by Jason Nusser, Administrative Coordinator for CCI Greenheart
To properly implement a development project one needs tools. Within the field of community development there are several tools that professionals use on a regular basis. These tools allow one to plan, design, implement, monitor and evaluate projects. One of these important tools is the Logical Framework Approach. This approach has taken on many forms since its creation and professionals have taken it upon themselves to manipulate it in a way that serves there needs the best. The Logical Framework Approach will be a helpful tool for you when applying for a Greenheart Grant either abroad or in your home country. Although this approach cannot be fully explained in this context, there are some important features which should help guide you in your grant-writing endeavors.
In general, this approach requires you to map out your program by identifying Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes and Impact in a matrix. It is also a best practice to list your assumptions as often times it is your assumptions that may impact the success of your project.
For example, if you’re project calls for trainers to educate students about the importance of recycling, you may assume that the trainers have the proper knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully train the students. Perhaps this assumption will not sit well in the minds of your potential donors, but at least you made it clear in the planning and design phase that your assumption was that they would be qualified which will prevent any potential future misunderstanding.
Using the Logical Framework Approach also requires you to develop indicators for your outputs and outcomes. Your indicators, by definition, are measurable characteristics which will allow you to monitor your success throughout the life of the program. For example, if one of your desired outcomes is for beneficiaries to know the difference between organic and non-organic matter, then an outcome indicator would be that 90% of beneficiaries scored 100% on a post-test following training on the topic.
This indicator then implies that you also had beneficiaries complete a pre-test. Therefore, if you consistently see in your monitoring that a low percentage of beneficiaries are not scoring 100% on the post-test, you may decide it will not be possible to achieve your desired impact (the largest benefit of the program) without making changes to the training so that more beneficiaries are meeting the minimum requirement (in this example – 100%). One of the most important things to keep in mind when utilizing this approach is that unless your framework clearly communicates your project, it doesn’t have any value.
The Logical Framework Approach will help you better understand what needs to be done to achieve your desired impact. It will also help you educate your colleagues, donors, and supporters, in general, why or why not you were successful. Keep in mind, a log frame is always accompanied by a narrative description of the project and a budget. Log frame + narrative + budget = getting your Grant off to a good start.
Apply for a Greenheart Grant and give the Logical Framework Approach a try!