Let's take another example to see how causative linkages transform inputs into
outputs and results. Imagine we want to improve the income of farmers in a developing
country. That is our policy objective. The benefit we want, and expect to achieve,
is to increase farmer income by $x,xxx per year.
How can we achieve this policy objective? As conscientious analysts we should
look at a number of options and decide on an approach that meets our preliminary
feasibility criteria. In this case, let's assume we've decided that increasing
rice production by 50% appears to be the most promising alternative? This becomes
our strategic objective. We now need to think "operationally".
Again, we drop one level in the hierarchy and ask ourselves: How are we going
to obtain our strategic objective of increasing rice production? The answer will
give us our project objective.
As conscientious planners we want to have a realistic, achievable project objective.
This requires us to weigh various options before tentatively deciding on our
project objective. For example, we might try to introduce new farming practices
or we might try to bring additional land into production. In this case, let's
say that after a rigorous preparation/analysis/feasibility process we decide
that the introduction of a variety of new farming practices seems to offer the
best solution. So we select that alternative as our project objective and add
new farming practices to the hierarchy. That gives us the answer to how we will
achieve the next higher-level objective of increasing rice production.
But how will we introduce the new farming practices? This will obviously take
some thought, so again we consider our options and decide on an approach. How
will we get farmers to decide to use new seeds and cultivation techniques? How
will we introduce the new seed and other practices? We will give loans to
buy the seeds and conduct extension programs. Eventually, we get to the lowest
level in the hierarchy where we are dealing with basic inputs, i.e. our input
objectives. For the rice project, these are people, money, seeds, fertilizer,
pesticides, and knowledge.
In our illustration, we started at the very top and worked our way down. This
is the logical approach but we could have started anywhere. For example, we could
have started with the project objective and worked our way up by repeatedly asking
ourselves "Why?" to given us the strategic and policy objectives. Then
we could have worked our way down by asking "How?" until we reach the
basic inputs at the bottom.
The order in which the hierarchy is traversed is not really so important, although
many will find it easier to start at the top and work down. Most important is
that the Why-How framework is carefully considered to ensure that the logic is