Steven [user:field_middlename] Lam

Steven Lam

Independent
Canada

More about me

I am an independent researcher and evaluator interested in advancing food security, climate change adaptation, and social equity agendas. I do this primarily through mixed qualitative-quantitative research, theory-based evaluation, and systematic reviews.

    • Recently I have been grappling with a similar set of questions so thank you, Carlos, for posing them. Drawing on my experience in facilitating several ToC workshops, I would say ToC is a useful approach to evaluation. Value is realized mainly in its process, of bringing participants from diverse disciplines and sectors together, of co-mapping systems change, of identifying areas where the program might influence change pathways, and of highlighting priority areas for monitoring. Some important context though, is that many of these participants have never heard of ToC before (and it doesn't help that ToC does not translate well in different languages), so some value might be attributed to its novelty. Anyway, while other planning tools might also have been appropriate, I find ToCs to be particularly helpful for programs that have multiple interacting components, diverse stakeholder perspectives, and uncertainty in outcomes, which are characteristic of many food security initiatives today.