On Tuesday the 14th of February, we, as interns from the Oxfam Novib Academy, had our first workshop within the organisation. During this Valentine’s Day we got a lovely introduction to the Theory of Change (TOC) by Irene de Goede (Global MEL advisor). Though many of us already read about Theories of Change during our first week of the
internship (which mainly consisted of reading) nobody really had an understanding what it actually means.
In her introductory presentation, Irene explained us that a TOC is basically a tool that helps to structure and strategize a desired (social) change. It is commonly used for project planning to map out what activities are prioritized to reach the change you want.
After the theoretical explanation of Irene, we were put to work. Our assignment: ‘make a TOC based on where you want to be in 5 years’. Of course a very easy job for all of us, fresh university students in our beginning and mid 20’s, and for many having their first work experience. However, with the help and structure of the TOC it appeared to be easier than expected.
Despite the fact that all our future pathways are now written out on a flipchart, we do know now that your initiated objectives are almost never reached through your planned pathways. So what we got out of the TOC workshop by Irene: your desired change never happens linear and as you planned for, so be open for the unexpected events and stay fully flexible.
This blog is written by Joris Baars, Intern Conflict, Resource Governance and Private Sector