A People's Theory of Change
I was inspired by the latest session of Praxis' workshop on participatory monitoring and evaluation. We discussed using cause and effect diagrams, including one of my favourites - the solution tree.
I've created a three-step series of workshops on building 'A People's Theory of Change', embedding participatory and community-led ideas at each stage.
Looking at our projects, contributions to change, root causes, and solutions trees and finding a way to combine them all gives us multiple sources of information on which to base our project.
Gathering insights from various sources also broadens the scope of accountability and leadership in our project, and we're looking to others to help us work towards change.
Rather than the implementers being the only ones diagnosing the issue and finding a solution, working with a community-led approach helps us see what they would prioritise as a key strategy.
Looking at what's important from a root cause analysis perspective helps us look beyond our project towards comprehensive interventions that can help solve the issues - including other actors and groups of people who can help you get there.
In this way, it's a great fit for a Theory of Change since it's a broader, birds-eye view of the 'world peace' vision rather than a Results Framework that looks more at the specific project/programme and in a more linear pathway to change.
It helps us look at various causes and root issues, and we can see whether our work is helping to address one or many causes.
Often, one group designs the project, another implements it, and another group of people is directly affected by it. Bringing them all together allows these groups of people to look at shared ideas and opportunities to work together better.
A solutions tree that comes from the community helps facilitate discussions about each problem and how it could be addressed. It also provides recommendations for what they want to see to solve the issues, getting closer to a community/people's-led theory of change.
We can also look beyond the scope of our work and at the macro level to learn more about how our work plays out in the policy sphere, for example. This may inspire the next project or help us find other groups that are working in our area of interest, possibly one we could partner with.
Let's discuss how we can build a People's Theory of Change! There is a multitude of applications, as you can see! I've prepared a series of workshops on this, designed with your project, context, sociocultural norms, and community in mind.
Here's an outline of the programme and the steps we'd take to get there.