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Using theories of change in the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health

The article gives a nice overview of how to use ToCs in the different stages during (the design and implementation of) projects/programmes. The article also illustrates the use of nested ToCs for the different stakeholders, and is at the same time making sure that the ToC is still simple to be interpreted.  What is interesting is that the authors differentiate between types of assumptions and their different positions within the Theory of Change. Reach assumptions are distinguished from assumptions around capacity change, behaviour change, direct benefits, and changes at the level of wellbeing. Examples are given about how to better illustrate the assumptions about other actors and/or stakeholders within your own Theory of Change. 

Abstract: Theories of change are increasingly being discussed and referenced in development evaluation even while the elements of what a theory of change consist of differ widely among applications. Equally, examples of actual use of theories of change other than as overview illustrations of interventions are rare. In this article, we present generic models of theories of change for both straightforward and more complex interventions. A number of examples of evidence-based theories of change in the area of agriculture research for nutrition and health are discussed, as is the need for different versions of a theory of change for different purposes. We also discuss the use and analysis of these models in the planning, managing and assessing of research-related interventions, illustrating the practical usefulness of well-developed theories of change.

Authors: John Mayne & Nacny Johnson
Institution: IFPRI
Date: 2015
Journal: Evaluation 21(4)
Keywords: complex interventions, impact pathway, international agricultural research for development, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, theory of change

Tags: Articles