A Guide for Project M&E Managing for Impact in Rural Development Annex

The best results come from considerable discussion among key stakeholders, guided by facilitators who have a good understanding of the project context and logframe planning. If the project strategy is put to use by stakeholders after the discussions, then the logframe matrix is simply a support and a reminder. The intention of this Annex is to provide ideas and tips about the types of issues that require attention and discussion when developing a good logframe matrix. The reworked example is not intended to be perfect or complete.

Different people, including those very experienced with logframes, will often have different ideas and opinions about how to structure a project. Therefore, to develop a good logframe requires several rounds of discussion and revision. The logical framework approach and matrix are discussed in detail in Section. When you review a logframe matrix or develop one from the start it is helpful to keep in mind its following three uses:

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  • Providing a general overview of the project;
  • Providing the basis for project implementation, including the development of annual work plans and budgets;
  • Providing an overview of how project performance will be monitored and evaluated.

The art of developing a useful logframe matrix is to make it specific and clear but not too long. Remember that the detail needed for implementation will be more than what is required to provide an overview for those appraising a project for funding. The lack of adequate detail is why project staff often do not use a logframe matrix to guide project implementation. When you begin to review or develop a new logframe matrix, it is a good idea first to develop a visual overview of the project’s objective hierarchy

Such a visual overview makes it easier to understand how the different parts of the project fit together. When working with a group of stakeholders to develop the project objective hierarchy and matrix, visualise the objective hierarchy on a large wall by using separate cards for each element. The cards can then be moved around as people discuss the best way to structure the project.

In summary, they are:

  • The whole matrix is not detailed and specific enough to provide an adequate overview of the project.
  • There are no activities specified.
  • Inputs are shown for the whole project rather than being specified for particular activities.
  • The outputs are really project components and hence are at too high a level and are too general to be considered outputs.
  • Targets are only partially developed.
  • The risks and assumptions are overly simplified.

Visual overview of the original project objective hierarchy Improve the livelihood of 35,000 families Goal Purpose Outputs (Components) Inputs Small farms enabled to intensify and diversify crop production Agricultural Development Community Development Landless families increase livestock, fish and incomegenerating activities as well as homestead gardening Rural Credit Community

Infrastructure Project coordinator, PMU, research, extension, training, transport, construction, etc. Target Community development 13 Agricultural development 18 16 15 17 14 Increase in landless families’ livestock, fish and income-generating activities as well as homestead gardening Surveys and monitoring of target families and control families Surveys and monitoring of target farmers’ group members and control farmers Monitoring Baseline and evaluation surveys Monitoring 4. Specific government departments support project activities.

No activities are specified and the outputs are, in reality, project components. Inputs are given for the entire project and not for specific activities. Structure the matrix as in the revised example, with a purpose for each component and each component having outputs and each output having activities.

Generality and the fragmented nature of the matrix content The matrix provides only a very general overview of the project. In this form, the matrix provides insufficient detail to be a useful guide for project implementation. It is also not clear what is to be achieved under each of the components (outputs). More detail needs to be included by using a purpose for each component, and outputs and activities for each purpose. This will make the matrix longer. However, a summary of the project in terms of the goal and purpose levels can be used on its own.

Contents of the second column of the matrix – targets The targets do not adequately cover the different aspects of the project. They focus too much on quantitative outputs and inputs and not enough on outcomes and qualitative information. The targets do not fully cover the scope of the project for each component, so it is difficult to understand the project fully. Use key performance questions and key target indicators as shown in the reworked example. Comparing the reworked matrix to the original version, you can see how having outputs for each component purpose makes it much clearer what interventions the project intends to make.

Contents of the third column – monitoring/ means of verification The monitoring mechanisms are very general and so provide little guidance for setting up the M&E system. Include more about the information-collection methods. Additional information about M&E needs to be developed in a separate M&E matrix (see Annex D).

Contents of the fourth column – ssumptions/ risks At the goal and purpose levels, assumptions are used. At the output level, risks are used. There is no rationale for this, as “assumptions” can be used at all levels. A risk is an assumption that may not hold true. For example, there is a risk that the assumption about having a market for increased horticultural production may turn out to be incorrect. The revised matrix example includes only risky assumptions, and not killer assumptions or highly likely assumptions.

Gender and other equity differences. There is no indication from the matrix that gender and other equity differences have been specifically onsidered. Ensure that, where necessary, there are specific outputs or activities that address equity issues. Include targets/indicators related to equity, for example, female-headed households benefiting equally from the project. Ensure that information is disaggregated according to gender and equity differences.

Generality of the goal The goal “Improving livelihoods” is an extremely broad goal. Yet the project does not intend to directly tackle, for example, the health and education aspects of improving livelihoods. So the project implicitly has a narrower focus than the full livelihood goal. Try to make the goal more specific and more representative of the different purposes. It may be necessary to give a more detailed explanation of the scope of the project’s contribution in accompanying documentation.

Targets for the goal level Increased income is a poor indicator of the overall project goal. Income itself does not necessarily contribute to improved livelihoods. It depends how the increased income is used and how household expenses and work patterns have changed. See the performance questions and target indicators for the goal in the reworked example (see Annex C).

B-8 Explanation Assumptions for the goal evel The assumptions are so general that they would apply to virtually any project anywhere in the world. So they are not very useful for guiding thinking about the long-term sustainability of the project. The assumptions should indicate what to look for to see if the project is likely to be sustainable in the longer term. The reworked matrix gives a set of more specific assumptions for the goal.

