Equipped with theory of change tools CSOs can now better address social problems

UNDP in Ukraine has taken another step towards supporting CSOs from Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine in their community-based work via introducing theory of change tools.

11Chișinău, 9 September 2016 – UNDP in Ukraine organized a 2-day workshop for civil society organisations from Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine to introduce the concept of theory of change and help them explore how to use it for their own programmes.
The workshop attracted around 35 civic activists who over 2 days went in depth on theory of change, did lots of practical exercises, and learnt how to use the theory of change technique to address social problems and drive social change.
Consultants from inFocus, the UK-based social impact consultancy company, shed light on theory of change as a powerful tool that helps map out and explore how CSOs' activities lead to social change, as well as understand underlying beliefs or assumptions.
As defined by inFocus, theory of change is "an ongoing process of reflection to explore change and how it happens, and what that means for the part organisations play in a particular context, sector and/or group of people."
5During the workshop, participants looked further into the different components of theory of change, analysed the planning cycle for theory of change, and practiced one of its main techniques called 'backwards mapping', working backwards from the impact to look at what needs to change for this to take place.
To illustrate this, consultants used the example of Tiny, an overweight cat from the USA that went onto a diet a few years ago. "If we start at the impact, that we want Tiny to be healthy and happy, we can work backwards from this and think about what changes need to happen for this to take place," said Damian Hatton from inFocus.
As a preparatory stage for the workshop, participants attended the 1-hour introductory webinar in course of which the consultants from inFocus introduced them to the concept of theory of change, the agenda of the workshop, and the short worksheet they were asked to complete ahead of the workshop.
During the workshop, participants went into more detail on their home task, where they identified a social problem they wanted to address with the theory of change technique. Consultants helped them apply the Problem Tree technique as one of the methods for mapping and presenting social problems.
The workshop was held under the framework of the Regional Programme for Democratisation, Human Rights and Civil Society Development in Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus implemented by UNDP in Ukraine and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.