LogFrame versus Information Management System; what are they and how are they related to ActivityInfo?

Building an Information Management System
Building an Information Management System

In this blog post we examine what a Logical Framework (LogFrame) is, what an Information System is and what is the role of ActivityInfo in relation to these two.

The Logical Framework

The Logical Framework (LogFrame), a central part of a humanitarian or a development program, is the tool that allows several actors within a program to collaborate based on a common reference. Project Managers, Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and Donors use the LogFrame as a common reference for the progress of the program.

A LogFrame covers:

By looking at the vertical axis of a Logical Framework, one should be able to understand the cause and effect relationships of:

At the same time, by looking at the horizontal axis of the LogFrame, one should be able to have a clear view of:

Image of a LogFrame
The Logical Framework

The LogFrame is a very useful framework to work with as long as:

In addition, having many indicators for each Specific Objective is not advisable as this can make the M&E process at a later stage harder. Also it is important to remember that although the Indicators are defined during the programming stage, they can and most of the times should be altered during the implementation phase as during this phase it becomes clearer what works and what doesn't. Last but not least, high level indicators should be as carefully defined as low level indicators taking into consideration the relevance, accessibility and reliability of the external sources of information that will be used. All in all, the LogFrame is a very flexible tool. In order for it to be efficient and reflect the real progress of the program, it has to be iterative and based on real-time numbers.

The Information Management System

The Information Management System is the system where all the information related to the LogFrame takes form. It is the system that allows you to operationalize the plan with which the LogFrame numbers will be gathered, monitored, evaluated and reported. Although it is separate from the LogFrame, it is what supports the LogFrame.

More specifically, an Information Management System may begin with your Monitoring and Evaluation Plan or with your Measurement Plan. It includes every action or plan with which you define how, when (or how often), where and by whom:

Ultimately, following this process, the data will produce the numbers needed for the LogFrame.

Where does ActivityInfo fit into this?

ActivityInfo is a tool for building an Information System and can be used by Program Managers, M&E officers, Information Management Officers or anybody else responsible either for the LogFrame Goal or for the lower level indicators.

It is not a tool to help you design or write a LogFrame but it has been created to support the LogFrame and help you operationalise it.

It can also be an alternative - quicker and more cost-effective - solution comparing to building your own information system or hiring someone to build a system for you.

More specifically, ActivityInfo allows you to:

By using the software to collect and store data you can have an overview of the data collected in real-time and take informed decisions on any needed changes for your LogFrame.

Also you can take a better look at the details of specific cases and analyse the data needed to get to the higher level indicators you need.

Finally, you can have confidence in the data you report to other partners or to donors since your reports are based on what has been collected in a centralized system under your control.

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