Topic

Theories of Change

Theories of Change

In order to make change you need to decide how you think that change will come about, and base on your actions on your best guess. For collective work to be effective it’s important the theory of change is shared. This topic includes activities and discussion starters for exploring different theories, as well as details on some particular approaches.

Photograph of a window with curtains opening.

Workshop Assessing and opening policy windows

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions. The workshop introduces the idea of ‘policy windows’ and ‘political opportunity structure’ and enables participants to critically evaluate the political opportunity structure apparent in current campaigns.

Diagram showing Problems, Proposals and Politics all leading with arrows to the Policy Window

3 resources to assess and open policy windows

The policy window is an opportunity for advocates of proposals to push their pet solutions, or to push attention to their special problems. When everything comes together a problem is recognised, a solution is developed and available in the policy community, a political change makes it the right time for policy change, and potential constraints are not severe.

Photograph of posters reading 'Building Alternative Institutions', 'Care taking & service delivery', 'Social change through personal change'.

Mechanisms of change: A guide by The Change Agency

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions about theories of change. This session facilitates political analysis, reflection and dialogue. Why start with a theory of change? This isn’t asking people to be academics, it’s just about being clear about our own and each other’s assumptions.

Cards read: 'The social movement that has had the biggest impact on me...', 'I became an activist because...', 'When it comes to politics Iam a...', 'One ingredient in my vision of utopia is...'

Naming political assumptions: A guide

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to identify the political assumptions that shape our opinions and analysis. Analysis and planning is improved by being aware of the lens through which we see the world. Our lens is influenced by our assumptions and values.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Cyclone Warning A training guide for solving problems

This is a training process guide to explore different approaches to solving community problems, investigate how different problems require different approaches to change to solve them, clarify the differences between community organising, community development, advocacy and service delivery.

Smiling archers carry cut out letters spelling peace.

Nonviolence

As a means of radical social change, nonviolence draws on a rich history of people’s struggles from around the world. Grassroots people’s movements have brought down dictators, stopped armies, undermined corporations and halted entire industries with nonviolent resistance.

Smiling archers carry cut out letters spelling peace.

Strategies For Peace

Johan Gultung identified three major approaches to peace: peacekeeping, peacemaking, peacebuilding. Strategies can be applied proactively, to prevent violence occurring or reactively to reduce the likelihood of violence reoccurring. Each strategy on its own cannot really be effective in creating peace without the application of the other strategies.

Photograph of hand drawn letters in blue and black on a white background. The word is 'Change'.

Theories of Change

Getting clear on our theory of change can be personally empowering as well as important for alignment within organisations and campaigns. These notes are from a workshop by Naomi Blackburn, drawing on the Resource Manual for a Living Revolution and Australian Student Environment Network curriculum.

Black and white photograph of protestors walking along a railway line.

Surviving the ups and downs: Part 2

In the second part of this article Mark and Paul Engler further explore Bill Moyer’s Movement Action Plan and its implications for social movements. 

A diagram of the eight stages of social movements

Surviving the ups and downs of social movements

We tend to talk about activist burnout as an individualised experience – but the Movement Action Plan, a framework for understanding social movements, factors in perception of failure, providing insights and hope for navigating the downs in movement life.

Tracey Frauzel, the Mobilisation Strategy Director who gives this course, wears black clothes with a red necklace, and walks down a street with brick walls to one side.

Online Course: How to Create ‘People Powered’ Campaigns

Bring People Power into your next campaign or project with MobLab’s online course. Based on the Mobilisation Cookbook, drawing on Greenpeace’s expertise, the free course covers core elements of a ‘people-powered’ campaign, when to use them and what to mix them with. Based on real-life campaign examples, you’ll also cover practical tools needed to create your own campaigns.

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