Global Fund for Children

Global Fund for Children: Case Study

Theory of Change Training

The Client

Global Fund for Children.

Global Fund for Children invests in community-based organizations around the world to help children and youth reach their full potential and advance their rights.

The Project

In 2019, inFocus was chosen to conduct a day of in-person training for UK-based partners of the Global Fund for Children (GFC) in the London offices of Grant Thornton International Ltd. 

The objectives of the training were to:

  • –     Introduce the topic of ‘theory of change’ (ToC), including the background to ToC and a range of examples, and to gauge the groups experience and perceptions of ToC as a tool
  • –     Demystify and reveal the benefits of theory of change in relation to MEL, marketing, fundraising and getting staff and volunteers ‘on the same page’ with how activities lead to social change
  • –     Show how a simple theory of change can be developed without (or with minimal) expert support
  • –     Give advice on how to move forward with developing a theory of change

Training: Content and Delivery

Throughout the training, our facilitators used games and exercises to introduce key concepts in relation to theory of change. 

We pride ourselves on delivering fun, interactive training to make our training as accessible and engaging as possible. Below you can find out more about the session’s content and delivery.

Topic 1: Experiences and Perceptions of theory of change

The first session of the morning sought to gain consensus from the group on the definition of theory of change, starting with a drawing exercise to share each groups current understanding of the term, and ending with the inFocus definition. This was followed by an exercise to explore the group’s confidence in both describing and developing a theory of change. The exercise involved asking participants to add red/orange/green stickers to a poster of a temperature gauge (shown to the right) to denote their confidence in firstly describing a theory of change to other people (left hand side of the poster) and then in developing a theory of change (right hand side of the poster). The green stickers visible (denoting high confidence) were added by GFC staff, whilst the majority of the group had moderate to low confidence in both areas.  GFC then shared their own experience of developing a theory of change and the benefits in relation to this.

Topic 2: the theory behind theory of change: What is it and where did it come from?

The facilitators then took the group through a presentation of the inFocus experience of theory of change, how a theory of change can challenge individual and group assumptions, and what characteristics are common to a theory of change.  An exercise followed to explore the different components of a theory of change, before a final presentation to describe the unique aspects of a ‘good practice’ theory of change and who/ what kind of organisations are using it around the world.

Topic 3: Why is theory of change a valuable approach?

Next, the facilitators led a discussion with the group on how theory of change can be used and why it is useful, with the group themselves identifying that the approach could be used in evaluation, consensus-building, communication and fundraising. A presentation with examples of theory of change followed, and the morning concluded with a discussion about where theories of change can go wrong (for example, the group identified that the theory of change could ‘sit on a shelf’ and not get used, or be overly complex).

Topic 4: Developing a theory of change: a ‘speed exercise’

The main exercise during the afternoon revolved around a ‘speed’ theory of change exercise with the group, to give an indication of the steps needed to create a full theory of change. The room was split into smaller groups, each one being asked to create a theory of change based on a generic/ hypothetical example of an organisation working to address gender equity/equality. The facilitators then went through a series of competitive and creative exercises (using art, plasticine and poetry) to create each section of the theory of change with the group:

  • –   Identifying the problem
  • –   Who are the stakeholders?
  • –   Mapping outcomes (against an example impact)
  • –   Mapping activities
  • –   Developing assumptions

At the end of the session, each group had gone through the basic process of developing each section of a theory of change.

Topic 5: Taking the next steps with theory of change

In the final session, the inFocus facilitator took the group through the next steps that they could take in developing a theory of change and what free templates and resources were available from inFocus to support with this. This included the presentations used during the workshop, guides, an e-learning module and a range of theory of change examples and ‘good practice’ templates.

Participant Feedback

Five staff from four of the GFC partners attending the workshop completed the post-training online survey and all gave the top rating in relation to how likely they were to recommend training (all very likely) and the extent to which they were satisfied with the training (all were very satisfied).

Some additional participant feedback below, in what they found most valuable during the training:

“It changed my opinion on how and why the organisation needs one [a theory of change].  And now it does have one!”

“TOC aligned with funding needs and diversification of funding.”

“Peer to peer interactions and pragmatism of the offering.”

“The exercises with plasticine or other creativity-boosting ones were entertaining and helped me remember the main points better, so I think this is something that should definitely stay in the script of the workshop.”

Want to see more?

On the link below you can check out another case study about our work to develop a theory of change with the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London.

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