Purpose level In the original example, there is little difference between the two purposes or between them and the agricultural development output. There are different ways to structure a logframe atrix. However, for IFAD-supported projects, it is suggested that a separate purpose for each component be used. It is also important to think carefully about whether a project is primarily to achieve a physical change, such as increased agricultural production, or whether it is to focus on institutional and community capacity and the process of development. A good project will achieve both. However, it is important to ensure that capacitybuilding and institutional development processes are made explicit in the logframe matrix.

 The purpose-level targets are essentially targets for pecific aspects of agricultural development. They do not address the issue of increased capacity for selfreliant agricultural, economic and social development. At the goal and purpose levels, it is important to ask broader questions about institutional change and how achieving specific production targets are actually contributing to improved livelihoods. See the performance questions for the goal and purpose levels in the reworked example.

As mentioned above, what are called outputs in the original example are really the project components. If you look at the outputs as given, it is very difficult to et an overview of what the project aims to achieve. The outputs are written only as a title/heading and not as a result or objective. Outputs should refer to a relatively specific achievement of the project. They should also be used to give a clear picture of the scope of each of the project components/purposes.

Agricultural development output. It is not clear what will be achieved under this component. The targets are unclear. The reworked example shows clear outputs for the project under this purpose.  Agricultural development targets “New crops adopted by 30,000 farmers” is a poor indicator. Taken literally it gives no information about what crops have been adopted, to what extent or how successfully. It is necessary to make clear that information must be collected about what particular crops have been adopted and to what extent.

Agricultural development assumptions. The risks relate to achieving the component (output) and not to the contribution of the component to the purpose and goal. “Department of agriculture is unable to deliver technology” is an assumption relating to the achievement of the component. “Technology is not available” is potentially a “killer assumption”.

In general, assumptions should relate to how an ctivity contributes to an output and how an output contributes to a purpose and so forth. For example, in this project, it is being assumed that extra production will, at least in part, be sold to increase household financial resources. The contribution of the increased agricultural production is based on an assumption about sufficient market demand and prices for the production. Clearly identifying assumptions is often a difficult part of the project planning process. Either the project should be changed to ensure that technology is available as a result of project efforts or the purpose and goal need adjusting to be less ambitious.

Community development output It is not just the community where capacity development is required. For the project to be successful, the department of agriculture and private sector also need to build their capacity. This output becomes an institutional development component at the purpose level of the matrix.

Community development targets. Most of the targets provided are activity or low-level output targets and do not answer the “so what” question. Make sure there are performance questions that will provide information about, for example, how successful farmers’ groups are in supporting their embers to adopt new farming practices.

Community development targets “NGO and PMU monitoring” says nothing about what methods or even the general approach that will be used. The MOVs given are so simplified that they provide virtually no information to guide M&E. Try to be as specific as possible about what monitoring mechanisms and sources of information will be used.  Rural credit targets These targets are all input targets and will not provide information about the outcomes or impact of the rural credit scheme. Establish performance questions and indicators that ill provide information about repayment and for what the credit is being used.

Inputs should relate to activities and not the whole project. The original example does not have an activity level. The use of the second and third columns in the matrix change at the activity level. The second column is used for inputs and the third column for budget information. Monitoring activities is necessary, but it is easy to track what activities have been completed through basic project records. Consequently it is not necessary to provide details about indicators and monitoring mechanisms at the activity level.

To be a useful guide for project implementation, such detail is necessary. For large projects, each purpose (component) could be considered a separate sub-project with its own logframe matrix. To provide a brief overview of the project, you can use only the goal and purpose levels as illustrated in the reworked example. Where to locate outputs and activities. Sometimes it is not always clear where an output or set of activities best belongs. In the reworked example, the output “irrigation and drainage scheme expanded and maintained” has a logical home with either the agricultural production or the infrastructure purpose.

Just choose one and develop the logic based on that choice. When dealing with activities like training, it is best to put training that relates to a specific output under that output. For example, training of farmers in post-harvest management should go under that output, not a general output related to training. If an activity relates to several outputs, then it is usually best to split it up into several specific activities. 6. Performance questions and target indicators.

You will notice in the reworked example that the second column has both performance questions and target indicators. The performance questions look broadly at what the project should be achieving and are particularly useful where this cannot be monitored using simple quantitative indicators. These questions are especially important at the purpose and goal level where it is often more difficult to have simple quantitative indicators. Diverse qualitative and quantitative information will often have to be gathered and analysed to answer these questions.

The target indicators help specify precisely what the project should achieve. Aggregation of outputs. What the project achieves at a purpose level is an aggregation of all the outputs that lie under that particular purpose. However, it will not always be possible to have sensible aggregate indicators. For example, at the purpose level for agricultural production there is no single indicator that can give a complete summary of increased agricultural production. Instead, it is necessary to talk about the increased area and yields of specific crops. This means that purpose-level indicators may be a compilation of the separate contributions (indicators) for each of the outputs.

Indicative targets. Increasingly, projects are implemented using a process approach that provides the opportunity for the outputs and activities to be determined with primary stakeholders during implementation. In the first draft of the logframe matrix it will then be necessary to use indicative outputs, activities and indicators. Monitoring mechanisms will often be the same for different purposes and outputs. For example, a household survey may provide information for many different indicators and performance questions.

Assumptions should not be only about external conditions but also about the internal logic of the project strategy. For example, when increasing agricultural production to increase income, the assumption is that there is a market for the produce. Remember that if an assumption is highly risky, then the project design should be adjusted to lower the risk. Gender and other equity differences. It is important to check that gender and other equity differences have been adequately addressed in both the design and the monitoring and evaluation of the project.

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A Guide for Project M&E Managing for Impact in Rural Development Annex. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/logical-framework-approach/