Assessing the Theory of Change method for adaptive management in agricultural development in low-income countries

Project: PhD

Project Details


Agricultural development projects targeting smallholder farmers in rural areas of low-income countries are normally carried out in a complex biophysical and socio-institutional environment. The complexity coupled with uncertainties during the project results in insufficient insight into how the interventions will function, thus undermining the project’s desired outcomes. Hence, adaptive management of development projects through the use of Theory of Change (ToC) has recently been encouraged by major development organizations (e.g., USAID, DIFD). A well-developed ToC can assist in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and thus identify where adaptations might be necessary, ensuring that strategies remain relevant and responsive to evolving conditions. However, there is little research on how to use ToC for adaptive management in development project. Here, we explore and evaluate the integration of Holistic Impact Assessment and Bayesian updating as a framework for consistent and effective application of ToC for adaptive management in ongoing agricultural development projects. Holistic Impact Assessment will contribute to formulating the ToC of the agricultural development project to which the Bayesian statistics approach will be applied to assess and update the ToC as evidence for making decisions in adaptive management. Therefore, the two methodologies are complementary to each other. The approach of integrating Bayesian statistics together with Holistic Impact Assessment can also be applied to other agricultural research for development programmes to improve the design, monitoring and implementation for greater impact and sustainable agricultural development.
Effective start/end date1/06/22 → …


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