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Defining Theories of Change
by CARE International UK
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This paper is a summary of the findings of research that assessed 19 peacebuilding projects in three conflict-affected countries: Uganda, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From the findings, it is clear that the process of articulating and reviewing theories of change adds transparency, clarifies project logic, highlights assumptions that need to be tested, and helps identify appropriate participants and partners.

While they are not a panacea, devoting greater attention to theories of change is a simple and relatively inexpensive means of increasing the quality of peacebuilding interventions.

Theories of change can encourage an overly linear approach, when change in conflict contexts can be more organic or systemic. In the recommendations section, it is made clear that donors should allow funded agencies to review their theories of change throughout the project cycle.