How does project logic help us find focus in work?
Knowledge of project logic is essential to provide funding for our projects and implement ideas. Therefore, we organized a workshop dedicated to this topic, in which Dr. Višnja Kisić, co-founder and educational advisor within the “Creative Mentorship” and Dr. Goran Tomka, alumni mentees and mentor of our program, lecturers at the UNESCO Chair of Cultural Policy and Arts Management at the University of Belgrade, shared their knowledge in this field. In addition, they discussed with the participants the projects they are working on within the current sixth cycle of the programme.
In this text, we share with you some of the most important tools and approaches to keep in mind when designing and writing projects, as well as while working on them.
How does project logic help us change our focus?
By observing ideas or activities through the prism of project logic, we adopt a new angle from which we consider them:
– From the outside to us
We should abandon putting ourselves, and what we would like to do, into the focus of the project. We should also not put the accent on the micro-local theme. Instead, we should look at the bigger picture. We shift the focus to the outside and to those with whom we are not necessarily in contact. The project should help us build a bridge, with the help of which we will receive funds for its realization. We should always keep in mind what are the problems we are answering?
– From goal and vision to activities
In order to have a clear picture of how to implement the project, we need to start with the question, what is the role of the project in solving the problem? In thinking about the project, we should always project the desired reality. We should not start from the event we would like to organize, and then think about other segments.
– Quantifiability and responsibility
When designing a project, we should always keep in mind how we will prove its outcome, what parameters are measurable and what we will use to express the concrete results. This approach is important to adopt because its implementation proves responsibility, which further leads to trust-building, with partners, stakeholders, and donors.
How to approach project writing?
First, it is important to accept that project writing is an endeavor with many steps that need to be approached with dedication. We need to start from the analysis of the situation, the users and our lived reality; thinking about the context and the problems that are present in the community.
We can use several tools for this:
It represents a combination of fieldwork and research and data collection. Then, we should proceed with mapping key actors, understanding the problem, setting up a strategy, and only then setting up activities and planning resources. We should avoid starting or designing projects just because we found out about the open call for applications. In such situations, we often do not have enough time to really develop the project, and we risk working very intensively and under great stress, in a short period of time.
2. Problem tree
Graphic representation helps us to recognize what led to the problem (the root is the cause, the problem itself is the tree, and the consequences are the canopy). It can also be a problem that some other organizations have dealt with, and we should map the area of our actions – at the intersection of specific causes with our competences and the competencies of our partners. This approach is very similar to the theory of change.
3. Logical matrix
This approach is mainly used for more complex projects and is quite technical. However, it is good to internalize it for smaller projects as well. The matrix presents a table containing the logic of the intervention (long-term goal, project purpose, results and activities), achievement indicators (indicators of achievement of goals and results), sources of verification (data sources containing indicators of achievement), and assumptions (exterior factors not subject to the control of the project team, and are necessary to achieve the results of the project).
Finally, Višnja and Goran shared with the participants the critiques of the project logic, which should be kept in mind while working. Some of them are that project work can lead to precarious work for engaged individuals, that certain changes that occur through the implementation of projects are immeasurable, or bureaucratically challenging processes that project activities require.