The Planning cycle and methodology in NGOs

The planning cycle for the NGO sector is similar to that of the private sector in terms of principle and the timing. October-November was the season to prepare strategy and budgets for our 2017 programs at Clinton Health Access Initiative. We started with setting the goals for the subsequent year and then designed a strategy to support achievement of the same, followed by preparation of  budgets to estimate the cost of executing the strategy.  Whereas, in private sector we spend to make the highest possible return for the shareholder, in NGOs, they spend to give the highest value for the funds provided by the donors. The latter is referred to as impact and is the basis for securing more donor funds.

I have learnt a methodology called Logical Framework Approach (LFA) which is a general approach to project or programme planning, monitoring and evaluation. It is a systematic, visual approach to designing, executing and assessing projects which encourages users to consider the relationships between available resources, planned activities, and desired changes or results. At of LFA’s core is a theory of change management which presents the logical flow of causal outcomes between achievement of a project/programme’s activity targets, and the delivery of intended results. Log frames, therefore, enable planners to establish a hierarchy of objective or result statements, also referred to as development pathway, which articulate their best understanding of how change can be achieved.

The cancer program in Nigeria was celebrating the first anniversary and we had to take stock of our achievements as we were also outlining the priorities for 2017. One of the key focus activities in 2017 will be improving the HR for health in the teaching institutions. As a pilot, two hospitals have been selected and I have tried to apply my knowledge in creating a log frame to illustrate the LFA concept.


Project summary Indicators Means of verification Risks/assumptions
Goal Reduce cancer mortality in selected Teaching and referral hospitals The mortality incidence ratio in the selected hospitals Data from the respective hospital cancer registry Cancer patients presenting early for treatment which is dependent on awareness and early diagnosis by primary care physicians, among other factors.
Outcome Increase HR capacity of treatment centres Motivation and skills of the key oncology department employees Increase in number of patients treated and improvement in the skills of the target staff Availability of funds to finance the program, equipment, drugs and other resources required for the optimal functioning of a cancer treatment.
Output Partnership program between 2 Nigerian hospitals and treatment centres in the US. Concept note done through consultation with all stakeholders and then a MOU defining roles and responsibilities of all partners. A survey of the satisfaction of the stakeholders Commitment and enthusiasm of all the stakeholders in supporting the program
Activities Mentorship and training of the oncology staff in the 2 hospitals Work plan highlighting both short term and long term activities of the program. Scheduled activities of work plan and if they were delivered within schedule and achieving other set KPIs Commitment of the mentors, mentees and the trainers.


Ideally it’s an intense group activity and the following questions must be answered to the satisfaction of the donors and all stakeholders.

  • If activities are implemented, will outputs be produced?
  • If outputs are produced, will outcomes result?
  • If outcomes result, will the objectives be achieved?
  • Will the objectives achieved, contribute to the larger goal?

I hope to participate in more such activities in the future and as you read this blog you can give feedback on the log frame above. If you were a donor, would you donate funds for this activity in our program?

One comment

  1. Great learnings, Stephen. Glad to see you flex your “project management muscle” and extract learnings while working to help CHAI’s causes!

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