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Theories of Change
CALP webinar
July 2016
Page 2
• “Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about
it in its particular details
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.”
• Heraclitos of Ephesus, 500 B.C
Page 3
A ToC is not a diagram
Page 4
However creative
Page 5
Ways people describe theory of change
from Comic Relief Study
• Programme theory/ logic/ approach
• A road map for change
• A causal pathway/ chain/ model/ map
• Pathways mapping
• Intervention theory/ framework/ logic
• A process of open enquiry and dialogue
• A clear and testable hypothesis
• A logic model
• A blueprint for evaluation
• Back to basics
• A direction of travel
• A sense of direction
Page 6
Approaches to theory of change
• Approach 1: Those that focus on how projects or programmes
expect to bring change
OR
• Approach 2: Those that explore how change happens more
broadly and then what that means for programme
interventions – including advocacy and influencing!
Theory of Change is simply an on-going process of reflection
to explore change and how it happens – and what that means
for the part we play in a particular context, advocacy
campaign or programme

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Calp6webinar to cs - v3

  • 1. Theories of Change CALP webinar July 2016
  • 2. Page 2 • “Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details Knowledge is not intelligence. In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected. Change alone is unchanging. The same road goes both up and down. The beginning of a circle is also its end. Not I, but the world says it: all is one. And yet everything comes in season.” • Heraclitos of Ephesus, 500 B.C
  • 3. Page 3 A ToC is not a diagram
  • 5. Page 5 Ways people describe theory of change from Comic Relief Study • Programme theory/ logic/ approach • A road map for change • A causal pathway/ chain/ model/ map • Pathways mapping • Intervention theory/ framework/ logic • A process of open enquiry and dialogue • A clear and testable hypothesis • A logic model • A blueprint for evaluation • Back to basics • A direction of travel • A sense of direction
  • 6. Page 6 Approaches to theory of change • Approach 1: Those that focus on how projects or programmes expect to bring change OR • Approach 2: Those that explore how change happens more broadly and then what that means for programme interventions – including advocacy and influencing! Theory of Change is simply an on-going process of reflection to explore change and how it happens – and what that means for the part we play in a particular context, advocacy campaign or programme
  • 7. Page 7 THEORY OF CHANGE Political literacyTechnical tool ToC is seen as providing practitioners with an opportunity to engage more honestly with the complexity of change processes. ToC is seen as extending the assumptions/risks column of a logical framework. Participatory process Evolving, iterative A questioning attitudeA questioning attitude
  • 10. Page 10 Change: Slavery Abolished in the UK 1807 British Parliament Act to abolish the slave trade from its colonies 1833-38 Slavery Act in Parliament leads to emancipation of slaves in British Empire 1700 Slavery is broadly accepted and validated and is key to the production model. Slave Rebellions in the Americas Independence of Haiti Abolitionist laws in other European countries Quakers & Anglican church internal pressure and parliamentary alliances Compensation measures for "owners" Research, evidence and awareness raising Reform of Parliament in England
  • 11. Page 11 Oxfam’s emerging Theory of Change
  • 12. Page 12 Oxfam’s Gender Justice Theory of Change Community Household National Global Individual Change Formal Systemic Change Informal Women’ s access to resources Formal institutions, laws, practicesCultural norms, values, practices Women’ s and men’ s consciousness
  • 14. Page 14 Elements of a Theory of Change for Advocacy and Influencing lasting change = convinced decision makers + credible arguments + broad and intense support + an infrastructure that sustains change + mass attitudes and beliefs that can sustain change (and sometimes are the change)
  • 15. Page 15 The iterative advocacy planning process External context & How Change Happens Defined Problem Proposed Solution/Overall Theory of Change SMART Objectives/Outcomes Power analysis Strategies & Tactics Theory of Change Plan of actions with Timeline Resources required MEL Plan & Risk Alliances Who to collaborate with? Targets Who to influence? Credible research Policy analysis and development Lobbying Policy Dialogue Citizens voice Media Alliances Popular mobilisation
  • 16. Page 16 When analysing the external context it is important to: • Grapple with complexity • Deepen our understanding of power, power relationships, institutions • Understand the interaction between political and economic processes and the trends in distribution of power and wealth – (see political economy analysis) • Work out your theory or theories of change in order to decide HOW to go about your programmes and WHO to work with
  • 17. Page 17 ToC – A cycle of planning and critical reflection Power Analysis
