Outcome mapping is a methodology for planning, monitoring and evaluating development initiatives in order to bring about sustainable social change. As the name suggests, its niche is understanding outcomes; the so-called ‘missing-middle’ or ‘black box’ of results that emerge downstream from the initiative’s activities but upstream from longer-term economic, environmental, political or demographic changes.
At the planning stage, the process of outcome mapping helps a project team or program be specific about the actors it intends to target, the changes it hopes to see and the strategies appropriate to achieve these. For ongoing monitoring, OM provides a set of tools to design and gather information on the results of the change process, measured in terms of the changes in behaviour, actions or relationships that can be influenced by the team or program.
As an evaluation approach, OM unpacks an initiative’s theory of change. It provides a framework to collect data on immediate, basic changes that lead to longer, more transformative change, and allows for the plausible assessment of the initiative’s contribution to results.
OM provides a set of tools that can be used stand-alone or in combination with other planning, monitoring and evaluation systems to:
- Identify individuals, groups or organizations with whom you will work directly to influence behavioural change;
- Plan and monitor behavioural change and the strategies to support those changes;
- Monitor internal practices of the project or program to remain effective;
- Create an evaluation framework to examine more precisely a particular issue.
OM is a robust methodology that can be adapted to a wide range of contexts. It enhances team and program understanding of change processes, improves the efficiency of achieving results and promotes realistic and accountable reporting.
Potential users of OM should be aware that the methodology requires skilled facilitation as well as dedicated budget and time, which could mean support from higher levels within an organization. OM also often requires a “mind shift” of personal and organizational paradigms or theories of social change.
Fagna Consultants has training topics that take all the above into cognisance, thus, making participants well-grounded experts in the aspect of project outcome mapping.