Skip main navigation

Create your theory of change

Map a theory of change for your own context.

Before you begin outlining any activities for a development initiative, it is really important to create a theory of change first.

The theory of change should form the central hypothesis for your initiative – and justify why it is important, relevant and will lead to the intended change.

Even if you are in a hurry to get started or stakeholders are applying pressure, the theory of change is crucial before progressing. Without it, you run the risk of creating activities that do not create the envisioned change.


Using the framework below and building on from steps 1.10 and 1.12, identify the following theory of change components for your initiative:

1: The problem

2: Expected results

3: The strategies

4: Any underlying assumptions

When developing your theory of change, remember to reflect on the cross-cutting themes:

• Intentional programme design, delivery and measurement

• Rights: human rights, safeguarding and child protection

• Diversity and inclusion: gender and discrimination, disability, equal access and opportunity

• Environmental sustainability

• Good governance and administration

Screenshot of handout Create your theory of change
This workbook offers an opportunity to capture your initial thoughts about your own project, and to consider how to apply theory of change and logic models to your planning process (pdf)
This article is from the free online

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now