  • 18. Page 18 Develop your unique change pathway – a way to do it Backward mapping – outcomes to strategies/activities 1. Clarify your goal – ultimate impact that you want to influence/ achieve (results statement) 2. Identify long term changes that will support this goal and that you can influence (indirectly) (long-term outcomes) 3. Work backwards: ask yourselves, in order for this to happen what needs to change (who would be doing what differently)? (medium-term outcomes) 4. Again: ask “in order for these changes to take place, what has to be different (who would be doing what differently – what would have to be in place?) (short- term outcomes) – remember – power mapping 5. Once you have agreed and written up long, medium and short term outcomes, discuss and agree: o Who you should be engaging with? o What you should be doing – yourself and with others? (strategies/activities) Link it all to your power analysis
  • 19. Page 19 Change Pathway (or Outcome Map/Impact Chain) Overall Change Long-term outcome Long-term outcome Strategies Medium-term outcome Medium-term outcome Medium-term outcome Medium-term outcome Short-term outcome Short-term outcome Short-term outcome Short-term outcome Short-term outcome Strategies Strategies Strategies Strategies Strategies Intermediate Outcomes
  • 20. Page 20 5 key questions in the hypothesis of prospective change 1. What is the long-term change we want to see? 2. Which is the route? In this context and with these stakeholders and opportunities, what are the most important short and mid-term outcomes in policies, practices, ideas and beliefs to reach the long-term change and with whom? 3. What are the cause-effect relationships between the different short and medium-term outcomes? 4. Will the strategies deliver the outcomes/change? 5. Are your strategies and outcomes realistic? Are your assumptions tested? 6. assumptions?
  • 21. Page 21 Testing the TOC - What is an assumption? • Assumption = something that is accepted as true or certain to happen but there is no proof (yet) • Good practice in Theories of Change says “assumptions must be made explicit, categorised and linked to specific aspects of the change pathway” Some common assumptions we make in our work?
  • 22. Page 22 Testing the TOC - What is an assumption? • Assumption = something that is accepted as true or certain to happen but there is no proof (yet) • Good practice in Theories of Change says “assumptions must be made explicit, categorised and linked to specific aspects of the change pathway” Some common assumptions we make in our work? • People are not aware of their rights and because of this they don’t act. • If women participate in politics, they will advance women’s rights. • If we achieve a pro-poor policy change, positive change for women and marginalized groups will come. • If we strengthen civil society organizations, they will influence the government
  • 23. Page 23 Testing the logic and your assumptions For each of the links that you make, ask yourselves the following sort of questions: • Why did you think that x would lead to y? • What might hinder this from happening? (e.g. costs, opposing views, lack of trust/ capacity/technology, people losing assets etc.) • Are there any missing links? • Who else might need to be involved? • Looking at the pathway again, are there better ways of getting to your goal? • Are there things you are not sure or confident about? • What do your other stakeholders think?
  • 25. Page 25 What do they look like? • No “official” format – depends on context in which you are developing one and what type of intervention For instance • Policy change focus only • Focused on attitude and behaviour change as well as political or policy change at national level • Part of a “one programme” approach – delivery programme at community level linked to partners linked to national policy change or the creation of an enabling environment etc.
  • 26. Examples of theories of change
  • 30. Page 30 Key Strategies: Research, strengthening women’s capacity in leadership, effective use of media, public campaigning, working with women’s movements and champions to address barriers towards women’s leadership, coalition building and networking, policy influencing and advocacy WOMEN’S RIGHTS THEORY OF CHANGE
  • 32. Page 32 ToC – A cycle of planning and critical reflection Power Analysis
  • 33. Page 33 What to do in complex or uncertain situations ? • Informed best guess • Choosing a number of entry points • Close monitoring • Willingness to stop or change approach • Regular moments to reflect and adjust
  • 34. Page 34 TOC and MEAL - Key questions In Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) there are three critical questions: • Are we doing what we said we would do? • (Internal Validity) • Are we making a difference? • (Evaluation) • Are these the right things to do? • (Strategic relevance)
  • 35. Page 35 TOC and MEAL plans Consider what information you need to collect to answer the following key questions: • What has changed (positive/ negative/intended or not)? • For whom? • How significant is this? • How did the changes come about? (What factors contributed to them) • What if anything did our organisation/programme contribute? • What would we do differently next time? • What information do you need to effectively manage and evaluate change?
