INTRAC: Theory of Change for Planning and Impact Assessment

International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC)

International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) exists to support and strengthen civil society. INTRAC seeks to increase the effectiveness of civil society organisations (CSOs) in all parts of the world. Civil society is key to establishing democratic societies and CSOs play a key role in promoting sustainable development in a just society. INTRAC is accredited as a non-collegiate provider by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education.

INTRAC is conducting a course on Theory of Change for Planning and Impact Assessment from 5-9 October 2015 and 15-18 March 2016 in Oxford, United Kingdom.

Interest in developing and using Theories of Change both for planning and assessing impact has grown rapidly over the last few years.
Theories of Change can be set at different levels and are being used in a number of ways. At one end of the scale, they are pulled together by one person to support a programme proposal or a specific donor demand. At the other end, they are facilitated over a period of several months and include wide consultation with staff, partners and beneficiaries, and are used to inform strategy at all levels.
As Theories of Change focus specifically on sequences of change for different target groups, they provide a clear and robust framework for monitoring and assessing the impact of our development efforts.
So what are they exactly? How do they complement other planning and evaluation processes?
How can they be applied at different levels and in different contexts?
How can they be used to assess impact?
This course provides in - depth answers to all of these questions and more.
It introduces the elements of Theory of Change and offers the opportunity for participants to apply and experiment with the key ideas and processes using their own case studies as well as illustrative case studies presented by the course facilitator.
Conceptually clear and very practical, this course will equip staff with the knowledge and skills to consider which elements of Theory of Change they can apply in their own organisational setting and how best to go about it.
Follow-up coaching after the course will support any specific issues or problems that participants face as they implement their learning in their work setting.
Objectives of the course
By the end of this course, participants will:

  • Be able to describe what Theories of Change involve and the rationale for using them;
  • Be able to identify how and when they should be developed and how they inform and complement other approaches to planning, evaluation and impact assessment;
  • Have increased confidence in working through the steps and processes involved in developing and using Theories of Change, both for planning and impact assessment;
  • Have worked through pre-selected case studies and reflected on their own work in order to explore and apply elements of Theories of Change to specific planning or impact assessment tasks;
  • Considered how and when to apply learning from impact monitoring and assessment to reviewing Theories of Change, reporting to donors and to beneficiaries;
  • Have explored ways to facilitate and promote Theory of Change approaches within their own organisation.

Intended audience
The course is designed for programme managers and those who are actively involved in planning, evaluating, and assessing the impact of programmes who have some experience of project cycle management and M&E. Those who are about to undertake a Theory of Change process or an impact assessment are welcome to bring their own case study to work on during the course.
Additionally, those who are hoping to use Theory of Change approaches in the future will also find the content relevant.
Some familiarity with Theory of Change approaches is beneficial though not essential as pre-course reading will be given to participants in preparation for the course.
Where possible, we recommend that two or more individuals attend from one organisation.
Core content areas
The course will cover the following core content areas:

  • Understanding how change happens within given contexts;
  • Identifying your role in contributing to these changes;
  • Developing a causal pathway illustrating how your efforts will contribute to identified changes;
  • Identifying the assumptions that will need to be tested throughout the life of a programme;
  • Continuously monitoring change, your change pathway, and testing your assumptions;
  • Critically reflecting on your change pathway and your role in light of emerging changes (expected and unexpected) and adapting to these;
  • Exploring the practical applications of the core content areas above.

Course format and costs
This course has two parts: a five-day face-to-face course which will take place in Oxford, United Kingdom; a 50 minute one-to-one coaching session after the course (via Skype) with the course trainer, focusing specifically on your needs.
This individual, tailored coaching will support the individual to apply the learning from the course to their work, and offer the opportunity to work through current challenges, difficulties and opportunities with a highly experienced practitioner. The available dates and times for coaching will be provided by the trainers in advance of the course.
Coaching terms and conditions will be provided at the course.
The cost of the course will be £1 165 (non-residential) or £1 425 residential (including four nights of accommodation).
More information
For more information about this course and our other courses contact the INTRAC Training Team:
Tel: +44 (0)1865 263040/201851
For more information, refer to
For more about the International NGO Training and Research Centre, refer to

Event Start Date: 
Monday, 5 October, 2015
Event End Date: 
Wednesday, 18 May, 2016
Event Venue: 
Oxford, United Kingdom.
Event Type: 

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