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Outcome Mapping and Outcome Harvesting. Adaptive Management for Complex Development Programs

This course focuses on two methods for planning, monitoring and evaluation in dynamic environments where development results can be both planned and unanticipated. Outcome Mapping is a set of tools used for planning, monitoring and evaluating interventions aimed at bringing about social, economic or technological change. The idea is that to succeed, an intervention needs to involve multiple stakeholders. OM connects ‘outputs’ to ‘outcomes’ by focusing on the patterns of action and interaction among stakeholders. Outcome Harvesting is used to identify, formulate, analyse and interpret what was achieved and how, regardless of whether it was pre-defined or not. Conventional M&E can be inappropriate because what is done and what is achieved may vary considerably from the original plan. OH enables people responsible for monitoring and evaluating development work to identify and formulate intended and unintended, positive and negative outcomes, determine how the intervention contributed to them. 

15th June, 2016 to 22nd June, 2016
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Development and social change programs that are responsive to the contexts in which they operate and which seek to empower local stakeholders face a dichotomous challenge.  They balance the need for plans, strategies and performance targets with the reality of uncertainty, dynamic environments and unplanned and emergent conditions and outcomes.  To be effective, interventions that start with specific actions and defined outcomes, must then adapt as they engage with and learn from their partners and other actors and respond to the contextual influences which emerge.  To stay relevant, programmes monitor their interventions, adapting their strategies and outcomes in response to experience in implementation.

The Outcome Mapping module: 

  • Introduces ‘complexity’ as it relates to planning monitoring and evaluating development initiatives;
  • Lays out seven practical steps for clarifying an intervention’s intentions;
  • Engages participants through discussion and break out group exercises in the application of the seven steps of the “Intentional Design” framework.
  • Applies complexity-oriented thinking in assessing the practical value of Outcome Mapping for different contexts and purposes.

The Outcome Harvesting module includes: 

  • Implications of complexity science for monitoring and evaluating development initiatives 
  • Practical exercises applying Outcome Harvesting to a case study written for this course
  • Examples from real-life applications that demonstrate the principles underlying Outcome Harvesting approach 
  • Illustration of how Outcome Harvesting could be applied to a project that used Outcome Mapping as its planning framework.

These two hands-on courses present practical steps, examples and participatory exercises in applying these PM&E tools to strengthen adaptive management for development results. Special attention is given to situations where there is uncertainty about the causal relationships linking inputs, activities and outputs with outcomes and impacts.  Tools and concepts will be examined through discussion, individual reflection, working group applications and feedback sessions. Participants will leave with practical skills in using these complementary approaches to plan, monitor and evaluate their interventions and achievements in order to be accountable and to improve performance. 

Audience and registration

The course is targeted to people who commission, manage or carry out PM&E: Government officials, department heads and programme managers; Policy makers and programme implementers; Development practitioners and activists; NGO and CSO staff; Development graduate students. The fee varies depending on the time of the application (early-bird registration is possible). Partial funding is available. Send in your application at