  • 36. Page 36 36 HOW CAN WE USE THEORIES OF CHANGE? • Programme/Campaign planning • To bridge the gap between strategic and operational planning • To build a joint vision with partners of what we want to achieve and how we are going to get there • To show the cause and effect relationships between strategies, outcomes and long-tern goals with underlying assumptions • Communication • To summarise the key elements of a programme for new staff, partners and donors • Monitoring and evaluation • To identify critical evaluation questions and indicators • Tracking progress to achieving our long-term goals
  • 37. Page 37 Limitations - challenges • In the construction we tend to think about projects and strategies (internal) not changes in the society and the power relations (external) • Its a snapshot, and personal/collective interpretation • Can be over optimistic and too simplistic • Or they generate anxiety due to complexity and uncertainty • Can be biased by our preferences/ideologies and worldviews • They do not identify possible changes in the environment that will challenge the rationale or assumptions made • Others????
  • 38. Page 38 Useful links • https://sumus.oxfam.org/influencing-hub/wiki/strategy-design • https://sumus.oxfam.org/camsa-common-approach-mel-and-strategic- accountability/wiki/22-program-planning-and-design • http://www.theoryofchange.nl/sites/default/files/resource/hivos_toc_guideline s_final_nov_2015.pdf • http://www.theoryofchange.nl/ • http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/where-have-we-got-to-on-theories-of-change- passing-fad-or-paradigm-shift/ • http://www.theoryofchange.org/2014/03/28/corelab/ • http://www.theoryofchange.org/library/presentations/
  • 39. Page 39 Useful links • Http://www.aecf.org/resources/a-guide-to-measuring-advocacy-and-policy/ • http://www.researchtoaction.org/2011/05/theory-of-change-useful-resources/

Editor's Notes

  1. Introductions Set Up Recording What we will cover: What is a ToC – how it fits within overall prog./advoacy planning cycle? how are ToCs used at different levels and in different contexts? how can we deal with complexity and uncertainty? Oxfam’s ToC, thematic ToCs and project ToCs process for designing a ToC sharing examples and learning Discuss challenges ToCs and MEAL links to resources N.B. There is an increasing wealth of material and thinking on Theory of Change – too much to make sense of it all – so we’ve tried to condense it down so you have some useful approaches, learning, tools and examples to work with
  2. Start with what its not!
  3. Then ask for some thoughts from group on how they would describe a ToC before moving on to next slide – open up to group
  4. Comic Relief – UK charity - did some research on use and understanding of ToCs – this is some of their interviewees responses from across development organisations on what a ToC is
  5. Essentially two approaches – and can be both
  6. Can see it as a technical tool or a broader thinking and understanding on how change happens
  7. Shared this advocacy planning process at first module
  8. Complexity – we can’t know everything and can’t predict with certainty what is likely to happen as a result of our interventions Important to understand the relation between power and wealth – political and economic trends and interests – in order to be able to have some impact Clarity on your theory of change and the assumptions you are making which will be tested as you implement your influencing programmes and activities – talk about this later
  9. Richard here
  10. Ask the question?
  11. Test an example with the group e.g. If Richard cycles to work each morning then……then……then……etc. What are the assumptions we are making in this hypothesis?
  12. Test their usefulness and how they can be used with the group….
  13. Assumptions are defined here: the “If …then” question is addressed and can be tested in this model
  14. Assumptions addressed….clearly enough?
  15. Run through the key points above, noting: That national change strategies are very high level. Theories of change help us to be more specific about the change we are intending to deliver and how we expect to achieve it. That programme logic models can be used in a participatory way with partners and communities to build a joint vision for the programme. That having a description of a programme on one page is a very effective communication tool. That programme logic models help us to develop specific MEL plans.