The TOPS Program
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Training and Workshop Materials

Click here to access the full Theory of Change curriculum.

The international development community (practitioners and donors alike) routinely use a theory of change (TOC) as the development hypothesis for programs and activities. Compared to other processes, developing a TOC requires a more in-depth causal analysis of issues—an analysis that is rooted in a rigorous and evolving evidence base. Developing and using a TOC builds a common understanding among stakeholders around the actions needed to achieve desired changes. Additionally, a TOC allows for efficient monitoring, learning, and evaluation based on a clear and testable set of hypotheses.

Diverse guidance exists on how to best design and use a TOC. In this curriculum, we present one method that does its best to align to the requirements of creating a development hypothesis for a Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) funded by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). We update it each year to align with the most current BHA guidance for RFSA implementers and to share new methods for strengthening staff capacity in TOC development and use.