Articles and How-to Tutorials for NGOs

Logical framework (Indicators)

Written by Adel Salah


An indicator is a tool used to measure the achievement level of implementing activities, as well as outputs and outcomes. It is written as a question in which the phrase (what is) is deleted for the quantitative indicator and (how is) is deleted for the qualitative indicator.

We prefer quantitative indicators, as they are clearer to the donor and the implementing agencies in terms of proving whether or not they are achieved. The proposal writer must fully realize that every indicator written in the proposal is a question that will be used by the donor at the end of the project implementation and the implementing agency will have to prove the achievement of these indicators by sending reports that contain the numbers (the target number for each indicator). These reports are mentioned in the logical frame under the heading “Means of verification”.

Therefore, the indicator contains 3 main parts that can be explained as a question, answer and a document that contain the answer:

  1. Question: is the indicator after deleting the word (what is) and it should not contain the answer.

  2.  Answer: is the target number that was specified in the proposal and answers the question exactly.

  3. Document contains the answer: these are the “means of verification”; these documents can be reports that contain explanation of the beneficiaries’ numbers or the number of things achieved in the project.

Indicators symbols

In relief projects, all donors prefer to use only quantitative, not qualitative indicators. So the indicators start with the words: ‘number’ or ‘percentage’, which are replaced in writing indicators as follows:

Number #

Percentage % 

Thus, these words are replaced by these symbols as in the following example:

The way to write indicators in the logframe with symbols

Indicator’s uses

Indicators are used to measure activities, outputs, outcome and impact. Indicators’ place in the project logframe varies according to the model used by the donor. It is important to know that indicators are not only used to measure activities, but also all logframe levels.

The writer of the proposal has to know that it is better to put indicators that start with number (#) and not percentage (%), because the provision of means of verification for the percentage (%) indicator will require implementing evaluation activity, which is costly and takes longer, includes field visits, interviews and the filling out of questionnaires with a large number of beneficiaries in order to enter and analyze data to know the answer of the percentage (%).

Unfortunately, most donors ask to add percentage indicators to the logframe, as these indicators help to measure the outcome and impact of the project, as well as the quality of the implementation. If the budget is more than one million dollars, the implementation of final evaluation activity for the project will be necessary, which means adding percentage (%) indicators.

Indicators relationship with the logframe

Writing the indicator

We mentioned that indicators are questions that start with (what is) the number and (what is) the percentage?

However, we delete the question word and leave the rest of the question. In the following table, are more examples to transform question into indicator:

How to turn questions to indicators

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