Monitoring, reporting and evaluating with LFA

During the design phase, the LFA can be used to:

  • Identify the stakeholders
  • Identify issues and problems, determine how they are related in a problem tree and create a solutions tree
  • Identify/formulate the goals, purpose, outputs and activities of the project
  • Identify/formulate the risks and assumptions
  • Identify/formulate the indicators and verification sources
  • Create a detailed planning
  • Establish the project’s budget

Most of these elements can be found during a workshop (or a number of workshops) with stakeholders/partners/potential beneficiaries.

But apart from the identification and preparation of the project, the LFA can also be used during and after the execution of the project, to :

  • monitor;
  • report;
  • evaluate/review.

Monitoring and reporting

Monitoring basically means that you check whether the execution of the project is on target by verifying whethere the activities are executed as planned. Monitoring allows you to answer the question: are we on our way to achieving the outputs (results) that we want?

During the design phase, the indicators and verification sources were identified and integrated in the logical framework. It is important that this system of indicators and means of verification remains stable throughout the project. If not, it will be impossible to see the evolution in the indicators, and there will  be confusion between partners about what indicators to use.

In the field, specific tools and formats have to be developed to gather information and do the measurements. Generally, standardised forms are used that can be filled out by project staff, often in a participatory exercise with groups of beneficiaries. Sometimes a database is needed to manage the information, or a spreadsheet to make calculations. It is also important to define who does what; who reports to whom; etc.

The results can be presented in the form of the project’s logframe, updating the values of the indicators over time. Often, donors will oblige you to present intermediary and final reports in this way. Some donors then use the logframe to review the project together with the lead-NGO or with the partners.


An evaluation looks at the purpose, outcomes and impact of the project and poses questions like:

  • Was it a good idea to do this project in the first place and does it address the problems of the people (is the project relevant?)
  • Did the project change anything in the long run? What is its impact? What are the positive and the negative impacts?
  • Are the achievements durable/sustainable? Do the positive outcomes persist when the project/assistance is finished? Are the partners or beneficiaries capable of maintaining the working costs and periodic investments costs that come with the new structures/organisations/infrastructures (financial sustainability)? Is ecological sustainability guaranteed?

Evaluations can be done by the partner organisations involved in the project (internal evaluation), or by someone external to the project, like a consultant. Sometimes donors won’t accept the findings of internal evaluations because they may not be objective (the partners may have an interest in pretending the outcome and impact of the project is better than it is in reality).

In order for an evaluator to be able to do his or her work, he/she needs to have access to information produced by the monitoring system over the course of the project. At the very least, the evaluator has to be able to compare the situation of the beneficiaries before any activities took place (the baseline), with the situation at the end.

In principle, the purpose of an evaluation is to learn, and to be able to adapt and guide projects that are still being executed, or to take into account what’s been learned when you design new projects. Evaluations also serve to control whether the project is going to achieve or has achieved its purpose. However, very often evaluations are only used to control and not so much to learn.