THEORY OF CHANGE – A EDUCATIONAL TOOL
Eklavya School Managing Director, Seema Handa, attended a workshop on THEORY OF CHANGE at New Delhi on 27th and 28th February 2019. The resource person, Mr Neel Shah from Bangalore, an IIT graduate is an independent consultant with a focus on Design Thinking, facilitation and Product Management.
Theory of Change (ToC) is methodology for planning used by NGOs to promote social change. Theory of Change defines long-term goals and then maps backwards to identify necessary preconditions.
The innovation of Theory of Change lies :
(1) in making the distinction between desired and actual outcomes and
(2) in requiring stakeholders to model their desired outcomes before they decide on forms of intervention to achieve those outcomes.
Theory of Change ensures a transparent distribution of power dynamics. Further, the process is necessarily inclusive of many perspectives and participants in achieving solutions. Having worked out a change model, practitioners can make more informed decisions about strategy and tactics. As monitoring and evaluation data become available, stakeholders can periodically refine the Theory of Change as the evidence indicates.
An Outcomes Pathway mapped out
An important first step in the process is identifying workable long-term goals and long-term outcomes. The long-term goal should be something the initiative can realistically achieve and that everyone involved understands. A trained external facilitator is best to lead the group to consensus and specificity in this process.
Once a long-term goal is identified, the group then considers: “What conditions must be in place for us to reach the goal?” Any such necessary conditions should be shown as outcomes on the Theory of Change pathway, underneath the long-term outcome. These outcomes act as preconditions to the long-term outcome.
In these sessions, participants may use markers, sticky notes, and chart paper to identify and organize outcomes, surface assumptions, develop indicators, and so on. The messy group work is then usually captured by the facilitator in digital form, through which the content can be expanded, edited, printed, shared, and otherwise managed as the theory continues to be developed.
The ultimate success of any Theory of Change lies in its ability to demonstrate progress on the achievement of outcomes. Evidence of success confirms the theory and indicates that the initiative is effective. Therefore, the outcomes in a Theory of Change must be coupled with indicators that guide and facilitate measurement. At a minimum, every outcome for which initial interventions will be designed should have at least one indicator.
As the origins of Theory of Change lie in the field of monitoring and evaluation, developments over the years have ensured that Theory of Change continues to be an invaluable method to conduct evaluations of many different types of projects and organizations.
Just as development of a Theory of Change is a participatory process, a ToC-based monitoring and evaluation system can be designed in a participatory way. For example, grant managers can be involved in choosing the outcomes of greatest interest to them in their decision-making. Similarly, people on the ground can have input into which indicators to use and how to operationalize them, choices of instruments and methods of data collection, and which existing sources of data may be used in tracking indicators.
EKLAVYA SCHOOL, Jalandhar, top school in jalandhar, is constantly upgrading its knowledge base and enhancing skills. It is important to keep abreast with the latest developments in the field of Education. The teachers and students must internalize 21st century skills to be relevant in the work place of the future. This workshop helped the Management and the Teachers to update and upscale management tools and apply them in the School and in each classroom. The students gain substantially by being exposed to new and different tools that will equip them for their work place in the future.