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Guidelines for Writing Outcome Statements in Logical Frameworks for Humanitarian Work

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A logical framework is developed after assessing a need or problem using stakeholder analysis. It is iterated during project development and engages the relief and development community, affected populations, and support systems. It is essential for project design and competitiveness. Creating brief and comprehensive frameworks is important. In Project Cycle Management, it is a knowledge management tool that can be updated to minimize threats and learn from opportunities. It provides a basis for accountability.

Humanitarian organizations use logical frameworks, also known as logframes, to present project or intervention aspects. These frameworks are not ideal for rational decision-making in emergency and humanitarian work, especially in less commonly implemented logframes. Terms describing organizations responding to crises include natural and anthropogenic disasters, conflict (non-war and war-related), and acute humanitarian crises.

The effect statement is a clear proposition that a change will occur with implementation. Outcomes are about people determining valuable changes. They depend on outputs and an enabling context. An outcome is a consequence of a system contributing to sustainable development. In result-based management, outcomes measure long-term change. Outcome statements create shared understanding and clarity..

Writing clear descriptions within a logical framework can help improve the quality of the project, enhance communication among staff, and gather better information from the project. An outcome (or goal) statement describes an overall objective of a project that is often developed after many activities are completed. It reflects the highest-level positive change that a project is expected to bring about and should be time-bound and specific to a defined audience. It sets the direction for the project, brings about lasting positive effects, and reflects the objectives of the organization. When developing outcome statements, one should ask questions, such as “what will be different because of the project,” and “what are the goals of sustaining into the future?”. (Olarte et al.2020)

The objective is the project’s purpose to solve issues or exploit opportunities for the target group by addressing the root cause. It must also lead to changes in attitudes and behaviors of beneficiaries. The objective represents the immediate purpose of the project. Components in the LF are interrelated.

The outcome is the result achieved at the end of the project’s life through a series of changes. It must be realistic considering the project’s time frame and the capacity of both the project and its target group. An outcome statement reflects the project goal, which is more general and reflects the long-term objective of the work. The goal indicates a sustainable state of the system and environment after project completion. It also reflects a change beyond the project objective, making it successful in its target environment. (Kerzner, 2022)(Harold, 2021)

The first step in designing a logic model or theory of change is identifying the result that contributes most to the desired outcome. This result should reflect the improved functionality or benefit for the intended beneficiaries. It can include broad statements of progress or change. For example, a humanitarian project would have a change statement focused on improving the situation of the beneficiaries.

Since outcomes occupy the middle ground between outputs and impact, it is possible to define outcomes with differing levels of ambition. For this reason, some documents may refer to immediate, intermediate and longer term outcomes, or short-,medium- and long-term outcomes.

An outcome statement should ideally use a verb expressed in the past tense, such as ‘improved’, ‘strengthened’ or ‘increased’, in relation to a global, regional, national or local process or institution.

An outcome should not be stated as “the organization’s support provided to Y” or “technical advice provided in support of Z,” but should specify the result of the organization’s efforts and that of other stakeholders for a community.

An outcome should be measurable using indicators. It is important that the formulation of the outcome statement takes into account the need to measure progress in relation to the outcome and to verify when it has been achieved. The outcome should therefore be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time- bound (SMART).

An outcome statement should ideally communicate a change in institutional or individual behavior or quality of life for people—however modest that change may be. (Smith et al., 2020)(Sjödin et al.2020)

 Educating a City: An emergency relief “non-profit” organization was asked to transport relatively healthy children victimized by trauma of terrorism from the city to a school set up in another city. As people continued to experience trauma and could not return to the city during the time the school was in session, students not only lost many days of education in that school year but parents would have to consider other school options for the following years. The organization asked itself why parents would want to continue their child’s education at its school and what the school wanted to sustain into the future. The school determined that graduation rates are the highest-level positive change. It was also determined that lasting positive effects to bring about were: increased graduation rates, increased literacy rates, and decreased future stress-related illnesses. The outcome statements were: Literacy rates increase as measured by standardized tests for children receiving at least 30 days of education services; Graduation rates are positively impacted for children receiving at least 60 days of educational services; Future stress-related sickness rates decrease for children receiving at least 90 days of educational services.


  • Kerzner, H. (2022). Project management metrics, KPIs, and dashboards: a guide to measuring and monitoring project performance.
  • Harold, K. (2021). Project management: case studies.
  • Smith, J. D., Li, D. H., & Rafferty, M. R. (2020). The implementation research logic model: a method for planning, executing, reporting, and synthesizing implementation projects. Implementation Science.
  • Sjödin, D., Parida, V., Jovanovic, M., & Visnjic, I. (2020). Value creation and value capture alignment in business model innovation: A process view on outcome‐based business models. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 37(2), 158-183.

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