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Toward A Logic of Meanings
Hamblin, C. Harrah, D. In: Gabbay, D. Outputs may sound like the results of programmatic work, but they actually represent a sign of progress. Outputs describe the process that will help the program achieve its goals. Training the leaders is the process and the number of trained leaders who engage successfully in the community is an indicator of progress towards that goal.
Indicators that measure progress are often called process indicators.
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More information about process indicators can be found in Step 7. Conduct workshops with doctors, midwives, and nurses on the use and importance of life-saving commodities like oxytocin and misoprostol. Determine the ultimate program goals, or outcomes. In other words, what is the program going to change or achieve? It is helpful to split outcomes into short-term, mid-term, and long-term so that it is easier to recognize progress over time. It is unrealistic to expect immediate success changing a particular behavior over a few months, but fast progress can be made when training community leaders or increasing interest in the program among community members.
Long-term outcomes should closely mirror the ultimate solution to the problem described in Step 1. The short-term and mid-term outcomes should follow logically from the resources that were described as inputs Step 2 in addition to the primary audiences and actions described as outputs Step 3. If program inputs and outputs will not result in the desired outcomes, then it may be necessary to rethink the logic behind the program.
However, the program manager might be too involved in the program to see that a step is missing in the program logic. For this reason, it is important to have several other staff members contribute to the development of the logic model. Additionally, defining external or outside factors as described below in Step 6 might help restructure the logic and account for changes in the program design.
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To track the progress of outcomes, there should be a starting point or a baseline e. For example, if the program is trying to decrease maternal mortality, it is important to know what the current maternal mortality rate is for the region or country in which activities will be implemented. After all of the inputs, outputs, and outcomes have been defined, they can be put together to form an outline of the logic model.
The example below shows how this can be arranged. Programs and interventions are always influenced by external or outside factors. When creating a logic model it is important to identify factors that might help or prevent the program from becoming a success. After identifying all of these individual components, the inputs, outputs, and outcomes can be visually organized in a diagram like the one below, shown as an example only. While other guides such as How to Develop Indicators will explain how to develop more detailed program indicators, it is important to start thinking about them now.
Partners in the community and key stakeholders can help design a program, but the program manager is ultimately responsible for its success and for reporting results to the donor. For example, how many training workshops will be held in the next 6 months?
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How many community connections will be made? How many volunteers will be recruited? The goals set for short-, mid- and long-term outcomes will serve as outcome indicators. These indicators will focus more on what the program is trying to achieve rather than how it is being achieved. For example, how many more health providers have used a life-saving maternal health commodity such as misoprostol or oxytocin in the past year?
How many more women are coming to a health facility for prenatal care or childbirth than before the program started? Logic models are a useful visual tool that can help outline the intended activities and results of a program. They clarify program goals and objectives and help stakeholders and program staff see how program inputs will lead to the overall strategic objective. See below for an example of a completed logic model and a blank template that can be printed and put to use.