Language:  English  Français  Español 

Outcome Mapping Practitioner Guide

A team’s revelation in understanding the difference between outputs and outcomes

Small, grassroots teams can easily grasp the concepts and steps of OM, particularly through an understanding of outcomes as behavioural changes and the writing of Outcome Challenges, and when training and capacity building is done in a participatory and creative way.

Author: Jeph Mathias

Published: Tuesday 23 September 2014

The MGVS team is a small, grassroots multidisciplinary development initiative; development theory, and programme design, were fairly new concepts for them; however, they were keen to learn theory within a practical framework. Outcome Mapping provided this framework for them to understand development results – particularly outputs and outcomes and the difference between the two – and then to apply their learning using Outcome Challenges. Up until the point where I did an evaluation of the NGO, they had been exclusively focused on outputs, rather than outcomes, even though the project logframe stated, in the case of a women’s savings and credit project, “empowered women making their own decisions”. However, the project support, and indeed the project monitoring, stopped at the amount of rupees. There was nothing defined for supporting women in longer term, more sustainable changes: further financial education, investment of money, decision-making regarding the use of money. Outcome Mapping lent itself in a training and Intentional Design workshop to first of all explain the difference between outputs, outcomes and impact, and the need to move beyond outputs (a bank book with Rs 100 000 balance), to see deep changes in behaviours (outcomes), and not only of the women (i.e. running a cooperative, accounting, believing in themselves, not deferring to men, demanding rights from local council) but of other key players as well (for example, men and their attitudes towards their wives and daughters and sisters, supporting their businesses, etc.).

This grassroots team, which were able to not only grasp the theory behind Outcome Mapping, but write Outcome Challenge statements that reflected that, now feels like they have a new, more coherent initiative which support deeper social transformation. Instead of only engaging in activities related to, for example, a bank deposit, they now see other opportunities and strategies to further women’s belief in themselves (one example: taking a business woman from Dehradun to meet the savings and credit group and talk to them about her experience). The Intentional Design, and especially the Outcome Challenges, helps the team to think logically and creatively through what they do day-to-day and why.

Finally, I had an advantage in training and coaching the team because I spent considerable time with them (first during an evaluation, then team building and training of OM, as well as project visits), so we established trust. I also employed good facilitation and capacity building techniques – we used games, role plays, group work, a Bollywood movie, problem solving, and lots of volleyball with a balloon! We made OM lots of fun!


This nugget was applied in: Mussoorie Gram Vikas Samiti (MGVS), is a small team doing a multidisciplinary development initiative in villages in a remote valley of the Indian Himalayas

Related Practitioner Guide sections:

Associated resources:

Latin America & Carribean Sub-Saharan Africa North Africa & Middle East South Asia South East Asia & Pacific Far-East Asia Eastern Europe & CIS (ex USSR) Western Europe North America & Canada Australasia