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CDCS to Project Linkages

CDCSs define what development results are to be achieved and explain why these results will have a strategic importance. Project Design identifies how best to achieve those results and what tools to use. More specifically, IRs included in a CDCS Results Framework will often transition into projects as the project's Purpose. The goal in Projects where Purpose aligns with a CDCS IR will automatically be the DO to which that IR contributes.

USAID views projects as vehicles for operationalizing conceptual approaches for achieving the results identified in a CDCS; establishing a linked and rational basis for selecting project implementing mechanisms and partners; and monitoring and evaluating progress toward the IRs, DOs and Goal of a CDCS. Rather than emerging from separate assessments of problems in sectors, USAID project designs review and confirm or modify problem analyses carried out when a CDCS was prepared. For the same reasons, USAID projects derive their Purpose and Goal, along with the performance indicators that measure them, from the CDCS they support, as illustrated below.

The illustration above graphically captures USAID’s intent in ADS 201, by showing the relationship between a DO and associated IRs in a CDCS to Results Framework to the Goal and Purpose of a USAID project in a Logical Framework. The figure depicts three tools, each of which are the focus of this kit:

  • A Results Framework (RF) is a graphic model of the causal logic and strategy in a CDCS. Guidance on Constructing a Results Framework is provided in the CDCS section of the kit as is an Illustrative Hierarchy of Trade Results in an RF format. Two templates for creating RFs are included: RF Version 1 (without Sub-IRs) and RF Version 2 (with Sub-IRs).
  • An Objective Tree is a basic “if/then” logic modeling tool. It underlies a Results Framework and can be used to expand the causal model from an IR downwards to identify how, or by what means, the IR will be achieved.
  • The Logical Framework (LF or Logframe), a USAID tool for summarizing the causal logic, assumptions and performance measurement aspects of a project design, which has a long history in the Agency and the development community more broadly, has been recently reintroduced to strengthen project design. Templates for preparing a Logical Framework are included in this section of the kit.

Alternative Logic Models

A Logical Framework is an example of a class of tools called “logic models”, as is a Results Framework diagram. USAID’s familiarity with the Logical Framework is extensive, as this tool was developed for and introduced in the Agency in 1969-70 as an annex to a study of why evaluations USAID conducted at that time did not seem to be providing them with useful information. Today, ADS calls for the inclusion of a logic model as a mandatory PAD annex. USAID’s guidance explains that its requirement indicates that USAID is flexible about what type of logic model a PAD design team selects, as long as the basic rules of all logic models about displaying the intended results of interventions and a team’s hypotheses about cause and effect relationships between a project purpose and outputs and inputs that are directed towards its achievement. To learn about logic models, one helpful Logic Model resource is a webpage produced by the University of Wisconsin-Extension which provides helpful guidance materials about the logic model variation most commonly used in domestic U.S. agency programs.