IMA were invited to facilitate and support the Porticus team in developing their Theory of Change (ToC) and MEL framework following a successful online Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) training in Kenya with Porticus Africa. With all the changes happening around the world due to the pandemic, our consultancy work had to change, opening up a new area for online and remote working.

As part of the collaboration, we facilitated the development of an animated video and the initiation of an MEL framework, as well as reviewing Porticus program documents using the current Africa strategy. Staff were encouraged to draw how they perceived the current MEL system to start this process.  The drawings were collated, with shared thoughts identified and differences highlighted, to develop a list of starter questions initiating the discussion in a creative way.

We hope that our partnership with Porticus Africa has supported the development of their ToC and MEL frameworks, to enable long term benefits of their work responding to complex social challenges in Africa.

Graphic drawing representing a Theory of Change
An example of the structure of a Theory of Change diagram

"We work to create a sustainable future where justice and human dignity flourish. Lasting solutions aren't achieved quickly or lightly, but we know if we keep striving together, we can make this a reality."

Porticus website

Find out more about Porticus on their website.

If you would like to find out more about developing a Theory of Change, you can read about our Theory of Change in Practice training course or our Consultancy services.

“A comprehensive training covering the most important fundamentals of M&E. Very well-structured too,” latest M&E f Results course participant.

This July, we once again held our summer Monitoring and Evaluation for Results course on the Brighton seafront. 16 participants came together to learn about current and widely-used M&E approaches, and practice M&E methods. Like many of IMA’s open courses, the multiple diversity is what strikes you most. 11 nationalities were represented: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tajikistan, South Korea, US and UK. The broad spectrum of M&E experience spanned from minimal M&E exposure to decades of experience. Participants came from different institutional bodies: government, private sector, INGOs and donor agencies. Their current work focus areas include malaria, nutrition, narcotics and law enforcement, banking, peace-building and multi-sectoral programmes, both at project/community and strategic/regional levels. We feel this diversity is a rich environment for learning, sharing, challenging each other’s mind-sets and re-thinking patterns and behaviour. Our training design and facilitation approach builds on this richness as we worked with participants’ live projects as case studies; ran peer support sessions; and matched demand for input on certain topics with offers of experience from those who wanted to share.

Participants were particularly keen to learn about Evaluations: how to choose methods and approaches; how to commission and manage evaluations; how best to use evaluation findings. Everyone really appreciated the hands-on data gathering fieldwork with a young women’s group supported by the TDC. In groups, they then used the data to work through a theory of change process and develop theories of change for TDC’s work with young women in Brighton. The practical data gathering exercise is always one of the highlights of our 10-day course. The focus on purposive adult learning and application of new skills is another of our key concerns. Participants clarified their learning objectives at the start, and identified their organisational drivers, referring to these as the course progressed. Daily journaling and reflection in different formats helped to embed individual learning and support participants in thinking through actual application of concepts and methods learned.

 “The programme was a very rewarding experience; the faculty and wealth of resources was incredible - latest M&E f Results course participant.

Just back from a buzzing, interactive workshop on ‘Evaluation Design and Approaches’ with WFP staff in Bangkok!

The World Food Programme’s (WFP) current results framework directly supports two Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 2 Zero Hunger and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. WFP currently operates in partner countries through 5-year Country Strategic Plans (CSPs). With recent decentralisation in WFP, WFP country offices are now responsible for managing Decentralised Evaluations half way through the implementation of their Country Strategic Plans. This means Monitoring and Evaluation officers in country offices need a new, diverse set of skills and competencies, which WFP HQ supports with online training and a 1-week face-to-face training for M&E officers, focusing on commissioning and managing evaluations.  

The WFP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific contacted us to specifically provide technical training on Theory of Change and Evaluation Approaches, as part of their Regional Evaluation Strategy (2018-2021).

The aim of our 4-day workshop was to support WFP M&E officers from the Asia and Pacific region to enhance their technical knowledge and skills for managing evaluations, as well as explore how to foster the uptake of evaluation findings to improve WFP’s programmes.

M&E officers from 10 countries in the region, together with M&E officers from the regional bureau gathered to share evaluation experiences and learn about evaluation methodologies. We spent a whole day developing programme-specific theories of change (as an evaluative exercise to reconstruct programme logic). This is a critical exercise when trying to assess an intervention’s contribution to change. We explored the meaning of evaluative thinking and discussed the need for M&E staff and programming staff to better integrate their work. We practised developing evaluation questions and critiqued a current evaluation matrix. We covered a range experimental and quasi experimental approaches to assess impact, and explored other evaluation approaches which focus on stakeholders perceptions of change. As a mantra, we continued reflecting on the key questions of: “Why do we evaluate?” and “Who are evaluations for?” to really understand the purpose of an evaluative exercise, and the direct link with a learning culture, where demand for evaluation findings and evidence can fuel improved knowledge sharing practice.

This week IMA Consultants Dani Guijarro and Iñigo Retolaza have facilitated a 2 day workshop for Greenpeace Spain and Greenpeace International staff involved in strategic planning, M&E and communication, it aimed to explore how to implement IMA´s Theory of Change approach and tool in the GP planning and M&E System.

Using current programmes as pilot case studies, Dani and Iñigo have trained staff from different departments on analytical and methodological tools, skills and meta-skills to facilitate processes of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation that ensure an (un)learning perspective, using our ToC approach.

The Italian NGO ACRA works in different countries, directly implementing projects and working through partners.

Recently, staff at HQ articulated the need to harmonise their understanding of M&E concepts and tools. Leigh and Silvia facilitated a workshop for ACRA in Milan, allowing project and support staff to develop their own understanding of what M&E means to ACRA.

We worked on theories of change for a couple of projects and critically, spent time looking at how to develop and strengthen the relationship between projects and the wider, organizational learning environment, ensuring engagement and accountability.   

We were very pleased asked by AVERT to support their thinking process as they develop their next 5 year Strategic Plan.  As a starting point we explored the team’s thinking around AVERT’s work and reason for being- working globally on HIV and AIDS prevention.  Using Theory of Change we discussed the importance of personal and organisational assumptions, highlighting how much we need to be aware of these as they frame our view of reality and social change.  The AVERT team developed their theory of change over a number of weeks and IMA provided continuous support.

The next step was facilitation of the team’s analysis of AVERT as a learning organization using a number of organizational assessment frameworks. They mapped their knowledge flows and identified types of knowledge sharing that AVERT wants to access and provide, both internally and externally, to support and improve the work it is doing.

The workshops have allowed staff to voice their personal perspectives of how the organisation operates, bringing in institutional memory as well as fresh ideas, while all the time fostering ownership of the joint process.  Both workshops were very well-received by the small team, and provided a much needed safe space in which to explore organisational rationale, roles and functions; and contextualise institutional memory and new directions.

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