Theory of Change


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MeTA multi-stakeholder processes workshop for MeTA pilot countries in Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation, January 2010

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Theory of Change

  1. 1. 1/11/2010 MeTA Multi Stakeholder Processes Workshop for MeTA pilot Countries Ghana, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Philippines, Uganda, Zambia 8 Theory of Change Simone van Vugt/ Karen Verhoosel Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation January 2010 Basic ‘Planning’ Framework General Concern ‘Messy Situation’ Focus Understanding the Situation Creating a Shared Vision/Ambition Agreeing on strategy and Actions Understanding Learning and Adapting 1
  2. 2. 1/11/2010 The basic issue Trying to intervene in complex situations, in a sophisticated (successful) way when there is: little time few resources weak analytical capacities many competing demands and a largely linear and inflexible aid system Articulating a Theory of Change can: Bring greater rigour to programme design Lead to more appropriate choice in approach based on context and objectives Open up broader range of options for change strategies Bring power back into discussions Help resolve conflicts about choice in strategies based on unarticulated assumptions Better informed, coherent and more transparent decision making ‘There is nothing more practical than a good theory.’ (Lewin 1952) 2
  3. 3. 1/11/2010 What change really means for a sugar cane farmer green – local pink - national blue – international Source: Ashish Shah, Kenya the farmer Three Key Aspects of theory of Change Articulating and making explicit underlying assumptions (theories) about change Developing logic models of intervention Navigating complexity 3
  4. 4. 1/11/2010 We all have theories (assumptions) about… How history (change) happens Human nature and social interaction Specific cause and effect relations Trends and drivers in the external environment Politics and power The beliefs and motivations of others Pathway of Change Goal Long term Intervention Outcome Indicators Indicators Assumptions Assumptions Preconditions Assumptions Preconditions Preconditions Indicators Assumptions Assumptions Indicators Indicators Assumptions Assumptions Preconditions Preconditions Intervention Intervention 4
  5. 5. 1/11/2010 Control or Emergence? Where do things go wrong? Limited or incorrect causal understanding Misjudging the motivations, incentives or capacities for people to act or change in particular ways Insufficient time or resources to achieve objectives Too limited influence over causal factors Breakdowns in human/organisational relations External factors that change causal relations and motivations Lack of adaptive capacity to respond to change 5
  6. 6. 1/11/2010 So! How can ToC help Clarity over causal relations and mechanisms of change Recognition of unknowns and uncertainties Surfacing different assumptions and beliefs that may cause conflict or upset relationships Exercise Develop your own MeTA ToC : “So that” chain. 6
  7. 7. 1/11/2010 Thank you! © Wageningen UR 7