RE: Do you have examples on reviewing Theories of Change? | Eval Forward

Dear EvalForward Community,

Many thanks for the contributors to discussion so far: Tom Archibald, Brian Belcher, Harriet Maria Matsaer, Hayat Askar, Moussa Coulibaly, Silva Ferretti, Seda Kojoyan, Nelson Godfried Agyemang, Nasser Samih Quadous and Alan Ferguson.

I’m happy to see many interesting experiences and insights into the topic of ToC review. Thank you also for the useful document resources, video and links.

The following main points emerged from the discussion:

1.    There is a shared understanding that the ToC review is a beneficial exercise for the projects as it helps to better capture the underlying assumptions and identify the rationale behind success or failure of the specific interventions. Organizations use those reviews as a learning tool that can help to improve the project implementation or designing the follow up projects. 

2.    As the projects and programmes operate within the complex systems, similar is with the ToC. There is a visible challenge in adapting the linear approach for measuring the progress with the systems thinking that better captures this complexity. Against this background, the evaluation policies of the donors usually tend to prefer the more focused and fragmented picture of the project implementation.

3.    The ToC reviews are often performed within the projects / programmes evaluation, however there are some practical issues with implementing the suggested changes. As the Logframe or other frameworks supporting the project implementation are rather fixed at the project’s outset, it’s difficult to introduce changes in its course. 

Concerning my last point, I’ve another issue to consider: 

Are you familiar with any evaluation cases where the ToC review resulted in changing the expected outcome or impact indicators of a project? How difficult was to introduce those changes?

I will welcome your comments and any further links or documents.

Best wishes,