitor progress, which be can conveniently communicated to other people. Many different approaches can be used to create logframes, including participatory methods.

To their detractors, logframes force staff to think in an inappropriate way. They assume that complex social systems can be predicted in advance and that social problems reduced to a single problem statement. They do not take account of different people’s views and priorities (e.g. within communities), and they are based on an inappropriate linear logic (if A happens, then B will happen, then C). In practice, they are inflexible, creating a strait-jacket for relationships with partners and communities, which undermines outsiders’ ability to respond effectively to changing realities on the ground. They create bureaucratic paperwork, and are most useful for donors and senior managers.

What are the arguments and evidence for each side of the debate? Come along, listen to some expert opinion, debate the issues with your peers.


  • Proposing: Peter Kerby (DFID) & Claire Thomas (Minority Rights International)
  • Opposing: Robert Chambers (IDS) & Rick Davies (independent)

Presentations made by:

Voting Results (before and after debate)

Table 1: Votes before the debate
For Against Abstain Total
Women 9 14 1 24
38% 58% 4%
Men 3 5 1 9
33% 56% 11%
Total 12 19 2 33
36% 58% 6%
For Against Abstain Total
Large org 6 4 10
60% 40%
Small org 1 13 14
7% 93%
Total 7 17 24
29% 71%
Table 2: Votes after the debate
For Against Abstain Total
Women 6 13 1 20
30% 65% 5%
Men 2 4 1 7
29% 57% 14%
Total 8 17 2 27
30% 63% 7%
For Against Abstain Total
Large org 2 5 7
29% 71% 0%
Small org 2 11 13
15% 85% 0%
Total 4 16 0 20
20% 80% 0%

See also the summary of the BOND logframe debate, available at the BOND website

One thought on “BOND Quality Group – Debate on logframes”

  1. It is true that tha argument for LFA remains strong in the corridors of aid, despite the acknowledgement that LFs do not tell us the “real story” about desired changes in policies, practices and behaviour.The appreciation of the need to shift towards another model is, nevertheless, an important milestone . I believe the OM community is gaining grounds and those who matter in deciding the frameworks for projects are increasingly listening!I can see the development community moving int a difficult transition, gradually phasing in a combination of outcomes and some aspects of the logframe. This “mix” will be crucial as te dialogue for new directions continue. The workable option is to keep inviting decision makers to the debate.I have seen AIDS commmissions in many countries commissioning outcome stdues and reviews of the strategies, a proof for desire to change!


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