Outcome Harvesting in a nutshell

including links to its sources

Outcome Harvesting is the new booming methodology to use in development aid in order to find systematically tell the tale of your organisation's achievements (or better yet: your organisation's contributions) to the changes in the world (hopefully for the better).

In development aid, you can slowly see a change in perspective in being accountable for your actions. Whereas organisations started with telling about their activities in their reporting, then changing perspective towards telling about outputs: nr's of publications produced, nr of people trained, nr of certificates handed over to new so-called policemen (or perhaps even occasionally some policewomen). Civil Society Organisations more and more report about the outcomes they contributed to (a government has taken a supported organisations perspective into consideration, a company has changed policy regarding certain human rights violations), or even the impact they have made on a changing society. How can they make these statements? Well, outcome harvesting is one of the methods which organisations can use to be able to see a trend in the changes they have influenced. 

These two sentences describe the method very well: 

"Outcome Harvesting collects (“harvests”) evidence of what has changed (“outcomes”) and, then, working backwards, determines whether and how an intervention has contributed to these changes.

Outcome Harvesting has proven to be especially useful in complex situations when it is not possible to define concretely most of what an intervention aims to achieve, or even, what specific actions will be taken over a multi-year period." (betterevaluation.org).

Ricardo Wilson Grau and Heather Britt published a briefing paper (in May 2012) explaining the approach and its six steps. This briefing paper is the basis for using this method. 

Partly because it is a quite timeconsuming method, it is mainly used for evaluations. However, more and more organisations now also pilot with using the method as a monitoring-tool. GPPAC published a very good article about this: "A Developmental Evaluation Inquiry Framework Supporting the Development of an International Social Change Network"

Tuesday 19 December 2017 - 2:54 pm | | All, Monitoring and evaluation