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Hivos: Working with a Theory of Change in complex change processes. An introduction

In order to create a Theory of Change, Hivos outlines six steps, including: 1)  Formulating the “dream” or “vision of success”; 2) Developing the pathways for outcomes; 3) Articulating assumptions; 4) Highlighting the context and the role of other actors; 5) Identifying the roles and strategies of the organization in the change process; and 6) Testing the logic and relevance of the theory and consulting with stakeholders.

Hivos' Theory of Change approach is derived from work done by Keystone Accountability and Annie E. Casey Foundation. Hivos explains that the Theory of Change helps organizations map their pathways to change, accounting for the context and various influences that shape the path travelled. Organizations map the relationships between goals, results, and strategies, accounting for the step-by-step interim process to achieving ultimate desired goals. Hivos believes that creating a Theory of Change is best done in a participatory manner, including a diverse range of perspectives, which is useful for facilitating ownership and creating collective understanding and vision. A Theory of Change helps provide an accountability and learning system for the organization and its constituents, creating a space for dialogue, political buy-in, and mutual understanding with stakeholders.  The Theory of Change can be used as a basis for creating planning and monitoring systems and for developing relevant indicators. It can also be adapted for an evaluation of a particular program.

Author: Hivos
Publication year: 2009

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