November 17, 2008


1.          Hierarchy of Objectives


          GOAL =

     Reasons for the project

     Broader “why” and rational for having the project

     A project may only have one goal

     The goal is affected by other projects e.g. “maintaining life” involves not only satisfying thirst, but sufficient food etc.

     This project may not achieve the goal in it’s lifetime.


     Example: (water project handout) maintain life.



     What the project hopes to achieve by the time it is finished

     What change has occurred as a result of this project

    A project may only have one purpose.


     Example: Increase the availability of drinking water in order to satisfy thirst.



     What this project will leave behind when it is finished

     Concrete, practical things left in place by the time the project is finished

     Sometimes referred to as “deliverables”

     Can be used as milestones of what has been accomplished at various stages during the life of the project.


     Example: 12 wells operational; 560 water containers supplied.


     How the project will achieve it’s outputs

     What the project will actually do during it’s life time


     Example: Dig wells, train people to maintain wells, train people to procure water containers, public awareness campaign of well sites.



        Cause & Effect linkages


     There are cause and effect linkages between the goal, purpose, outputs and activities i.e. if these activities are carried out then these outputs will be left in place then this purpose will be achieved which contributes towards this goal.

     Purpose, outputs and activities relate to THIS project

     Goal relate to other projects, or to a greater program. If the purpose is achieved that does not necessarily mean we will achieve the goal, because other projects are involved in achieving that wider goal e.g. maintaining life.



2.     Risks and Assumptions


                      Conditions which affect the project, but over which the project management has little control.

     Examples: climate, politics, market prices, labour market etc.

     The project management makes assumptions about the potential risks e.g.  “we will have wells operational by the end of the project [output] assuming suitable sites for the well can be found”. 

     The risks and assumptions relate to the goal, purpose, outputs and activities.

     The risk and assumptions link activities to outputs, and outputs to purpose, and purpose to goal.

     Acknowledging the risks involved allows us to make contingency plans.

     “killer assumption” – a risk that has a high likelihood of occurring, and stops the project in it’s tracks. When a killer assumption is identifies during the planning process, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rethink the project.

3.        Objective verifiable Indicators (OVI’s)


     These are the targets that we are aiming for  in quantitative terms

     An easy way to understand OVI’s is to break them down into their 2 component parts:






                                        “indicator”                             “target”

                      what we are measuring                     how much/target in numbers

                      e.g. number of wells                         e.g. 24

                      e.g. number of people              e.g. 80% of population


      OVI’s should be SMART

      Example: 24 wells dug with pumps installed, in 6 villages by 1st July 2001.

      The goal, purpose and outputs all have their own OVI’s

     The OVI box next to “activities” in the LFA grid is usually reserved for writing in the costs and resources that will be used to implement the activities.

     OVI’s form an important part of monitoring & evaluation



4.     Means of Verification (MoV)


     The MoV’s are the methods that will be used to measure the OVI’s.

     Examples: government statistics, engineers reports, accounts records.



A few words of caution


The LFA does not replace participatory work with communities. It is simply a way of describing a project, once all the discussions and planning have taken place. But LFA can also help with planning because it encourages us to think through important aspects of the project e.g. how exactly are we going to get 4 schools built?


The LFA is not set in stone. It is a management tool to help us think through all the components of a project to ensure no key issues has been over looked. If, during the course of implanting the project, circumstances change, then look at why plans did not turn out as planned. What went wrong? Were the assumptions not realistic? Change the plans accordingly, and be sure the changes can be justified (and are not just to cover up poor management!), especially to the donors if they have given you money on the basis of a LFA.


Don’t try to make a project fit into a LFA.

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