GIDE Theory of Change (ToC)

GIDE was created in response to the increasing demand by policy makers for evidence of what works to advance theory and practice in inclusive green growth (economic and social development, agriculture, and environment and natural resource management/climate change mitigation & adaptation). We produce this evidence from thorough impact evaluations of multiple studies to inform policies and programs for inclusive green growth.  GIDE uses its Theory of Change (ToC) as an important tool in both project/program performance evaluation and systematic reviews of evidence.  Simply expressed, our ToC is: "the description of a sequence of events that is expected to lead to a particular desired development outcome of improving lives".

As a minimum, our ToC includes a discussion of the following elements:

  • Context for the initiative, including social, political and environmental conditions, the current state of the problem the project is seeking to influence and other actors able to influence change
  • Long-term change that the initiative seeks to support including the ultimate benefit
  • Process/sequence of change anticipated to lead to the desired long-term outcome
  • Assumptions about how these changes might happen, as a check on whether the activities and outputs are appropriate for influencing change in the desired direction in this context.
  • Diagram and narrative summary that captures the outcomes of the discussion

Through the ToC we define all outcomes or results required to bring about our long-term goal - improving lives of people.  This set of outcomes is shown on a map known as a pathway of change/change framework, which is a graphic representation of the change process.  Built around the pathway of change, our ToC describes the types of interventions (a single program or a community initiative) that bring about the outputs, outcomes and impacts shown in the pathway of a change map (see below).

GIDE's ToC addresses three issues to achieve its vision and mission.  i)  Outcomes of specific development actions are currently not effectively measured;  ii) In deciding on which problems to focus, often depends on opinion rather than evidence of what works, when, why and how much; and iii) Because development programs rarely use policy-ready evidence, they incur millions of dollars, yet fail to transform lives as the ultimate outcome of inclusive development. 

Thus, GIDE aims to achieve in low income countries of Africa and Asia: i) a better developed cadre of professionals along with policy makers, researchers and partners to undertake country-led impact evaluations, use and/or disseminate evidence;  ii) a developed searchable web-based database of policy-ready evidence for users - decision makers; and iii) adoption of "Evidence Based Practice" in planning and policy making for better policies and effective development outcomes while achieving best value for money from public resources.

The diagram below shows GIDE's perceived ToC as reflected by the full range of its activities in the sequence of events leading up to some final effects on both sides of production and use: from the production of evidence to the formulation and implementation of better policies and programs.