Theory of Change

A Theory of Change (ToC) can be conceived as a tool that serves as the articulation of intended objectives, how you think the objectives will be achieved, and why you believe it to be so (Robert Penna, 2011). A ToC articulates the intended changes for people, issues, and systems. It helps make explicit the logic between activities, outputs, and outcomes and impacts. A ToC carries several benefits (Brest, 2010; Brown, 2020; Jackson, 2013). First, it can help describe and interpret for all involved stakeholders what you are seeking to achieve and why. Adopting a high-level portfolio view of Theory of Change, it can also inform scoping decisions in terms of themes, instruments, and partnerships. Furthermore, it can identify gaps and issues that require further validation, as you prioritize how you seek additional research and evidence. A ToC should also inform the selection of methods, indicators, and standards that you can use to measure and evaluate success, while aligning short- and long-term measurement efforts.