Frequently Asked Questions about MfLDR

Frequently Asked Questions about MfLDR and RBM

What is MfLDR (Managing for Language Development Results)?

Managing for Language Development Results (MfLDR) uses a results based management (RBM) philosophy and methodology specifically adapted for planning and managing language development programs/ projects. With MfLDR the community (beneficiaries of the program/ project) and other key stakeholders participate in the process of identifying, planning and implementing programs/ projects.

The MfLDR planning method uses an appreciative approach for identifying the program’s desired long-term Impact and Outcomes. The planning process continues to identifying a series of short-term results (Outputs) and the actions and resources needed to produce them.

The process for monitoring progress toward the desired/ planned results is one of the important components of MfLDR. Indicators are identified for and used to measure each result (Impact, each Outcome, and each Output) during program implementation. The information collected is used in making decisions about the plan and the implementation. Changes are made in either or both whenever the program is not progressing toward the desired results.

The management of risks is another important component of MfLDR. Potential risks to the program are identified and evaluated during the planning phase. A plan for monitoring them during program implementation is developed so that timely mitigating action can be taken if a risk becomes sufficient to endanger program success.

In addition to planning for results, MfLDR includes methodologies and tools for developing operational plans; detailed work plans and schedules, budgets and reporting.

At present, many international development agencies and NGOs are using the term results based management (RBM) for a variety of practices. Consequently we decided to adopt the term MfLDR (Management for Language Development Results) to help avoid confusion with the other varieties of RBM.

How does MfLDR compare to RBM?

Results Based Management (RBM) is a methodology introduced by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) in 1997 for development programs. Beginning in 2006 SIL began introducing the Canadian model for use in language program management. As the methodology has been applied, some aspects have been adapted to better fit SIL’s philosophy and approach to language development programs. MfLDR incorporates a stronger orientation to the community’s desires and point of view, uses a full participative approach and uses an appreciative approach to program identification and design. MfLDR also includes a complete set of methodologies and tools for planning and managing programs. Most of the terminology and frameworks used in MfLDR are unchanged from those used in SIL’s earlier RBM materials.

At present, many international development agencies and NGOs are using the term results based management (RBM) for a variety of practices. Consequently we decided to adopt the term MfLDR (Management for Language Development Results) to help avoid confusion with the other varieties of RBM.

How does MfLDR compare to Logical Framework Approach (Logframes)?

As pointed out in point 2 above, MfLDR is based on the results based management approach (RBM). RBM was developed in the late 1990’s from the Logical Framework Approach (LFA). After 20+ years using LFA for planning and evaluating development projects several international development agencies recognized that development projects were having limited success in bringing about sustainable development results. They identified several improvements needed in the LFA model. Results Based Management (RBM) resulted from that process and was first used by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1997. RBM emphasizes sustainable development results (changes in people and communities) rather than the strong emphasis on inputs and activities with LFA.

The planning and frameworks (results chain, indicators, risks) used in MfLDR can be traced to the Logical Framework Approach. Programs/ projects developed using MfLDR can easily supply the information requested by donors who still require a Logframe for project funding requests.

Why are we using MfLDR for language development initiatives?

In 2004 SIL leadership asked a group of experience SIL language program personnel to identify a suitable planning model that would:

  • provide a more consistent approIn 2004 SIL leadership asked a group of experience SIL language program personnel to identify a suitable planning model that would ach to language program planning,
  • focus on bringing about sustainable transformational results,
  • provide good accountability, and
  • provide a means to align programs with organizational unit plans,

The group looked at various models and identified results based management as a promising model. Its philosophy and methodology aligns well with those underlying SIL language development programs. At the time SIL was having positive results using the model in a few projects funded by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency.) CIDA had helped develop RBM and introduced it into their sponsored programs beginning in 1997. In 2006 SIL asked a consultant from Canada to conduct a training workshop for language program managers and administrators from several countries. Following the workshop they affirmed this approach for use in language development programs.

During the past six years we have adapted the results based management approach specifically for use with language development programs. Consequently we now are using the term MfLDR (Management for Language Development Results) so as to avoid confusion with the other varieties of results based management that are being used by various organizations. MfLDR permits language development practioners to have a common basis and vocabulary enabling consistent practice and better communications within the organization and with others involved in or interested in language development programs.

Where is a results based management approach being used?

Increasingly results based management is being used within SIL.

If a project is already planned and being implemented, should it be re-planned and changed using MfLDR? 

Components of MfLDR can be incorporated into existing projects at any stage.

What is the response to use of a results based planning and management approach?

Most people who have begun using this approach are very positive. They find that it captures their desire to see real change take place in communities. It helps them think about and plan together with other stakeholders. Another benefit reported by users is the increased commitment and involvement of stakeholders and partners in their projects.

Feedback from practitioners indicates they are finding the results approach to be very helpful; it is a very productive way of thinking about projects and for integrating partners.

Where or when should MfLDR approach not be used?

It is not the methodology to use for planning a project that is for the unique purpose of producing or making a product (for instance, to build a building, to dig water wells, or to make books). However each of these projects could be a component within a larger program planned with MfLDR.

Is MfLDR required by funding agencies?

Major donors are asking that programs and projects be results oriented. Many of them continue to use Logical Framework Analysis. Some are attempting to make LFA be more results oriented but maintain the Logframe as basic tool for project submission and reporting. The program/ project planning and documentation done using MfLDR can fairly easily be transferred into a Logframe format for project submission and meeting donor’s reporting requirements. Additional or re-planning is not required.

Where can I go to learn more about MfLDR? 

For more information click Contact Us and in the category box, choose 'Language Programs Management.'

Are there forms, templates and instructions available to download?

Yes, the Resources tab contains a basic set of MfLDR forms.

Can MfLDR be used for planning at country or organization level?

MfLDR is an excellent planning method at the project and program level, for which it was originally designed. Many organizations and organizational units are using a results based management approach for their organization level planning.

How do language programs written in MfLDR format relate to higher level plans?

Within results based management there is a concept of nesting, whereby the impact of a nested plan at a lower level contributes to an Outcome at a higher level Thus the plan at the country/ organizational level is the higher level and individual language programs are the nested plans.

Can MfLDR be used for programs besides language development?

The key to its application is asking, “What change are we looking for in this group?” If the project can be designed from that starting point, rather than an emphasis on some deliverable or product, then MfLDR can be applied effectively.

How can local communities use MfLDR?

It can be used for planning and managing any endeavor that seeks to bring about change(s) in communities. MfLDR methodology is being used successfully in many different cultural settings around the world.