Building Evidence Toolkit: Building Your Theory of Change
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
The following blog post is the last in a series on strategies for evaluating our work in the field, drawing on resources from Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network’s Building Evidence Toolkit.
What is a Theory of Change?
A Theory of Change (also known as the Pathway of Change) is a strategy that allows us to identify and explain all of the necessary steps and conditions required to create long-term changes in our community. The Theory of Change is a strategy that allows us to visually depict what needs to be changed and how we think the change will occur within our communities. In other words, it allows us to plan for change and allows us to reflect and reevaluate achievements along the way.
How can my organization build our own Theory of Change?
A logic model differs from a Theory of Change in that it focuses on a chain of events required to achieve a specific program. A Theory of Change presents a wide range of programs, aimed at creating long-term change; these programs can be take place simultaneously or in a particular or chronological sequence.
There are many ways to represent a Theory of Change. However, what is always similar across Theory of Change models is that you start at the end. Your first step is always identifying the goal or change you expect to achieve in the long run—long-term outcome. From there you begin mapping backwards the necessary steps to reach your long-term outcome.
Creating a theory of change is a large endeavor; however, it can be helpful in your long term planning. Although we do not go into detail about a step by step process for creating a theory of change, we do offer some information for your knowledge and resources that can guide you in this task. Learn more about the elements of a Theory of Change model which will aid you in the development and shaping of a model for your organization.
What is Casa de Esperanza’s Theory of Change?
We have learned that we are not the ones who are going to end domestic violence in the Latin@ community; it is the community who will end domestic violence. All we need to do is put the work back into their hands. We hope that this will be useful to other similar organizations who share this value and who are looking to conceptualize their special ingredients or provide support for working from this perspective. Learn more about our Theory of Change.