In our blog today we will venture into the first step of creating a successful M&E system which is identifying the purpose and scope of the M&E system.
This step answers “why do we need M&E and how comprehensive should it be?” It serves as a reference point for the M&E system, guiding key decisions such as informational needs, methodological approaches, capacity building and allocation of resources. Let us start with discussing one of the key steps in this stage; how to review project operation design and M&E Frameworks (The Logframe and Results Framework (RF)).
What is an M&E Framework?
A framework should explain how the programme is supposed to work by laying out the components of the initiative and the order or the steps needed to achieve the desired results. A framework increases understanding of the programme’s goals and objectives, defines the relationships between factors key to implementation, and articulates the internal and external elements that could affect the programme’s success.
In this blog, we will introduce you to the Logframe and Results Framework.
- Logical Framework (Logframe) : The Logframe is a tool for improving the planning, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of projects. The logframe is an expression of the “Results Chain” – the results you expect the project to achieve. The box below provides an example of a Results Chain and how it aligns with the logframe format.
Structure of a log frame : A standard log frame is divided into 4 rows, which are the long and short-term objectives ranging from top to bottom. These are the:
- Impact– represent the overall aim of the project. The Impact is not intended to be achieved solely by the project. This is a higher-level situation that the project will contribute towards achieving.
- Outcome – represent what will be achieved, who will benefit and by when. There can only be one Outcome for the project. The Outcome should identify what will change, and who will benefit.
- Outputs– Outputs are the specific, direct deliverables of the project. These will provide the conditions necessary to achieve the Outcome.
- Activities– are the tasks that need to be done in order for the project objectives to be achieved.
- Inputs – Quantified in terms of funds needed to achieve outputs and staff time.
The above objectives are achieved and measured through:
- Verifiable indicators- states how the project implementers will measure the achievements. Indicators should be specific, usable and clearly measurable.
- Source- defines how you’ll collect the information for the indicators.
- Risks and assumptions– these are the external conditions needed to get the results. Project summary (explaining the objectives).
- Indicator, Baseline and Target (how you’ll measure the achievements).
- Risks and assumptions (external conditions needed to get results).
B.The Result Framework(RF) : A Results Framework is a graphical portrayal of the development hypothesis through which implementers can achieve their goals. Results frameworks sometimes called strategic frameworks illustrate the direct relationships between the intermediate results of activities all the way to the overall objectives and goals. It brings together several often quite distinct, stream of results, which function synergistically to produce broad development changes. In this framework, result levels have distinct labels which are associated with the degree of responsibility for their achievements as well as their relationship to other results on the diagram. See diagram below:
The Results Framework has three main element :
- A statement of the project development objective(PDO).
- A set of indicators to measure outcomes that are linked to the PDO and a set of intermediate results to track progress towards achieving the outcomes.
- M&E arrangements specifying clear units of movement for each indicator, baseline, annual and final targets for each indicator as well as the roles and responsibilities for collecting,reporting and analyzing data on those indicators.
The Results Framework is a strategic planning tool that helps identify the development hypothesis and think through what results lead to other results. The LogFrame underlying a project allows the implementer to define exactly what resources and set of actions are needed to achieve and measure the results. Usually, but not always, the Impact level in a LogFrame corresponds to a Development Objective (DO) in the Results Framework, while the project Outcome in the LogFrame is an Intermediate Result(IR) in the Results Framework. Outputs in a project LogFrame are usually derived from Sub-IRs in the Results Framework.
How therefore do you write a Logframe and Results Framework? We will review this in detail in upcoming blogs. In the next blog however, we will review the Theory of Change as a key step in identifying the purpose and scope of the M&E system.