E Co. bites: What is Theory of Change?
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Speaker: Dr Grant Ballard-Tremeer
Question: What is Theory of Change?
People ask us about “Theories of Change” more and more frequently. This is because many funders require preparation and submission of a Theory of Change and now the GCF have explicitly asked for a Theory of Change to be submitted together with a Concept Note. So, what is a Theory of Change, and how can it contribute to improving the design of your project?
A Theory of Change is exactly what the name implies- it’s a Theory of how and why Change happens or is expected to happen in a project. While some people are dogmatic about how Theories of Change should look, there are many ways of illustrating a Theory of Change, each with their pros and cons.
What’s important is that a Theory of Change presents not only what change is expected to happen in a project but why it is expected to take place. By “why” I mean what is the basis for believing that if we do certain things we will achieve the results we want? This may be explained through reference to existing knowledge and experience, or analysis or experimentation carried out during project preparation, for example.
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