No Logical Framework Approach here!
The Logical framework approach (LFA) is a management tool mainly used for designing, monitoring, and evaluating international development projects (Wikipedia). In project writing, this approach is useful when the call gives you maximum freedom in choosing project goals and project structure. For example LFA is useful in a call that simply asks you to submit projects for the benefit of a geographical area or of a specific target population, and leaves to you choosing what and how.
In ’70s- ‘90s, it was often mandatory for aid organizations to use the LFA method in their project proposals. Nowadays, LFA it is no more requested in most (all?) European funded programs, such as Erasmus+ (the only exception being the activity Capacity building Higher Education), Europe for Citizens, Creative Europe, Horizon 2020. The reason is in these programs the goals are already well defined in the call and applicants are guided step by step in structuring the project by the many questions of the application form. This way the European Commission compels the applicants to focus on a limited number of specific, desired and predefined goals and can better compare the different applications. In this new context, the results of the LFA can be:
- misleading: the goals identified are outside the scope of the program or the program priorities and/or
- redundant: the structure of the project will have to be described in any case according to the application form and/or
- incomplete: the application form asks to describe features of the project (work packages, dissemination, sustainability, budget, etc.) that have not been defined by the LFA.
Unfortunately, most training programs on European project writing are still focused on teaching LFA and not targeted on developing project goals and filling application forms for specific programs or measures.
Because LFA provides the rushed trainer with a miracle cure for all the ills. If LFA is the only taught tool the trainer has not to get expert on specific programs or measures, but only on LFA. This is good for the trainer, but not so good for the trainee that comes out from the training with a very general know how, very often, in my direct experience, inadequate for writing successful applications.
In my training, even if the project goals, impact and deliverables are developed by using a simplified LFA matrix, I prefer an approach more grounded on the real tasks and information requested for submitting projects on specific programs. The desired learning outcome of my training is not, as in most training on European project writing, filling a Logical framework matrix (the end product of the LFA) but submitting a successful application form on a specific program.
In my training, every trainee learn how to develop a project idea and fill an application form for a specific program/measure he/she chooses.
Want to experience the difference? Ask me a training on European project writing.