Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is the most widespread form of abuse worldwide, affecting one third of all women in their lifetime. Addressing violence against women and girls is a central development goal in its own right, and key to achieving other development outcomes for individual women, their families, communities and nations. DFID’s Business Plan (2011-2015) identifies tackling violence against women and girls as a priority and commits DFID to pilot new and innovative approaches to prevent it.

The Theory of Change (ToC) on ending gender-based violence against women and girls consists of a diagram and accompanying narrative. Together they provide an overview of the interventions, outputs and outcomes that can reduce and ultimately eradicate violence against women and girls. It is not intended to be prescriptive, but to map the multiple pathways to tackling violence against women and girls and provide a starting point for programmes to develop their own theories of change.

The Theory of Change draws on the experience of a range of actors delivering programmes and services addressing violence against women and girls, including donor agencies, women human rights defenders, women’s rights organisations and other civil society organisations.

This document outlines seven principles underlying the Theory of Change diagram. It details evidence underpinning each principle, and explains their relevance for programming. It then expands on each stage of the Theory of Change and provides example indicators.