‘Theory of change is a dynamic, critical thinking process, it makes the initiative clear and transparent – it underpins strategic planning. It is developed in a participatory way over time, following a logical structure that is rigorous and specific, and that can meet a quality test by the stakeholder. The terminology is not important, it is about buying into the critical thinking.’ Helene Clark, ActKnowledge1
Impact Evaluation plays a fundamental role in understanding the impact of policies and interventions within the social and development sector. Today, the evidence-based policy approach is building up globally to drive in accountability, transparency, and learning. Data analysis facilitates the effectiveness of social impact and program evaluation of both experimental and non-experimental design-based approaches to solve complex problems in the international development sector. Theory of Change, a strategic decision-making tool forms the backbone of designing impact evaluation problems to address long-lasting long-term change. The educative tutorial herein discusses the underlying chain of preconditions/outcomes achieved through a series of interventions, measured through a set of indicators which are the underpinning of the theory of change model.
The underlying process of impact evaluation is aligned to the Theory of Change concept.
# Theory of Change
Theory of Change (ToC) forms the bedrock of impact evaluation design. The impetus to the change framework came through the groundbreaking work by the Aspen Institute Round table on Community Change (Round table) titled The Community Builder’s Approach to Theory of Change: A Practical Guide to Theory Development for measuring and evaluating social interventions. Initially designed to facilitate a refresher course for building a theory of change model for community-based programs and initiatives, ToC philosophy permeates wide-ranging and long-lasting social change and impact within the social and development sector. Its footprints encompass impact-based giving to evidence-based analysis of policies and social interventions for a long-term wholesome change within our society. Theory of Change wears multiple hats; consider a deep-rooted philosophy, a strategic foundation to a change tool, its presence is paramount in today’s global ecosystem.
Over the years, the international development center went through a transformational change. Lack of transparency and accountability drove many actors away from the social sector. Image left The middle Road