Can we use an evidence-based, evolving Theory of Change to achieve "local learning” during project design?
I would like to discuss an issue that has been bubbling up in the development / peacebuilding community: successful, sustainable projects need to understand the desires, capabilities, and relationships of each local context. Often, the relevant local issues are unknown and the local learning questions must be discovered “at the conceptual stage of the project / program”, when the project staff begins to interact with the local people.
How to do this is the focus of this discussion:
Can we use an evidence-based, evolving Theory of Change to achieve "local learning” during project design, i.e. discover the desires, capabilities, and relationships of a specific local context ?
An evidence-based, evolving Theory of Change is one that is continually revised based on evidence rather than assumptions.
Please share any view or experience. Further questions to drive the discussion are:
- What is a real-world example of a localized project design?
- What would an evidence-based, evolving Theory of Change look like for that project?
- Do you know someone who might give this a try? What opportunities and obstacles do you see?
- How does your own work relate to the topic question?