Project approach, the Commission way
A project is a series of activities aimed at bringing about clearly specified objectives within a defined time period and with a defined budget.
A project should have:
- Clearly identified stakeholders, including the primary target group and the final beneficiaries
- Clearly defined coordination, management and financing arrangements
- A monitoring and evaluation system to support performance management
- An appropriate level of financial and economic analysis, which indicates that the project’s benefits will exceed its costs
Project Cycle Management (PCM) is a term used to describe the management activities and decision-making procedures used during the life cycle of a project (including key tasks, roles and responsibilities, key documents and decision options).
PCM helps to ensure that projects are supportive of the overarching policy objectives of the European Commission and of development partners; are relevant to an agreed strategy and to the real problems of target groups/beneficiaries; are feasible, meaning that objectives can be realistically achieved within the constraints of the operating environment and capabilities of the implementing agencies; and generate sustainable benefits.
The Commission’s project cycle has five main phases, as shown in the figure below:
The Logical Framework Approach
The Logical Framework Approach (LFA) is an analytical and management tool which is used, in one form or another, by most multilateral and bilateral aid agencies, international NGOs and by many partner governments. It is a core tool used within Project Cycle Management.
The LFA should be thought of as an 'aid to thinking' which allows information to be analysed and organised in a structured way.
The Logical Framework Matrix
The Logical Framework Matrix (the Logframe) consists of a matrix with four columns and four (or more) rows, which summarise the key elements of a project plan, namely:
- The project's hierarchy of objectives (Project Description and expected Outputs)
- The key external factors critical to the project's success (Assumptions)
- How the project's achievements will be monitored and evaluated (Indicators and Sources of Verification)
The general structure of the Logframe matrix and a brief description of the type of information it should contain is shown in the table below: