Citizen voice and state accountability: towards theories of change that embrace contextual dynamics

Working and discussion papers
January 2012

Development practice is increasingly being pushed to achieve results as well as to explain clearly 'what works or what does not work and under what circumstances' on the path to achieving such results.

There is particular concern regarding the ways individual cases of success can be scaled up to other contexts so that broad-based national economic growth and development or poverty reduction objectives can be achieved.
Making theories of change (ToCs) explicit right from the start of  development projects can help in discovering what will need to happen in order to get from 'here' to 'there'.

Exploring ToCs should also become a central part of rigorous independent evaluations and of ascertaining the effectiveness and impacts of development interventions. In other words, good ToCs will enhance the rigour of evaluations from the beginning of an intervention process and not just at the end of a development programme.

This Working Paper provides a critical analysis of a series of citizen voice and accountability (CV&A) cases from the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) programme in order to develop some patterns of observation and thought lines which, when put together, form an analytical framework for developing theories of change (ToCs) for CV&A projects.

In developing this analytical framework, this paper draws on the principles of the well-known approaches of outcome mapping (OM) and political economy analysis (PEA).