Civil Society Scoping and Theory of Change

This project used participatory methods with grounded theory analysis to create a context scope with tipping points leading to a theory of change.  It was done as a consultation for a large rights-based development organization.  The final theory of change was designed to be flexible in order to align with the complex Solomon Islands’ environment.

The grounded research looked at people’s interaction with authority bearers.  Earlier research conducted by the World Bank – Justice Delivered Locally– indicated people consider customary and religious leaders as key actors in the justice system.  According to the research, religious or customary leaders are the primary people dealing with issues of injustice in the community.   During this project, we interviewed people – groups and individuals – who are disadvantaged as well as people representing the government, churches, customary leadership, private sector, and civil society.  We explored how each authority bearer influences the well-being of people in Solomon Islands.

Grounded theory analysis was ideal for understanding emergent trends.  The analysis formed a context document which used ‘thick description’.  The context document –as part of the process of analysis- identified tipping points related to people’s voice.  The tipping points reflected key areas that would bring large positive change if strengthened.

To develop a theory of change, local civil society leaders enhanced the tipping points to create change systems around each tipping point.  Staff then collaborated to create a theory of change reflecting what was possible for them to influence.  This led to a final, grounded context document that gives background evidence for the theory of change as well as the grounded theory of change itself.   The context document and the theory of change will inform and guide other stages of the project.