Critical Study Of The Logical Framework Approach In The Basque Country

By ECODE, Bilbao, March 2011

Full text available in Spanish and in English


“Since 1999 ECODE has been working on supporting the management of Development Cooperation interventions in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) by the multiple agents that are involved in this sector, including public administrations, Development NGOs and organisations in the South. During this time it has had the chance to strengthen the use of the Logical Framework Approach by all these entities, including its effects (positive and on occasions not so positive) on the planning and management  of the interventions based on it.

ECODE has also collaborated with the Basque Government’s Head Office of Development Cooperation for the development of its presentation and justification forms for its interventions, Projects, Programmes and Humanitarian Action for Development Cooperation carried out by Development NGOs. In addition, it has worked with a number of Basque entities supporting similar services. As a result, we have been able to see the multiple models there are for planning and formulating interventions, eminently based on the Logical Framework, and the consequences that this has for Development NGOs when applying for and justifying subsidies before various entities for their Development Cooperation interventions. Continue reading “Critical Study Of The Logical Framework Approach In The Basque Country”

Seminar: Complexity-oriented Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME): from alternative to mainstream?

Date: Wednesday 10 November 2010, 13.30-17.00 pm,
Venue: Theatre Concordia, Hoge Zand 42, The Hague, The Netherlands

The HIVA Research Institute for Work and Society of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, PSO Capacity Building in Developing Countries, the Flemish Office for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), and Vredeseilanden/VECO invite you to a seminar organised within the framework of the Development Policy Review Network (DPRN) to discuss how alternative PME approaches such as Outcome Mapping and Most Significant Change may complement the mainstream Logical Framework approach for complex development programmes. The aim is to come up with recommendations for PME policies, based on lessons learned from practical experience with various PME approaches in complex situations.

The seminar forms the closing part of the DPRN ‘Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in complex social situations’ process, in which the four organisations have worked on various studies about these PME approaches. They analysed the different PME approaches in detail and carried out various case studies of PME approaches which featured as learning histories for various organisations. In addition, the organisers reviewed current PME policy frameworks in Belgium and the Netherlands and organised a public online discussion about the use of Logical Framework versus Outcome Mapping. The insights of these four projects will be shared and discussed at the seminar. For more details see the attached invitation or contact Jan van Ongevalle of HIVA at ( More information on the process can be found on the website

You can register by sending an email to ( before 1 November, mentioning ‘DPRN seminar 10 November’

Beyond Logframe: Using Systems Concepts in Evaluation

March 2010. Nobuko Fujita (Ed)  Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID) Available as pdf

“Editor’s Note: The 2010 Issues and Prospects of Evaluations for International Development employs systems concepts as clues to re-assess the conventional ways of conducting evaluations and to explore how development evaluation can potentially be made more useful.

In Japan, development evaluation predominantly relies on the Logical Framework (logframe) when conducting evaluations. Evaluations based on a logframe often face difficulties. One such difficulty arises from the futile attempt to develop an evaluation framework based on a logframe, which, in many cases, was prepared as part of the early-stage planning of the project and which then does not necessarily reflect a project’s real situation at the time of evaluation. Although a logframe can be utilised initially as a tentative project plan, logframes are rarely revised even when the situation has changed. By the end of the project, the original logframe may not be an accurate embodiment of what the project is about and therefore logframes do not particularly help in terminal or ex-post evaluations.

Still, having been institutionalized by clients, logframe-based evaluations are common practice and in extreme cases, evaluators face the danger of evaluating the logframe instead of the actual project. Although widely used for its simplicity, logframes can end up becoming a cumbersome tool, or even a hindrance to evaluation.

Various attempts have been made to overcome the limitations of the logframe and some aid organizations such as USAID, UNDP, CIDA and the World Bank have shifted from the logframe to Results-Based Management (RBM). Now GTZ  is in the process of shifting to a new project management approach designed on RBM and systems ideas.

In the first article, “Beyond logframe: Critique, Variations and Alternatives,” Richard Hummelbrunner, an evaluator/consultant from Austria, sums up the critique of logframe and the Logical Framework Approach (LFA), and explores some variations employed to overcome specific shortcomings of LFA. He then outlines a systemic alternative to logframe  and introduces the new GTZ management model for sustainable development called “Capacity WORKS.” Richard has dealt with LFA and possible alternatives to LFA at various points along his career, and he is currently involved in GTZ’s rollout of Capacity WORKS as it becomes the standard management model for all BMZ 5 projects and programmes.

What does he mean by “systemic alternative”? In the second article, “Systems Thinking and Capacity Development in the International Arena,” Bob Williams, a consultant and an expert in systems concepts, explains what “thinking systemically” is about and how it might help evaluation. He boils down systems ideas into three core concepts (inter-relationships, perspectives, and boundaries), and relates these concepts to various systems methods.

In December 2009, FASID offered a training course and a seminar on this topic in Tokyo. Through the exchange of numerous e-mails with the instructors prior to the seminar, it occurred to me that the concepts might be more easily understood presented as a conversation. That is what we tried to do in the third article, “Using Systems Concepts in Evaluation – A Dialogue with Patricia Rogers and Bob Williams –.” These two instructors of the FASID training course and workshop explain in simple conversational style where and how we can start applying systems concepts in development evaluation.

This issue also carries a report of two collaborative evaluations of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. The first case presents an innovative joint evaluation conducted collaboratively with Vietnamese stakeholders. The evaluation took place in 2009 – 2010 as the last year of a three-year evaluation capacity development project coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The second case covers a joint evaluation study of another Japanese ODA project in Lao PDR with a local Lao administration for which neither logframe nor OECD DAC five criteria was used. Instead, an evaluation framework was developed from scratch, based entirely on the beneficiaries’ interests and perspectives. In both cases, a partner country’s participation in the evaluation necessitated considerable changes in perspectives of evaluation practice. I hope they provide examples of how boundaries and perspectives, as discussed theoretically in the first three articles, relate to development evaluation in practice.”

