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  • Writer's pictureMariam Smith

Foraging for Outcomes in Mondulkiri

Doing an Outcome Harvesting training course in a major Asian city would have been the normal thing to do. It would have made it easy for participants coming from all over Asia to travel and to stay in comfortable accommodation.

Instead, Jeph and I chose to locate the course in Mondulkiri, Northeastern Cambodia, 6 hours drive from Phnom Penh. We also chose to make things difficult for us, by engaging the participants in a real outcome harvest. Difficult in one sense, but, I believe, more interesting for the participants and potentially useful for project which we evaluated. addition, I decided to bring my kids along to a malaria-infested place where the truck has no hand brake. They loved it and so did I (and my Dad who took care of the kids)!

Jeph and I probably have personalities that are energised by high risk, but I believe there were several other factors that made the Outcome Harvest possible in this situation:

  • our relationships with the project we evaluated. I had previous managed the programme and Jeph had led a previous evaluation using Outcome Harvest. We both had a good understanding of the context and the project staff knew what an Outcome Harvest was about.

  • the deep understanding of complexity and outcome focused work among the project staff

  • the participants having grappled with complexity both in practice and in theory, during the Outcome Mapping course prior to this and in their own work!

  • the high capacity of the participants. We had donors and M&E staff from large organisations as well as participants who were engaged in work at the grassroots level.

So, I guess the Outcome Harvest was high risk in terms of control- but low risk in terms of us having the capacity to create something meaningful together!

Have a look at Jeph’s website here for some more pictures from this experience and for some interesting insights we had on development during the courses in Mondulkiri!

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