A Theory of Change (ToC) training workshop was held on 9-12 February 2015 in Nairobi. The workshop aimed to ensure a common understanding of theories of change and how they can be used for planning, critical reflection and accountability in the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program. It also aimed to develop change pathways for projects in the smallholder dairy value chain in Tanzania and the small ruminants value chain in Ethiopia.
The workshop was attended by the Livestock and Fish program team members working on the technology flagships (Animal Health, Genetics, and Feeds and Forages) and the Systems Analysis for Sustainable Innovations flagship.
Tom Randolph, Livestock and Fish program director, said that the workshop would be useful in helping the program develop a Monitoring and Evaluation system that says how we should be evaluated, how we deliver our development outcomes and get a coherent monitoring and evaluation system. He stressed the importance of capturing program learning and using this to systematically challenge and improve the program’s work. It is important for us to test our research in order to identify the best practices, Randolph added.
The first day of the workshop was focused on the conceptual overview of what ToC is, and how it differs from and complements existing planning systems, as well as monitoring and evaluation processes. Days 2 and 3 focused primarily on the application of the concepts to develop the first four stages of the theory of change process for pilot countries (Tanzania and Uganda).
Day 4 was for the pilot teams to further refine their Theory of Change plans and set up a protocol to set dedicated baselines for future monitoring and critical reflection.
Participant feedback about the workshop included:
- “understanding the difference between outputs and changes for real people and perhaps thinking critically about our role in contributing to changes for people”
- “Putting emphasis on continual self questioning and reflection and moving away from focus on activities”
- “great facilitation – lively workshop”
Plans going forward
The next steps will be preparation for piloting the Ethiopia and Tanzania value chains and to implement a pilot process for the Animal Health, Genetics, Feeds and Forages and the System for Sustainable Intervention flagships.
With contributions from Isabel Vogel and Maureen O’Flynn, workshop facilitators