Theories of Change Slides
Theories of Change Slides
“Theories of change”
for peacebuilding programmes
Theories of Change?
“An explanation of how and why a set of activities
will bring about the changes a project seeks to
(Reflective Peacebuilding: A Planning, Monitoring and Learning Toolkit, p. 25)
Define “desired change”
Ideally…practitioners should perform a thorough analysis
of the context of a conflict and determine, in consultation
with multiple local and international actors, what actions
are likely to produce changes in the conflict system.
In reality…too often we are driven in our program choices
by our favorite methods – training, dialogue, trauma
healing, political negotiation, grassroots mobilization –
without considering which of these has the greatest
likelihood of leveraging the desired change in the given
Theories of Change: value added
• Helps ensure that the project/programme
leads to tangible results and impact and adds
up to the larger objectives identified
• Improves the effectiveness of development
and peacebuilding interventions
• Adds rigour and transparency
• Clarifies the project logic
• Highlights assumptions that need to be tested
• Helps identify appropriate participants and
"If we do this activity, we will get this change in behavior.“
1. If the youth embody and internalise peacebuilding norms and
values, then their behaviour will change towards nonviolence
2. If peace education programmes are designed in a way that they
enhance cultural competence and appropriate interaction with
other culture groups, then communities will increase their
tolerance (attitude), acceptance (behavior), and understanding
of differences (knowledge)
How to make theories of change explicit?
Some guiding questions
Understanding the context
• What is our target group? (direct and indirect) Why can this target
group act as effective agent for change in the context?
• What forces are at play in the system? How did the system and the
forces within that system evolve over time?
• What is happening now? What is changing? What is not changing?
• What patterns can be identified?
What is our vision for success/overall goal? Why?
What would success look like more concretely? What are
indicators for this success?
What are the steps that will lead to the desired change?
What tools (activities) do we use to bring about change? Why do
we think that these are bringing about the desired change?
Example - theory of change
Theory of change – education related
Source: UNICEF Programme in Colombia and Jamaica
Group Exercise – Instructions – Theories of Change
Using the theories of change approach, assess and possibly
refine the peace building examples.
Start by identifying the change you intend to bring about.
Once you have agreed on the specific intervention and/or
activity, develop the ‘logical chain’ to prove the link with
your final objective/intended impact.
Please also take into account external risks and
Developing change strategies: Lessons from Reflecting on
Peace Practice (CDA Collaboratives) – I
Whom to Engage
More People Approaches
Aim to engage increasing numbers of
people in actions to promote peace.
Practitioners who take this approach
believe that peace can be built if many
people become active in the process,
i.e., if “the people” are broadly involved.
This may involve mobilization of larger
constituencies or expanding the
numbers of people committed to peace.
Key People Approaches
Focus on involving particular people, or
groups of people, critical to the
continuation or resolution of conflict,
due to their power and influence. “Key
people” strategies assume that, without
the involvement of these
individuals/groups, progress cannot be
made toward resolving the conflict. Who
is “key” depends on the context: they
may be political leaders, warlords, or
others necessary to a peace agreement.
They may be people with broad
constituencies. Or they may be key
because they are involved in war making
(e.g., unemployed young men).
Reflecting on Peace Practice (CDA Collaboratives) – II
Types of Change
Individual / Personal Change
Programs that concentrate at the socioPrograms that work at the
political level are based on the belief
individual/personal level seek to change that peace requires changes in sociothe attitudes, values, skills, perceptions political structures and processes, often
or circumstances of individuals, based
supporting the creation or reform of
on the underlying assumption that
institutions that address grievances that
peace is possible only if the behavior of fuel conflict, or promoting non-violent
individuals are changed. Most dialogue modes for handling conflict. Change at
and training programs operate at this
this level includes alterations in
level, working with groups of individuals government policies, legislation, policies,
to affect their skills, attitudes,
economic structures, ceasefire
perceptions, ideas and relationships with agreements, constitutions, etc. But it
also incorporates changes in social
norms, group behavior, and inter-group
Reflecting on Peace Practice (CDA Collaboratives) – III
More People Strategies Key People Strategies
Negotiation of a
Reflecting on Peace Practice (CDA Collaboratives) – IV
Matrix - Linkages
More People Strategies Key People Strategies
Example – Programme Goal: Contribute to Community Security by
improving the reintegration of CAAC
Proposed programme activity
Expected change through activity
1. Conduct outreach and “listening” efforts to
CAAC/adolescents and others, find out concerns
of young people.
Obtain agreement to participate, achieve initial
2. Joint skills training: communications skills,
community problem analysis, leadership skills.
Heightened awareness of multiple perspectives,
greater understanding of problems facing the
community, better participant relationships.
3. Organization of youth action groups: engage
training workshop participants in children/ado
action groups focused on addressing community
issues, as well as enjoyable activities (sports,
Specific and ongoing mechanism for bringing
youth attention to issues people hold in common
in the community.
4. Outreach to elders, women leaders, etc.: Invite
community leaders to participate with youth in
community problem solving.
Concrete evidence that leaders are concerned
about young people and willing to devote
time/energy to thinking with them about issues.
5. Project Implementation: Children/ado action
groups undertake projects to implement
solutions/actions developed in the problemsolving sessions.
Concrete improvements in community life as a
result of projects. CAAC engaged and better
integrated into the community. Possibly, some of
them will gain skills that will help employment
Example mapped on the matrix
More People Strategies
Key People Strategies
nt of ‘other
2. Joint skills
3. Organization of
4. Problem solving
session & outreach
joint action plan
Group Exercise – Instructions – Option 2: RPP Matrix
Step 1: List program activities and expected changes
Based on the identification of the objective of the programme, list the various proposed
program activities and the expected changes from those (see above example/table).
Step Two: Mapping onto the Matrix
1. Locate the program goal on the Matrix. Is the goal at the Individual/Personal or SocioPolitical level of change? More People or Key People?
2. Take the first activity and the associated change: where do you find the activity on the
Matrix? Where is the resulting change?
3. Continue to map activities and changes until you come to the end of the program
4. Do the activities/changes add up to the desired change (goal)? Are there any gaps?
5. Are there useful linkages that can be made in your program from the
Individual/Personal to the Socio-Political levels? From More People to Key People?
Alternatively, are there other organizations/programs with which you can link at other
Design (conflictsensitivity / peace