Theory of Change (Part 2) with Nina Thüllen & Karin Küblbock

Aug 15, 2017 by

by Thais Marent & Pakinam Ismail

On the evening of the 9th of August 2017, we were introduced to the theory of change that includes how to design a change project using the cycle of change.

Theory of Change is defined as a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It focused on mapping out or “filling in” what has been described as the “missing middle” between what a program or a change project/ initiative does (its activities or interventions) and how these lead to desired goals being achieved using collective strategies & SMART objectives. Designing a change project started by identifying the desired long-term goals and after that identify all the desired outcomes that you are looking forward to achieve (these outcomes should be related to each other’s) for the goals to occur.

The Cycle of change is the main tool to design a functional change project that tackles a realistic collective problem. The cycle of change is composed of:

Context Analysis

–     What do you want to change (the urgent problem)?
–     What are the tools you will use to solve the main problem (solution)?
–     Who are the key actors involved in the process of change (stakeholders, decision makers, … etc.)?
–     What are the key factors that affect the implementation and sustainability of your change project?

Goal

–     What is the broad primary long-term outcomes that you want to achieve when you design this change project?

Power Analysis

–     Who is the main influencer of the decision-making process?
–     Who are the power holders who affect the implementation of the change project either by supporting or objecting the change project and taking actions with/against it?
–     What is the relationship between power holders / influencers and change makers?
–     How do power holders (decision makers) react to the change project?

Objectives

–     What are the specific measurable steps you take to achieve the strategy?
–     The objectives should be realistic, have a certain sequence, be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant & time) but they may depend on each other.

Collective Strategy

–     Strategy is the pathway/plan you choose to achieve your desired goal and is an important indicator to measure the situation of power holders towards your change project.

Tactics

–     The tools you use in pursuing an objective associated with a strategy.
–     Tactics are the activities/ideas/actions to achieve your change project and include also the target audience/messaging.
–     Tactics should speak for the strategies.

Responsiveness Context

–     What is the effect/response of your change project on policy-makers, the public, society… etc?

We think that the “Theory of Change” is an influential mean of intervention to achieve empowering goals that positively impact the society. Although it’s hard to be implemented in developing societies where manipulation and concentration of power is high and where there are conflicts of interest, various cultures/traditions, different mentalities, a lack of access to education/health/resources… etc. we think that youth can be the change makers. We are the change, we should start the change by changing our mentalities towards raising environmental ecological awareness and food security for example. We wish we can promote the culture of change in our developing countries because there are brilliant entrepreneurs that have innovative ideas but are forced to be silent forever. We can start this by spreading the culture to our small neighbourhood communities to fight corruption, bureaucracy and social inequality. We believe that accumulation of power could be addressed through change projects.