Practical Approaches to Theories of Change in Conflict, Security and Justice Programmes
Part 1: What they are, different types, how to develop and use them
This document provides guidelines for DFID staff to design and implement their programs effectively using a theory of change approach. According to the guide, a theory of change reflects, "why we think certain actions will produce desired change in a given context". The TOC may be presented in the following form: "We believe that if we do X, Y, and Z, it will lead to W" adding ‘because' to express the rational of a TOC. Thus, the formula becomes, "If we do X…., then Y…, Because Z…". This concept is elaborated and illustrated with examples from the contexts of Kosovo, South Sudan and Burundi. A step-by-step process for developing a TOC statement is provided, and this process is compared to the logic (logframe) model.
To use theory of change as a tool, in the context of fragile states or conflict situation in particular, the guide encourages a reality check on the following:
- "System push back" or resistance to the proposed changes
- "Other efforts running in parallel or running in support of initiatives at different levels"
- "Do no harm/conflict sensitivity" because "flaws in the TOC can endanger people."
In conclusion, the guide maintains that a good TOC is:
- Clear and complete
- Embedded in context
- Agreed upon by relevant stakeholders
- Dynamic, and can be amended/updated whenever necessary.