Updated: Jun 3
'We don't think in boxes!'
This is how some project staff I have interacted with over the years refer to the logical framework. Some persons (especially at the implementing partner level) find the hierarchy of the logical framework rigid and confusing. That is, understanding how the 'boxes' relate and feed into each other. For them, they miss the 'logic' part in the framework. Not surprisingly, issues arise when they have to implement the project and report on the results.
I find the following an engaging way to explain the logical framework. A good approach is to gather all the stakeholders who are part of the programme design or implementation together in a workshop.
Step 1: A presentation is given on the elements of the logical framework as well as explaining the different level of change. That is, the highest level of change takes place at the impact/goal level.
You can find useful videos to aid in the presentation here. The presentation will help persons to have a common understanding of inputs, outputs, outcomes and impact and the levels of change. You might have to do a ‘hands on’ activity or a quiz to reinforce the learning (explore the ‘resources’ section of this website for inspiration).
Step 2: After the presentation, the workshop participants can brainstorm the possible impact and outcomes for the intervention (if not already known in an existing logical framework). All the outcomes for the intervention/programme are then visually represented on the wall. The brainstorming exercise can be done in a plenary session.
Examples of the outcome (represented as '1.2'in the above image)
Step 3: Once the outcomes are known, the outputs are then identified and placed under the respective outcome on the wall. Ideally, a colour code system should be devised. For example, ‘Outcome 1 and all the outputs under this outcome’ may all be written on a yellow Post It paper, while ‘Outcome 2 and its outputs’ are written on a Post It paper of a different colour.
This process is continued for Outcome 3 etc., and there can be a variation in the colour code system of course. For example, depending on the size and complexity of your intervention, Output 1.2 may be given a different colour that Output 1.2.2.
I suggest the use of Post It paper as they can be moved around on the wall under the respective outcomes. The facilitator can explain the hierarchy of how each output lead into an outcome.
This is how the completed logical framework looks on the wall
This allows the stakeholders to have a visualisation of the logical framework. This process could then be continued to filled in the other aspects of the logical framework. For example, writing the corresponding indicators on the wall.
The visualisation process is applicable to new interventions that are being designed and also for existing projects with a logical framework that persons need assistance to fully understand.