Theory of Change Thinking in Practice: A Stepwise Approach

By: Hivos

Hivos aims for structural, systemic change that enables all citizens – both women and men – to participate actively and equally in the decision-making processes that determine their lives, their society and their future. Consequently, Hivos staff and partner organisations engage in complex social processes.

Change emerges as a result of the simultaneous push and pull of multiple political, cultural and social forces involving many individuals and entities. Social change processes are complex and characterised by non-linear feedback loops: our own actions interact with those of others and a myriad of influencing factors. This triggers reactions that cannot be foreseen and makes outcomes of change interventions unpredictable.

Given these uncertainties, how can we plan strategically and sensibly? How can social change initiatives move forward in emerging change processes in a flexible way, while remaining focused on the goal?

In this context of complexity, Hivos values working with theory of change (ToC) as an appropriate approach to guide its strategic thinking and action, as well as its collaborative action with others. The use of a ToC approach fosters critical questioning of all aspects of change interventions and supports adaptive planning and management in response to diverse and quickly changing contexts. It contributes to the quality and transparency of strategic thinking, and therefore to personal, organisational and social learning. Use of a ToC approach should make Hivos more effective in achieving its goals, and enable it to understand better why and under which conditions specific strategies might work for specific groups in society

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Uploaded on: Sep 20, 2019
Year Published: 2015
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