A ‘Theory of Change’ describes the change that an initiative (organisation, network, project, etc.) wishes to see in the world and its understanding of how it will contribute to that change.
A MEL programme should be situated within and guided by a conceptual framework that explains what an organisation’s vision for change is, and how its activities and interventions contribute to that change. This is often referred to as a ‘Theory of Change’.
Fairtrade International has developed a Theory of Change for Fairtrade as part of work to improve the Fairtrade Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) system. The Theory of Change captures the range of things Fairtrade does as a system (i.e. its interventions) and relates these logically to desired immediate, mid-term and long-term changes. It thereby provides a framework for identifying appropriate indicators for measuring the results of Fairtrade and progress towards Fairtrade’s goals.