Outcome Mapping is a participatory monitoring and evaluation methodology that seeks to understand the ways in which people, groups and organisations demonstrate change in behaviour as an effect of a programme. Outcome Mapping is based on the idea of actor-centred development, whereby progress towards desired outcomes can only be achieved when the actors involved in an intervention change their ways of working.
Whether focused on single actors or groups of actors, Outcome Mapping recognises their intended behavioural change – including relationships, activities and actions – as the core of understanding or ‘mapping’ the change process. To foster this change, Outcome Mapping facilitates learning opportunities among the actors, implementing partners and other organisations involved in the process.
Outcome Mapping focuses on the direct partners of a programme, called boundary partners, who are chosen because the programme sees them as key actors in bringing about the change and – as much as possible – has agreements with these actors to support them in the change process. In order to monitor the changes demonstrated by boundary partners along the way, the Outcome Mapping methodology uses progress markers, i.e. a graduated set of statements describing a progression of changed behaviour towards the most ambitious outcomes envisioned in the strategy. One way of mapping these changes is through a ladder from the initial reaction to activities of the programme (what the programme expects to see), towards initiatives and ownership (what the programme likes to see), ideally leading to deep change (what the programme loves to see). Preferably, progress markers should be defined jointly with the boundary partners, leading to a rich and broadly-shared narrative about the change process.
Highly valuing the actor-based approach of Outcome Mapping, MDF actively uses this method in developing strategic frameworks, designing monitoring systems and shaping evaluations. For the latter, depending on the demands and the context, MDF uses Outcome Mapping flexibly and in complementarity with Outcome Harvesting.
In close consultation with the client and tailoring the participatory approach to the latter’s needs, MDF operates as follows:
Below, a visual captured by MDF illustrates behaviour change by the government regarding land issues for the Independent Mid-Term Review of the Strategic Framework 2011-2015 of the International Land Coalition and Management Response