Outcome-Oriented Methods


A response should arise out of methods that inform the appropriate action to reduce risk, not designed based on pre-defined activities or pre-determined vulnerabilities. Results-based methods are characterized by high adaptability and enable multiple actors, including affected people, to inform and shape the response.


  • Develop a context-specific causal logic to describe the pathways and milestones between the risk people are experiencing and the desired outcome of reduced risk. This also helps to describe the roles of various actors to contribute to the desired protection outcome, identify points of leverage to bring about change, determine the sequencing and level of response, identify assumptions made and its limitations, and yield a collective vision shared by multiple actors.
  • Use methods to continuously engage the affected population, as far as safely possible, about steps to reduce risk and to ensure the response builds on community-based protection mechanisms and community-led solutions.
  • Integrate methods that promote learning and move us away from words such as ‘success and failure’, for example: integrating evaluation from the start and disseminating results from evaluations and internal reviews; designing and using formal and informal M&E systems to help us learn and inform program design and implementation in real time; holding “fail fests” to learn from mistakes; promoting risk-taking; using methods to filter and capture issues that arise across contexts, etc.
  • Ensure that flexibility and adaptability underpin every aspect of the response including: building flexibility into traditional approaches; utilizing methods for adaptation; operationalizing adaptive management to allow for adaptability in the role performed by the organization (e.g. implementer, convener, negotiator); location, timing, sequencing, staffing, partnerships and alliances, and other aspects of program design and strategy; decentralizing decision-making; and ensuring budgets and finance mechanisms can support long-term planning and adaptation.
  • Devote space and time for personnel to regularly reflect on the actions taken to reduce risk, and to review and adapt goals, objectives, and actions as they relate to achieving the desired protection outcome.
  • Use a fit-for-purpose protection information management system that is intentionally designed to monitor and detect changes in risk patterns as well as track the causal logic and underpinning assumptions.
  • Establish relevant methods for communicating with affected people and determine what flow of information is needed in order to support protection outcomes; this includes understanding the gatekeepers of information that may support or become barriers to the reduction of risk.
  • Develop and use initial and interim activities, rather than pre-defined activities, to collect additional information, refine analysis, inform the causal logic, and build partnerships and alliances.
  • Use methods, such as outcome mapping, systems-thinking, social network analysis, design thinking, foresight analysis and planning, and other methods that may better articulate the desired pathway for changing behavior, attitude, policy, and practice towards achieving a protection outcome.
  • Establish relationships and partnerships that support targeted actions to reduce risk factors and achieve the desired protection outcome. Articulate the necessity, opportunity, and value of a partnership (among different actors, including local civil society, humanitarian, development, peacekeepers, and others) in this regard.