Training: Logical Framework Analysis for Programme & Project Planning

Date: 26 March 2010
Venue: Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK.

LFA is the project planning tool used by major international donor organizations such as the World Bank.  It allows organizations to define objectives in a simple, rigorous, logical and concise manner. It has the power to communicate complex objectives clearly and understandably on a single sheet of paper, and is a great ‘aid to thinking’ for project planners and stakeholders alike. LFA serves as a powerful tool for identifying: inputs, assumptions for success, and indicators for monitoring progress and evaluating performance.  This course will be invaluable for anyone who needs to run, or participate in, any LFA process.The course presenter has extensive experience with LFA: having worked with a number of donor agencies (including Australian Aid, DANCED, the EU, and the World Bank) as well as with a range of NGO’s in a number of countries.
Course fee: £100.

Course registration form available here.

Please note: this course is held in Banbury, Oxfordshire, however we can also run this course at your own venue, on a date to suit – please contact us for details.

Training: “Impact Oriented Project Planning and Monitoring”

Date: 8th to 10th of March, 2010
Venue: Karl Kübel Institute for Development Education – India

Dear Friends,

We would like to inform you about the above mentioned workshop which we offer at the Karl Kübel Institute for Development Education, Coimbatore (

Target group:

Participants from organisations dealing with projects and programmes of development cooperation in all fields being responsible or involved in activities of project cycle management. Knowledge of formalized planning procedures like logframe-planning and the use of project cycle management are appreciated.


NAO Review – DFID: Progress in improving performance management

Publication date: 12 May 2009 . Full report (PDF – 366KB)

Executive Summary

1.  This brief review of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) performance management arrangements during 2008 is a follow-up to our 2002 VFM report on the same topic. It responds to a request from DFID’s Accounting Officer to re-visit the topic periodically, which the C&AG agreed would be valuable. It is based on a desk review of main documents, interviews with DFID staff, and a survey of staff and stakeholder views about evaluation (Appendix 3). We did not undertake a full audit of DFID systems, some of which are in the process of being revised, and we concentrated on those areas of DFID activity most directly related to its performance targets. We drew on recent DFID reviews of monitoring and evaluation, and our findings square well with the results of those reviews.
Continue reading “NAO Review – DFID: Progress in improving performance management”

Guidance on using the revised Logical Framework (DFID 2009)

Produced by the Value for Money Department, FCPD, February 2009.

>>Full text here<<

“The principal changes to the logframe from the earlier (2008) 4×4 matrix are:
•  The Objectively Verifiable Indicator  (OVI) box has been separated into its
component elements (Indicator, Baseline and Target), and Milestones added.
•  Means of Verification has been separated into ‘Source’.
•  Inputs are now quantified  in terms for funds (expressed in Sterling for DFID
and all partners) and in use of DFID staff time  (expressed as Full-Time
Equivalents (FTEs);
•  A Share box now indicates the financial value of DFID’s Inputs as a
percentage of the whole.
•  Assumptions are shown for Goal and Purpose only;
•  Risks are shown at Output and Activities level only;
•  At the Output level,  the Impact Weighting is now shown in the logframe
together with a Risk Rating for individual Outputs
•  Activities are now shown separately (so do not normally appear in the
logframe sent for approval), although  they can be added to the logframe
template if this is more suitable for your purposes.
•  Renewed emphasis on the use of disaggregated beneficiary data within
indicators, baselines and targets.”

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

What should be found within an M&E framework / plan?

I was asked this question by a client some time ago. After some thinking about something that I felt I should have already known, I drafted up a one page guidance note for my client. The contents of the note also benefited from a discussion about appropriate expectations about M&E frameworks with other M&E people on the MandE NEWS email list

I have attached the one page guidance note here: What should be found in an M&E Framework / Plan?

Please feel free to post your comments on this document below. And to suggest any other documents or websites where this topic is covered.

PS: 28 October 2011: This one-pager contains a summary of the proposed contents of an M&E Framework for a DFID project, prepared this year

PS: 12 February 2014: Benedictus Dwiagus Stepantoro has sent me this link to the DFAT (was AusAID) Monitoring and Evaluation standards that were updated in 2013. He points especially  to standard no.2 on Initiative M&E System there, and comments:

” I use it all the time as reference in checking the quality of M&E system in program/project/initiative, as I often receive 3-5 M&E System/Plan documents every year to be assessed.

 The main key feature for an M&E system there are:

 – Should have an ‘evaluability assessment’, as basis for developing the M&E system.

– Have clarity on program outcome, key output, approach/modality and the logic around them

– Have Evaluation Questions, or Performance Key Questions/Indicators

– Methodology/Tools – including baseline

– Should have sufficient resource (people with right expertise, fund for M&E activities.etc)

– Scheduling of M&E activities

– Costing/Budget allocation for M&E

– Clear responsibility

….People often shows me a logframe or a matrix of indicator and proudly state that their program have an “M&E System”,… But,…. For me, .. A logframe alone, is not an M&E System. A matrix of Indicators alone, is not an M&E system”

Training: Monitoring and Evaluation for Results

Date: July 6-17, 2009
Venue: The World Bank Headquarters
1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20433

World Bank Institute Evaluation Group (WBIEG)

Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation
Logic Models and Evaluation Questions
Indicators and Measurement
Research Designs
Data Collection
Reconstructing Baseline Data
Data Analysis
The Practice of Impact Evaluation
Reporting Results and Utilization of Evaluations
Managing Monitoring and Evaluation Functions
Continue reading “Training: Monitoring and Evaluation for Results”

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