A theory of change (ToC) describes how a project is expected to work. Project and BDC ToC is made explicit in an Outcome Logic Model (OLM). Projects fill in and update their OLMs in their Project Workbooks. BDC-level OLMs are constructed 'bottom up' through amalgamating project OLMs.
Each line of the table describes an Outcome Pathway that begins with an actor that the project intends to influence through its interventions. The next column describes the change in terms of what the actor will be doing differently (change in practice). The third column describes the change in knowledge, attitude and/or skills required to underpin the change in practice. Then follows a description of how the project will carry out its research and the output(s) it will produce so as to bring about the intended outcomes. The last column details the assumptions on which the pathway is based. Underneath each Outcome Pathway is a short narrative description of the pathway. The last row in the model is a narrative description of how the project predicts that the outcomes it achieves are likely to reinforce each other and eventually contribute to longer-term impact.
OLMs can also be presented graphically. See here for an example of a graphic BDC-level OLM constructed for the Nile BDC. In our experience OLMs tend to become to long, and too verbose, to communicate easily. If the OLMs are not easily grasped then they are not particularly useful for group reflection. Hence for most of our BDCs we have stripping them back to the core logic and then expressing this graphically, to fit on one PowerPoint slide. These are called stripped OLMs. See here for an example.
OLMs are first developed during the call for proposals, further developed during the Proposal Development Workshop and then revisited periodically throughout the life of the project, in particular during the project inception period (note, this sequence applies to Ganges, Limpopo and Volta BDCs).
Examples of filled-in OLMs are given here.
The outcome logic model describes how the development and use of outputs are expected to produce developmental outcomes. The Gantt chart describes the sequence of activities that produce the outputs. Together, the two tools describe the sequence and logic of project implementation.
The Gantt chart is the main project management tool and helps answer the question 'Is the project doing what it said it would do?' The OLM is equally important but used less frequently as part of periodic reflection on the question 'Are we doing the right thing to achieve the changes we want to see?'
OUTCOMES LOGIC MODEL